North House, Grand Marais, Minnesota
So, I started up the North Shore and stopped at a couple of places I love in Two Harbors, Minnesota. The first was the silversmith Brad E. Nelson's shop. He built it himself in an old Norwegian style called stabbur -- a kind of Norwegian log cabin. Such a beautiful building! And, inside, he features Scandinavian objects of many kinds. But he makes the silver jewelry and some other types of jewelry, too. And his mom helps out as a saleswoman. This visit, he had glass bottlenecks he had fashioned into earrings and necklace baubles. He said, "everyone says Two Harbors is such a bottleneck. I thought I'd make something out of them!"
The other place I like to visit is the Lake County DAC, or Developmental Achievement Center. It is a workshop for adults with disabilities. Some fabulous people there have put together a paper making workshop and a rug weaving area for the adults to train on and have a job. I love the fact that it is creative. I like to see the work that they have done and have purchased a few rugs from them over the years I have visited (and the paper, too).
Here is a picture of their cloth wall for the weaving.
Isn't it fabulous? All this has been donated for the purpose of making rag rugs. If you are in the area and have cloth to donate, contact them first. Then, stop by and see the rugs in production.
Further up the North Shore, past beautiful state parks and lake vistas, is Grand Marais. North House is one of the first things you pass on your way to downtown.
Grand Marais itself is only 1351 souls, as of the 2010 census, but it is a vibrant community with great restaurants, music, and artistic workshops. This is most likely because it is in such a gorgeous spot and hundreds of people swarm up in every season to take advantage of the beautiful locale.
North House itself is a collection of about six buildings on this beautiful lakeside site. It has been around for 20 years and features artisans teaching the crafts of the north. One can go there to learn how to make a canoe, log-framed building, outdoor pizza oven, case your own sausages, knit, spin, felt, make moccasins, turn green wood... Really, the list is non-exhaustive, as the coordinators are always adding teachers and events.
The class I taught was on Skolt Saami mittens. The following are some pictures of my students at work. A wonderful class!
Fiber people are the best, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with these ladies. Each had such different tales to tell, and all were great needle women.
Cheers to you as you continue on your fiber journey!