THE ART OF WOOD CARVING & WOODWORK
Luke & Elizabeth Jepson
Luke Jepson was born and raised in Longville MN. He has a passion for making and creating and been making things from an early age and has continued to do so either out of metal, wood or leather.
He makes hand forged ironwork, hardware, tools and knives. As well as spoons carved by hand with axe and knife. He is joined by his wife, Elizabeth, who makes earrings out of wood and leather, and also makes painted wooden signs. “Jack of all trades, master of none, oftentimes better than master of one.”
Ever since a shop teacher introduced Bob Seemann to the joy of working with wood, it’s been his life-long passion. Over the last 40 years, he’s built everything from custom cutting boards to armoires and from grandfather clocks to saunas. In his shop in Longville, Bob works with oak, maple, walnut, cherry, birch, mesquite and pine.
Dave & Kathy Towley
Ken & Charlotte Johnson
Northwoods Sleigh Company
Charlotte and Ken Johnson are Northwoods Sleigh Company. They are of Scandinavian decent (Swedish and Norwegian) and have been handcrafting Scandinavian gift items for over 35 years.
They make delicate wooden trays in several sizes. The trays are constructed with compound mitered finger-joints at all corners. Additional, they make a line of decorative wooden sleighs patterned after those used by emigrants for logging and farming. They also make small Tomtens (dolls) to complement the sleighs. All of their products are designed, hand-crafted and merchandised only by them. They have participated in and sold their artifacts at numerous Scandinavian Festivals.
Jerry Mollberg started carving songbirds and Santa’s in 1987. He has carved many items in wood including caricatures, realistic style carvings, relief, birds and Native American and trapper busts. He typically uses basswood, butternut and cottonwood bark as a medium. He has taught classes for several community education communities, the Lakes Area Carvers Club in Forest Lake, Minnesota and at Pioneer Park in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dave Hamre, Oak Lake Woodworking
Dan Hensch – Dan’s Woodshop
Dan Hensch enjoys working with wood. He uses anything from pine to Peruvian walnut, but uses mostly maple, cherry, and walnut because he enjoys the contrast they provide and the availability
He starts his projects (cutting boards, coasters, bowls, cribbage boards) by laying out pieces of wood and making a design that is appealing. The pieces are glued together. Dan uses his thickness planer to flatten the wood and get it to the thickness he wants.
For the bowls, he uses a table saw or router to dish out the inside and sand the pieces to make them smooth. For the coasters, he cuts them to size by using a round-over bit on the edges.
He cuts fingers grooves in the sides of cutting boards to ease lifting the board.
Dan creates paddles/oars using a bandsaw, power planer, hand plane, block plane, and spokeshave. He finishes them off with 220 grit sandpaper.
Everything that touches food gets finished with mineral oil. His paddles are finished with boiled linseed oil. Most everything else gets finished with a rub on poly that he mixes himself.
Gregory Kirchhoff has made cribbage boards and other hand-crafted wood products for gifts and special occasions in the past. After retiring, he expanded his interest to include wine caddies, cutting boards, and lawn games. And with the birth of their first grandchild, he has diversified to include wooden baby and toddler toys. Greg has combined his attention to detail, from his career as an accountant, and love of woodworking, to handcrafted, beautiful and functional items for the family.
Greg uses domestic wood, primarily maple, walnut, and cherry, and accents with exotic woods. His process utilizes a combination of hand and power tools, including chisels, routers, drills, crosscut saw, table saw and scroll saw. The cutting boards and baby/toddler toys are finished with food grade oils and waxes, and non-toxic paint. All other products are finished with a water-based polyurethane varnish.
Jeremy Waara has been a Master Cooper (barrel maker) in the industry for 11 years. In the last few, he has started making furniture and decor out of repurposed barrels. He and his family do everything at in the shop at home. Everything is custom to order.
Larry Schibonski – Larry’s Woodworks
Larry loves working with domestic and exotic wood. His collection includes salad and yarn bowls, animated toys, coin banks, bird feeders, drink stands, trucks and other ideas still in his head. Speaking to people who are new to woodworking is his passion. Sawing, sanding, gluing and using routers and lathe work are many of the aspects in his shop.
Sue & Ross Cornelison
Sue Cornelison is a children’s book illustrator, illustrating many books for children for over two decades. Along with painting and drawing, recently she has rediscovered her love for clay and uses a whimsical approach to her sculptures as well as utilitarian pieces.
She and her husband, Ross, collaborated on creating pull toys this past ‘covid’ year. She designed and painted and he did all the woodworking. Sue also likes to spin wool and creates felt hats and hand bags. Sue and Ross are new to selling their creations but have enjoyed attending the Art Crawl for many years. They have a seasonal cabin and spend their summers in Hackensack MN.
Sue Vogen has been an outdoors person since she came out of the womb and her dad gave her an appreciation of the natural world and that we are stewards, not masters of the earth. She cannot remember a time when she wasn’t creating and about 20 years ago settled on birchbark as her medium.
She harvests bark in the spring and fall from blowdowns and standing deadwood, never from live trees. She has a 5 day to 2-week window in the spring after the snow is gone and things have thawed but before it greens up and the heat and bugs arrive so she has to be ready to drop everything and go out into the woods.
In the fall it is the same only in reverse. It has to be processed immediately so her life screeches to a halt during this period or 5-7 days. All the dirt, dead cambium, fungus, bugs and forest detritus have to be scrapped off, then the pieces are flattened, weighted and left to dry.
She builds her own frames from dimension lumber and sometimes works with contractors to take their bracing which would otherwise go in the dumpster. The frames are sanded and stained, the bark cut into strips and then tacked on. Holes are marked and drilled along the edges, the chip outs are cleaned up with an Xacto knife and any bare wood stained. Then dowels or wood strips are sewed onto the frame using artificial sinew.
The bark for each frame is cut from a single sheet and the scraps become flowers, kindling or are sold.
Sue excels at tedious and boring, which leaves her mind free to explore the universe for new ideas. The plain frame has evolved into works of art with the addition of river stones, glycerin preserved cedar leaves, die cut branches, leaves, animals and words from birchbark scraps and flamed copper flashing. She makes stone easels for some of the smaller frames.
She is currently experimenting with putting birchbark on flat panel doors and then adding a layer of epoxy resin. Since she spends part of the year in Alabama she also has started making frames using Georgia Long Leaf Pine scales as well as incorporating them into her current door projects.
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.
Courtney and Aryn Kern
Courtney and Aryn Kern began their work as professional wood artists in 2006 when they realized the vast amount of wood waste that is created by larger wood product manufacturers. These businesses produce cut-offs and rippings that are usually chipped, burned, or simply thrown away, so they set their woodshop up to utilize even the smallest pieces of cast-off woods.
Each piece of wood is hand selected for its grain and character then it is laminated, planed, shaped, sanded, and finished. Since reclaimed hardwoods are used, each piece is unique.
Courtney and Aryn truly feel as though they are making a difference, not only in narrowing the stream of waste woods in the industry, but also in educating and creating an appreciation for different species of native hardwoods in our customers. What began as a weekend shop project has turned into a passion and profession.
“In our work, we strive to combine beauty and function while doing our part to use our natural resources wisely.”
Harper Bennett started acrylic fluid art painting only two years ago at his home in Pine River. “It is a terrific way to express myself,” he said. “I enjoy it immensely!” Friends and family have seen his work and encourage Harper to show and sell his work at art shows.
Chuck Weygand – Rocky Shores Woodworking
Chuck Weygand is a self-taught wooden bowl turner. His work involves unique wooden bowls from a variety of sustainable Minnesota trees, including Maple, Birch, Walnut, Cedar, Oak and Boxelder.
Chuck specializes in using spalted and highly figured wood, and fashions bowls ranging in size from 4″-16″ in diameter and 1″-8″ deep. Bowls are food-safe and used for a variety of purposes such as holding fruit, salads, chips, nuts and other snacks, however most are purchased for their decorative beauty and placed on display on shelves, tables and fireplace mantles. No two are alike.
Chuck was given a lathe as a retirement gift, started turning wooden bowls, and soon discovered that he had an artist hidden inside of him. He loves finding an unusual piece of wood and discovering the beauty hidden inside. After some silent conversation, the wood tells him what it wants to be. Chuck has said turning a bowl is like opening a present that nature has given him. Chuck’s passion is to make something beautiful that will be treasured for generations, and will live far beyond him. No two people are alike, and no two of Chuck’s bowls are alike. They are truly wooden bowl creations!
Cody Davis and Anne Aamodt
Cody Davis and Anne Aamodt create chainsaw-carved wood art. The process in making a piece begins with blocking out the wood to get a general shape of what they are carving.
After being blocked out, Cody and Anne use a variety of chainsaws to detail the wood carvings. Using pine wood for a medium allows them to work easier with the wood and it smells great, too. After the carving is finished, they add finishing touches to bring life to the characters using torches, sanders, paint and stain.
Eli & Isaiah Grindahl
Eli and Isaiah Grindahl, ages 10 and 8 respectively, are brothers from Maple Grove. They love to create and bake. Many of their creations they learned how to do at their homeschool co-op where a handicraft class is taught each term.
Sewing, paper sloyd, brushdrawing, watercolor, woodworking, raffia are some examples of what they’ve had the privilege of learning. From these skills learned they make different size gift bags with tags, cards with envelopes, brush- drawn pictures using watercolors, wooden bookends, gum ball machines and nature shadow boxes. A variety of baked goods will also be available, such as cookies, bars and mini cupcakes.
Paper cardstock is used to create the gift bags and tags. All woodworking projects are measured, cut and assembled by hand. Some are stained and others are left natural. The cards and pictures in frames are created with a technique called brush drawing, where they use watercolors. All baked goods are homemade. The window decorations are made using perler beads.