Made on the Whitefish Chain: local artisans have great gifts

Gordon Siemers, "The Birdman" makes almost all the bird houses and bird feeders stocked in his Crosslake store, Birds, Bats and Beyond. He and other Whitefish Chain artisans create fabulous holiday gifts. Photo by Kate Perkins

The Whitefish Chain isn't just home to some of the most beautiful woods and lakes- it's also home to some fabulous artists and artisans. They're making one of a kind creations that reflect their surroundings and, it just so happens, make great holiday gifts.

Birds, Bats and Beyond in Crosslake is home to "The Birdman," Gordon Siemers. Gordon makes bird and bat houses of all varieties himself in his workshop. He took up the craft after retiring from his career as an auctioneer, and having watched and studied birds, he's crafted styles of houses that suit specific varieties of birds. He also sells many bird feeders of his own making, as well as the seed to fill them. "Gordon's Mix" birdseed is sure to draw flocks of feathered friends to your feeders. Find the store on County Road 3, across from Town Square.

Lonesome Cottage, based in Pequot Lakes, makes lodge-style furnishings locally. Production is in the Pequot Lakes industrial park, while their showroom of furniture, home decor and gifts is at the Oasis Center in Pequot Lakes (on Hwy. 371 just a few blocks south of the stop lights). Lonesome Cottage makes furniture from cedar, hickory and barn wood, and also sells upholstered furniture, rugs, lamps and more.

Lonesome Cottage's furniture is popular not only among residents but also businesses around the Whitefish Chain. Lakes Latte, in Pequot Lakes, features a bar made by Lonesome Cottage, and the AmericInn in Pequot Lakes also furnished almost entirely with Lonesome Cottage furniture.

Pottery by local artisan Cyrus Swann is on display at Serendipity Art Gallery, Pequot Lakes. Photo by Kate Perkins

Cyrus Swann, known locally as Cyrus the Potter, is another popular local artisan. Cyrus makes handmade pottery in his rural Pine River studio. His pottery is as beautiful as it is functional, with a rustic authenticity representative of the woods around the Whitefish Chain. While Cyrus holds a few summertime pottery sales at his studio, his work can be purchased year-round at Serendipity Art Gallery (in the Jack Pine Center, Pequot Lakes) and Lakes Area Gallery and Frame (Town Square, Crosslake).

Two local glassblowers make stunning vases, lamps and drinking glasses. Steven Claypatch is a longtime visitor to the Whitefish Chain, while Steven Weagel of "Weagelworks" is a local resident with his own glassblowing studio, where he and Claypatch occasionally collaborate on pieces. Weagel's glass blowing studio is completely contained in a truck trailer, making it portable. For years, Weagel was a glass blower at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Weagel is known for combining his blown glass pieces with welded metal artwork, creating lamps, wall hangings and more. Find Claypatch's work at Kicks on 66 in Crosslake, and find Weagel's work at Serendipity Art Gallery in Pequot Lakes.

You can find more local artisans at several great stores around the Whitefish Chain. While Serendipity is home to Cyrus the Potter and Steven Weagel, the gallery is also filled with other local artists- 40 in all. Paintings, batik, stained glass, jewelry and more all fill the store.

Kicks on 66 in Crosslake specializes in giving local artisans a venue for their work, filled with fascinating wood furniture, award-winning photography and much more. If you'd prefer to make your Christmas gifts, Kicks has a painting studio that's open daily (see website for details, reservations requested) with predrawn canvases available, as well as painting classes.

The Plaid Duck in Pine River is also home to several local artists, including many painters who capture the Whitefish Chain's woods and waters in their work. They carry hand painted ornaments, bird feeders, beaded jewelry and artwork.

If you're looking for unique, authentic gifts that reflect your favorite part of the world, look no further than the artisans around the Whitefish Chain. In your exploration of the area, you'll find these artisans and many more.

Comments are closed.