2019 Artist Highlight

An Interview with Sue Stavig, Guest Artist

Sue Stavig is a returning artist to the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour. Her luxurious knits are something to see, feel, admire, and wear for many years to come. The brilliant colors seamlessly blend with the beauty of the North Shore landscape she calls home. We asked her to share what it is like living and working with such beauty and inspiration!

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

It’s been over 30 years since we fell in love with the Lake Superior area. We purchased a forlorn log cabin on 40 acres, near Finland, MN, and dreamed of how this tiny space could be a seasonal retreat for our growing family. We loved the simple life it afforded us, nestled in a beautiful place in the country.  Beauty came with challenges. A towering but too-close tree fell on our roof. The shifting logs offered invitation to woodland guests. We tolerated flies, ants, snakes and mice. And then bats. (Our toddler alerted us to a “Mousie on the ceiling”). The final goodbye to the “old cabin” came when Mama Squirrel birthed a litter in a kitchen drawer. Enough. In 2008, we built a new cabin. Still tiny, but tight. No unexpected visitors. My favorite place is the porch, where I sit in a rocking chair that looks a bit like a snowshoe. I’m surrounded by luxurious yarn and buckets of stones I’ve collected. I never tire of the routine: coffee, clicking needles, creativity. All savored with a view of Sawmill Dome. We love it here!

Sue Stavig’s home in the woods, where beautiful knits are created.

  As an artist in the tour, what are you most excited about?  

Most of the year, knitting is a solitary adventure. While I enjoy the quiet company of yarn and needles, I look forward to meeting other artists and visitors. I knit what brings joy to me as an artist, with the wish that its recipient will find their own warm connection in color and fiber. 

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

After 30 years of commercial design work, I said goodbye to computers, clients, and deadlines. I now listen to the whispers of tall trees, shoreline stones, and deep water. I take photos of nature’s designs to remind me of their distinct colors and textures. These photos become inspiration that link the just-right yarn from my collection to interpret the scene. Yarn is my palette – I design and knit what I love.  

Sue Stavig’s work can be found at host artist Dave Gilsvik’s studio on the tour. For more information click the link below!

2019 Artist Highlight

Introducing New Host Artist E.J. Klepinger

We are pleased to introduce you to an artist who is hosting a beautiful new studio stop on the tour. Although he is new to us this year, E.J. Klepinger is already known in the community for his artwork and for teaching the popular weekly “Brushes, Beans, & Brews” art classes at the Mocha Moose along the Scenic Drive. We asked him to describe what it is like to live and work next to Lake Superior!

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

Nature is the greatest influence to my art, both through a shamanic spiritual connection and through the beauty of nature. Having lived most of my life in Colorado, I have always appreciated the natural world and its life forms from the time I was a small child, and have celebrated my love of nature through my art and poetry. I have learned that all life, both wild and domesticated, has an energy and being able to connect to that energy and portray it is one of the greatest joys I can imagine. It is also important to me to support the community and other artists, and I have loved being a part of this area and its people. This is the very first time in my 54 years of life that I felt like I was truly home. I have been very blessed to have many avenues to be an artist, from teaching, illustrating books, commission works and creating art to be enjoyed by collectors.

 As a new artist in the tour, what are you looking forward to?

Honestly, I love seeing people look at art, really absorb it and be intrigued by it. When this occurs with your own art, where they really take time to look at it and enjoy it, that is the greatest gift I can imagine related to my art. If they purchase my art, that is beyond amazing and I feel so blessed to have moved them enough to want include it in their space and their lives. I focus so much on the energy of the subject, and for viewers to feel that energy, to often comment on it, and to even be moved to tears by it, is an incredible experience to witness. I live in a very magical place and to be able to share that with folks on the tour is wonderful. To feel the energy of the artists that will be on the property and to share that energy with visitors is truly a blessing.

EJ Klepinger at work in the studio.

 What is it that you enjoy about working in your mediums?

I was taught, and I think many artists are taught, you have to focus on one medium. I fully disagree with this ‘rule’. I so appreciate artists that do, however for me, each medium has challenges and opportunities that might better serve the subject. To limit myself to just one medium is to limit my subject’s ability to express itself through my art. Being able to work in acrylics, oils, watercolor, soft pastel, pencil and pen and ink gives me many tools to honor my subject, and many forms of expressions to stimulate the viewer. I see the medium itself as a technique or artistic choice, what I enjoy the most is how the medium honors the subject, and I enjoy using the medium to do so. My enjoyment is less about the medium and more about the subject. There are times when I started with a medium and I completely abandon it and start over in a different medium. I is all about the subject for me and celebrating its energy.

Scratch art by EJ Klepinger

Notes about the studio…

 I am very much into the environment and nature, and am continually doing things to support my respect and love. I have a very difficult time killing anything, including the ‘dreaded’ tick and mosquito. My humble cabin home is rustic, and though I am slowly updating areas, I also love the ancient history it contains. This year I have also been playing with not mowing the yard fully or as much, and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing what forms of flowers, grasses and other plants grow, and what types of animals and insects it attracts. I have never seen so many monarchs as I have this year, so I have also begun planting butterfly and bee friendly plants in the organized beds, and am going to be planting a Swamp Milkweed patch in part of the yard. This has been a fun learning process of how to successfully germinate milkweed from seed. Hopefully by the time the show is here, others will see the fruits of my attempts.

Wolf by EJ Klepinger

For more information about E.J. Klepinger’s studio stop on the tour, please click the button below!

2019 Artist Highlight

Meet Host Artist Paul Zoldahn

Paul Zoldahn is one of our hosts for the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour. Paul has many years of ceramic experience, and loves to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with artists and art admirers alike. We asked him to describe his work and what it is like to work from his studio tucked in the woods of the North Shore.

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

Working in clay, I realized the need to keep creative by slowing the pace- foot powered wheel for forming work- eliminate breakage in glazing and once firing dry clay work. The North Shore lends itself to a slower pace, living far enough from Lake Superior seems to temper the high and low lake effected temperatures at our studio. Most days studio work begins with a trail walk in the Red Pine woods at our pottery.

As an artist in the tour, what are you most excited about?

 What excites me the most about sharing a host site on the 20/20 Studio & Art Tour is the returning and new customers that will visit our site. Also the addition of new artists and new energy added to the well established tour.

Paul Zoldahn at work.

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

I mix the clay used in my functional work. Clay really has a life of its own. At first the claybody seems a bit short and needs some finesse to ease that living pot out of the lump of clay. After 2 to 3 weeks of aging the clay becomes more workable and easier to move and create forms. Many clay work sessions are a series of forms sometimes very similar yet never identical, dictated by the consistency of the clay lump. An idea can be brought to life in clay through that series of work; usually it starts as a sketch on paper.

My pottery is carried by two galleries in Duluth Mn. -The Duluth Pottery in the west end arts district and Lizzards Gallery downtown and in Grand Marais Mn. at The Big Lake shop.

For more information about Paul’s studio stop on the tour, click the button below:

2019 Artist Highlight

Meet Host Artist Gail Rosenquist!

Gail Rosenquist is one of the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio Tour’s Hosts, located at studio GR/PZ. Gail’s ceramics are known for their swirling organic forms. She works in a country studio tucked away on the outskirts of Two Harbors, MN. She described what it is like to live and work in such a unique and beautiful place.

What do you like most about living and working on the north shore?

I love the quiet distance from city street noise where I can listen to nature’s calming chatter. I can work in silence and look out the studio window, or take a break and watch the pond and garden life. In winter I can look out at the gorgeous forms that fallen snow makes on spent summer forms. The quiet nature of snow is an amazing meditation. I am able to lose myself in art work at our home in the woods.

Ceramics by Gail Rosenquist

What are you most excited about for participating in the tour?

I of course love when visitors enjoy my artwork, and maybe take it home with them, but for me the best part  is visiting with new and old friends at our studio and showing them around the place.

What is it that you enjoy most about working in your medium?

I love the earthy tactile nature of clay and the opportunity to create on the fly.

For more information about Host artist Gail Rosenquist and studio stop GR/PZ, click the button below:

2019 Artist Highlight

Jennifer Murphy, Sculptor and Studio Tour Host

Meet Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour host artist Jennifer Murphy! Jennifer’s studio will be open for visitors during the tour, where you can meet her and see her beautiful work in person. We asked her a few questions about being a working artist on the North Shore.

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

I love that any direction I go there are places to explore with amazing wildlife, plant life, and geology that give a never-ending supply of inspiration. The natural spaces energize and comfort me, and my work has been evolving to reflect that since moving to the area almost 3 years ago.  

The studio of Jennifer Murphy

As an artist in the tour, what are you most excited about?  If you have not participated before what are you looking forward to?

This is my second year as a host on the tour.  What excites me most about the tour is meeting the people who support and appreciate the arts.  I also love to give people a look into my studio space.  I feel it helps people to be more connected with the artwork if they can see where it is made.

I’m also excited because I was awarded a technology and equipment grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council this year, and I cannot wait to reveal the new work I’ve made with the equipment I purchased with the help of this grant.

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

I love working with clay because it is tactile, malleable, and always challenging.  The successes are always something I celebrate, and the failures are always a learning experience.  Clay gives me the freedom to continually evolve my work and try new things, there is never a shortage of techniques to discover.  I also get to play with fire, which is awesome!

Jennifer’s work at the Park Point Art Fair 2019

Find out more about Jennifer and her studio stop on the tour, STUDIO JM, by clicking the button below.

2019 Artist Highlight

An Interview with Dan Findley, Woodworker

Dan is a longtime guest artist of the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour, known for his exceptional woodworking skills and his generous spirit, giving back to his community by donating the proceeds from his sales during the tour to our local food bank. We were thrilled to interview him about his participation in the tour and being an artist on the north shore!

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

I love the north woods. It is so fresh and beautiful. I spent a large part of my life paddling and guiding in Quetico. That’s where I met Alice, my paddling partner for life. I can’t canoe anymore but I know it’s just right there. So now I enjoy Lake Superior. That’s about as beautiful as it gets. Now instead of paddling I walk the lake shore remembering all the wonderful adventures Alice and I enjoyed together.

Dan and friend.

As an artist in the tour, what are you most excited about?

The 20/20 has become a major part of my life. The people traveling the tour are interested in more than just what they can buy. They enjoy traveling the back roads to find quaint studios hidden in the woods where they get to meet delightful artists who enjoy their work. Talking with these people is so enjoyable. Of course they want to learn about my playing with wood. But they also enjoy talking about other artists they have met and beautiful things they have seen. Then of course my final pleasure comes Monday morning. I make a considerable amount of money and Monday morning I get to take it to the food shelf where it gets used to make many people happier and healthier.

Woodwork by Dan FIndley

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

My dad was of the old school where when you needed something you made it. Often he used wood. After I got married money was scarce. So to help out my dad and I made custom lightweight canoe racing paddles. We spent many hours together in his basement working with wood. Very often when I am playing with wood I think of those times. 

Find more information about Dan Findley’s participation as a guest artist at studio stop LK by clicking the button below:

For more information about the Two Harbors Food Shelf:

2019 Artist Highlight

Meet Guest Artist Natalija Walbridge

Check out our interview with silkscreen artist and seamstress Natalija Walbridge, guest artist!

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

I am lucky to live on the bay side of Park Point, tucked behind Hearding Island. I am inspired by living close to nature, especially migrating birds and the otters who live on the bank of the island and swim near my shore at sunset. Recently a pair of Canadian geese took over the eagles nest in the tallest cottonwood tree on the island. A curious sight indeed! Nature is a constant source of wonder and my soul is nourished every day by the beauty that surrounds us.

Artist Natalija Walbridge

As an artist in the tour, what are you most excited about?

If you have not participated before what are you looking forward to? One of my favorite things about the tour is the relaxed setting which allows more time for conversation with each visitor. It’s rewarding to meet so many people who are interested to learn about my creative and technical process.

Sling Bag by Natalija Walbridge

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium(s)?

My passion is to create functional, wearable art, combining technical design with imaginative prints. Since everything is made from start to finish in my home studio, I am able to create the art in proportion for each bag style. In this sense, the canvas for my art becomes a 3D object with the process of sewing and the result is a functional bag that will be enjoyed as part of someone’s daily life.

Find Natalija at studio stop LS! Click below for more details.

2019 Artist Highlight

Meet Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour Host Artist, Christian Dalbec!

We asked photographer Christian Dalbec a few questions about living and working on the north shore as an artist:

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

Lake Superior is just outside, literally by backyard.

Photography by Christian Dalbec

As an artist in the tour, what are you most excited about? If you have not participated before what are you looking forward to?

I look forward to meeting new people, hearing their stories and connecting over art.

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium(s)?

I get to easily share what I see with the world.

Photography by Christian Dalbec

Visit Christian Dalbec’s studio on the tour- click the button below for more information!