Gathering for us has always been about not just bringing people around the table but about bringing people's talents to the table as well. So when we started down the route of designing what would our products look like, how would they be produced, we came back to the why behind gathering. We decided it made the most sense to work with makers who are passionate and talented in our area. The Great Lakes inspire so many and they perform their craft between busy schedules and other life tasks because they love it that much. We wanted to give them a way to find a place to show their craft by combining our vision with their skills.
Our greatest hope is that these makers find a place in our store and meet other people that allow them to make their dream a more sustainable way of living. We believe that to live well your dreams need to be at the forefront and we select our makers knowing their passions and heart to do just that. They are choosing a life that isn't a clear path and we resonate with that.
Each of these makers are currently in our store. We cannot wait to see this list grow over the years and to bring even more amazing goods to you through creative collaboration inspired by the culture of the Great Lakes.
Thistle + Grey
Pottery speaks on a deep level. It’s beyond words, something more instinctual. It’s familiarity — a sense of home. That feeling is what I’m seeking in my work. I believe that a pot should feel right above all else. This leads to somewhat simple shapes and surfaces. I find myself finishing more and more of my pots with a thin, subtle glaze. More than technical tricks, I try to distill my pots down to the point that they tell the truth.
I was born on the first day of spring. Growing up in Niles, Michigan meant lots of fort building, ball playing, bike riding, and swimming. High school was a blur of highways and loading gear in and out of the trailer in the middle of the night after VFW Hall hardcore shows all around the country. College was when I discovered clay and the potter's wheel (thank you, Paul). After graduating from Western Michigan University with a ceramics BFA, I moved farther north to Manistee, Michigan and started Daybreak Gallery & Studio. For almost 5 years, I made pots every day at Daybreak. I got to know the people walking by on the sidewalk, and every once in a while one of them would wander in and take something home with them. I became a real live potter in Manistee. It was the first time I had to do everything for myself, and the pots really came a long way in those years. Since spring 2018, I've been in Traverse City getting started in a new direction toward more studio time with less time spent selling. It's a new seasonal rhythm, but one that suits me just fine.
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Cedar and Stone Gardens
We are John & Nikki Behnke and we make our home in Grand Haven, MI. Cedar & Stone Garden is our little family-run business where we design and create home and garden décor from the most basic but beautiful materials of concrete and cedar wood. Born from John’s experience working with concrete as a kid in the family business and Nikki’s modern designs, Cedar & Stone has grown and evolved into a joint passion. Our vision has always been to create aesthetically beautiful products for the home and garden that are also functional, useful, and unique. We believe concrete can be beautiful and love bringing to life original designs inspired by the world around us. As we continue to grow, we have enjoyed showing our two teenage daughters the benefits of entrepreneurship that come with thoughtful intention, big dreams, and lots of hard work - in turn they have become valuable team members assisting behind the scenes. Every one of our products in unique and hand poured by us, so from our family to yours, we hope you enjoy!
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Champion Hill Farm
Champion Hill Farm is owned and run by Greg Griswold and Therese Povolo, husband and wife. Their motto is, “To Know Bees is to Love Bees!
Greg knows bees, he has been tending bees since 1984. One of the things Greg loves about beekeeping is the challenge.
“Bees are amazing! Each day, there’s something to learn about them that will truly amaze you. They are resilient, incredible creatures.”
Greg practices chemical-free beekeeping in bee yards set in various locations in Benzie, Grand Traverse, and Leelanau Counties. Most of the yards are in wild rural locations, others are located on organic vegetable farms.
The beeswax which Therese uses to hand make the candles is from the cappings wax. When frames of honey are extracted the first step is to cut off the cappings wax which the honeybees have created for sealing honey. This means the beeswax is fresh, and pure.
Bees wax candles have a high flash point, so they burn slower with less dripping than other wax candles.
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Laura Lou Ceramics
I’m Laura Brown and I live in Leelanau County. Like most things in life, my path to pottery wasn’t direct. Growing up, I was always creating art with different types of mediums. It wasn’t until college when I found my love of ceramics. Once I graduated, I put this dream on hold due a lack of resources and workspace required to pursue pottery. Thanks to a local shared studio space, I’ve recently reignited this dream. My vision is simple – guided by intuition from the land around me, my work seeks to fill the homes, tables and countertops with clean, functional and practical design. I work with locally produced clays that are found in the very same soil that clings to my boots as I wander the hillsides of Northern Michigan where I find inspiration. The purpose of my hand built and wheel thrown pottery is to provide the framework for your meals, mornings, quiet times or home décor—to encourage the rhythm of this land that guides my work. This is my art. Your nightstands, cabinets and kitchen tables are my gallery.
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My name is Noah. I am 15 years old and I love to make stuff. I love to make pieces that make life easier and more enjoyable - the feeling after taking a discarded log and turning it into amazing products. Throughout my life, I have been building solutions rather than buying solutions. The desire to learn and progress as a better woodworker has turned this hobby into a business.
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The Fresh Exchange - Megan Gilger
I have always been in pursuit of creative things. All my life. Everything I do is about creating and owning a store meant I wanted my own hands on products whenever possible. Whether it be my own art from block printing or torn paper pieces, all of it is inspired by the land around me here in Leelanau County. From dyeing with foraged plants on the 10 acres we live on to wandering the shoreline and being taken by the layers of color, all of it inspires the work and design I bring to every product I either make or I design with our makers. I believe in the active participation in creative work and the trial and error. Finding beauty in the smallest and biggest things that shift amongst the seasons.
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