Nature has always been so interesting to Bev throughout her life. Her father was a forest ranger who was stationed near Itasca State Park.
Collecting treasures from this area became natural to Bev, be it the lakes that give gnarled pieces of driftwood or curled up pieces of bark. The forest gives up many sizes of pine cones, woods, mosses, pods, antlers, feather and more. In the fields are bittersweet, grains and grasses.
Living in such beauty and bounty made Bev’s creative juices flow. Arranging nature’s gifts into arrangements make unique one-of-a-kind creations. Custom crafting is in her blood and using nature is her “gimmick”.
Steve & Amy Zapf — Legacy Canoes
In 1967, Mike Zapf from St. Cloud, MN built his first wood strip canoe with his oldest son. The project started a tradition; each of his children when they were over 14 years of age could build a canoe with dad. Word spread of their canoes and Mike’s willingness to help anyone interested in building one.
Being the youngest of seven, Steve’s first job was to get in the way, but in doing so he got the benefit from learning from all the canoes that came before his in the summer of 1976. Their family had recently joined the MN Canoe Association (MCA) and entered his canoe in the annual Builder’s Contest (for adults), it placed second. For the next couple years their family would build a canoe and enter it in the contest.
In the summer of 1982 Steve met his future wife Amy. She was attending the College of St. Benedicts for interior design. The next summer they built their first canoe together, it took first place in the MCA’s contest that winter. Amy has worked in her field ever since graduating with over 30 years alone in the furniture business. Her skills in design and color are invaluable in their canoes’ look.
Their canoes have changed throughout the years as they mastered new skills. In the mid 90’s, Steve put in his first design in the bottom of a canoe. All wood material used in their side and bottom designs are made from scratch using simple woodworking tools.
Around 2011 Amy and Steve started getting requests for canoes to be hung up as art in someone’s house. Different sizes have been built of 16, 12, 10, 8, and 6 feet in length. In the spring of 2013 Steve was awarded an Emerging Artist Award from the Central MN Arts Board and McKnight Foundation. In the fall of 2013 their booth at the Millstream Arts Festival took third place with only a couple art festivals under their belt. In 2019 they placed first at this festival. The canoes they create make a statement in any space of beauty and grace using wood and the passion that was passed on to them from Mike.
In 2014, Steve took notice of the standup paddle board (SUP) craze and a possible way he could use a SUP as a new canvas. After 3 years of research and developing his own plans he created his first SUP based on techniques he knew. Amy also did her own research and found another method used by builders. They used this new method to create 2 more SUPs after receiving a grant from the CMAB and McKnight Foundation to acquire new equipment and supplies.
Through the years Steve has instructed many people on how to create their own canoes. He enjoys passing on the satisfaction that creating a canoe brings. Every canoe and SUP offers new challenges and he looks forward to helping others with theirs.