North Dakota Makers Movement Gaining Steam
More artists putting their do-it-yourself skills to work making unique pieces
Art truly is in the eye of the beholder. A new movement is taking hold in North Dakota, one that's been around for a long time but is growing in popularity. The Makers Movement, as it's called, is art for the masses created by the do-it-yourselfer who finds unique charm in many nontraditional mediums. Consider the following artists:
What would Eddie Van Halen think of Beau Theige? What would anyone think of a man making custom guitars out of ordinary items like pots and pans, license plates, spoons and bolts and barnwood? Hey, there must be a market because Theige has been building and selling his homemade guitars from his garage for two years. He has shipped them as far as Australia and the United Kingdom. Theige recently was selected by the North Dakota Art Gallery Association as featured artist in eight galleries across the state in 2017-18. Check him out his website.
Jon Offutt is a glassblower in Fargo. His studio House of Mulciber is fittingly named after the Roman god of fire. Offutt took up the medium that involves inflating molten glass 35 years ago. His works now include landscape vessels, ornaments and some larger pieces. His landscape vessels are infused with ingredients that affects their natural imagery. Offutt's works can be found at Gallery 4, Ltd. and Reed & Taylor Antiques in Fargo.
A college bet is paying off in a big way for artist and metalsmith Dave Badman. As a college student, he bet a friend that he could run a jewelry business, and almost 30 years later, Badman Designs is still turning out unique ornaments, artwork and sculptures. All of his handmade one-of-a-kind pieces can be seen at his gallery in downtown Grand Forks.
Rick Whittier hand carves and paints nearly 400 species and sub-species of fish decoys. You will see some of the species he carves here. These are all swim tested, fully functional pieces of art. We pride ourselves in selling fine quality, collectible art at affordable prices for the spearer to use! Rick has been carving fish decoys full time since late fall of 2004.
As the owner of Dacotah Clayworks, Robin Reynolds devotes her full attention to pottery. Reynolds retired from her position as adjunct ceramics professor at Dickinson State University. To keep her pottery business growing, a new catenary arch kiln was built in the backyard and carpentry work done to the studio. Reynolds grew up in Minot and graduated with a bachelor's degree from DSU in 1975. She moved out to Bellingham, Wash. where she had a pottery apprenticeship from 1979-82. After living there for 20 years, she moved to Hebron. There was a specific reason for purchasing the home/service station on Highway 10 - easy access to the indigenous clay mined north of Hebron.
The 32-mile-long Enchanted Highway features some of the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures. The sculpture “Geese in Flight” is currently listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as the Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture in the entire world. The highway consists of six extremely large metal sculptures depicting geese, deer, pheasants, grasshoppers, Teddy Roosevelt and even a complete Tin Family. The hotel owner and artist responsible for this awesome creation is Regent native Gary Greff.
Makewell is a community of more than 1,000 makers, creatives and entrepreneurs around the Midwest. Their mission is to elevate the makers of our local communities so that we can all do what we love, where we love. Makewell was founded around the need for a local community of makers and dreamers.