Minnesota artists at the ACC show

This morning I stopped by the Rivercentre in downtown St. Paul to check out this year’s American Craft Council show. The show purports to present “outstanding works by America’s leading craftspeople.” Well, if that’s the case, it’s no wonder the ACC is moving to Minnesota, because approximately one sixth of the artists at this weekends show hail from around our state (I counted 43 out of 243 exhibitors).

While the majority of the Minnesota exhibitors hail from the Twin Cities, there are a number who have driven in from all over the state to show their work. Here’s a look at who’s in town for the weekend (note: I’ve included links for all those artists who have websites).


Table clock by James Borden

James Borden’s sculptural clocks, what he calls “timeshapes,” are always a wonder to behold. Long pieces of walnut and cherry balance and sway in the most delightful way, and actually keep time, too. You can visit his studio in La Crescent.

Tim Byrns is a Duluth sculptor who works with large pieces of local figured hardwood. His work is rooted in the compositional elements of the raw form, such as the colors, shapes, textures and grains found in his materials. Favoring free form wood sculpture, Byrns enjoys carving abstract forms that are often functional.

Susan Carlson of Olivia makes hand knit clothing specially designed for children. This is just her second time in the craft show, and she’s absolutely thrilled about it.


A shibori scarf by Patricia Freiert

Patricia Freiert of St. Peter was introduced to “shibori” through a gift from a Japanese friend in 1988. Shibori is a centuries old Japanese technique for decorating kimono fabric in which the fabric is shaped by binding, folding, stitching or wrapping. Similar to tye-dying, Freiert prefers the sharp, clean lines created by shibori for her work.

Reese Gaertner of Northfield calls herself a “nerd” because she loves learning about the physics of wood stains, down to the molecular level. That knowledge helps her to create varnishes that bring out the natural beauty of the various woods she works with to create unique pieces of wall art, often mixed with text and found objects.

New London resident and potter Bill Gossman creates original wood-fired stoneware and porcelain pieces designed to be functional and beautiful. Think tea-pots, cases, bowls and more.


Raku vessel by Richard Gruchalla and Carrin Rosetti

Richard Gruchalla has been coming to the Twin Cities ACC show since it started 24 years ago, and has more recently been joined by his wife and artistic partner Carrin Rosetti. Together they work in “American Raku,” creating brightly colored clay vessels that sometimes incorporate wire, stones or even wooden pegs.

Stillwater fiber artist Tim Harding incorporates a complex technique of “reverse applique” to create tapestries that evoke looking into a pool of shimmering water.

Metalworker Paula Jensen works out of Earth Eagle Forge in Guthrie. There she creates rails, gates, tables and stools, as well as ornamental home furnishings.

Tom Larson turns wood at Turning Trail Studio in Brainerd. There he makes everything from simple spinning tops to natural burl bowls and trays using maple, birch and boxelder.


“Ripples” bench by Peter Pestalozzi, made from curly maple

Peter Pestalozzi and his wife Jeanne Bourquin are both woodworkers. While Bourquin builds primarily canoes, Pestalozzi focuses on furniture inspired by the woods and lakes of Northern Minnesota (they live in Ely).

Ann Ringness has been working with leather for over thirty years. Based in St. Cloud, Ringness specializes in leather handbags and purses of all sizes and colors.

A relative newcomer to artisan boat building, Bill Romness makes his home in Nickerson, where he has built canoes and custom paddles since 2005.


“Tumble” by Dan and Lee Ross, carved from granite

Dan and Lee Ross moved to Hovland in 1991, and it’s had a tremendous impact on their work as stonecarvers. New forms and shapes evolved after they observed tumultous storms and shifting ice sheets rearrange their boulder strewn shoreline. They continue to find inspiration in walks along the lake, turning over stones, or looking down into the water while in a canoe.

The American Craft Council Show runs April 16 – 18 at Rivercentre in downtown St. Paul.