Support the Artisans at Small Business Saturday at Bailey Builds!

Today is filled with holiday fun as we are thrilled to go all in this year for Small Business Saturday!  We have missed hosting these great Northwoods gatherings, so we are making a party of it today!  Cozy up in your favorite winter hat and gloves and come to our indoor and outdoor event!  Bring the whole family, there’s something for everyone!

We have a cozy campfire to snuggle up to, with hot cocoa and freshly made donuts on location.  There is music and puppetry, and a real, furry friends petting zoo!  We have partnered with our friends and neighbors Shake It! across the street to provide a large tent full of local artisans.  This is a great opportunity to find those unique and special gifts, while supporting our local community.

At Bailey Builds, we are excited to bring back our festive holiday party, as we participate in our city’s Bailey Builds is having our holiday sale today!  Take advantage of 15% off a Bailey Builds art purchase of $500 or more.  This same sale will be available online for 24 hours, from 7pm on Monday, November 29 until 7pm on Tuesday, November 30.

As always, our store is filled with a wide variety of artisan goods from local artisans and beyond.  Today, we are excited to have many talented local artisans joining us in person!  Here is just a little information about some of the artisans you can expect to see today:

The Cozy Hen

The Cozy Hen makes scrumptious, mouth watering cheesecakes that people drive miles for!  Heather’s cheesecakes are famous for their perfect texture and balanced flavor.  Heather has several crowd pleasing flavors that are sold by the slice or by the whole.  Can’t decide on which flavor?  No worries!  She also sells a sampler cake with a variety all in one!

Sorvik North

Lisa is the creative behind Sorvik North.  She makes beautiful jewelry, with birch bark as her centerpiece.  If you’re looking for jewelry that is infused with the Northwoods, make sure to check out Sorvik North.

Burdock Ceramics

Burdock Ceramics will be bringing their beautiful, nature inspired pottery.  This duo team, Rita Morris and Barry Sands, craft each piece on the pottery wheel, and then hand paint them with delicate drawings of nature.

Tidy Details

Kaitlyn is the proud owner of Tidy Details LLC, a professional residential cleaning, home decor, and staging service in the Twin Ports.  She  will be offering their quality and effective cleaning and home products, and home decor.  You can also find out about their amazing cleaning and staging services.

White Spruce Market

Bailey is the founder of White Spruce Market.  She creates personalized gift boxes, ready to ship, and filled with a beautiful selection of handcrafted goods.  She prides herself in beautiful packaging, filled with intentional gifts.

Shire Draft Woodworking & Arts

Nate is the maker behind Shire Draft Woodworking and Arts.  He loves to work with wood and create beautiful things, using both new and repurposed materials.  He will cover all aspects of what they do, with a special focus on art.

Cook’s Country Connection

This amazing crew will be joining us with all their cuddly critters! Their aim is to connect people to each other, animals, and the land. Be sure to stop by and see these friendly critters, they are sure to bring you some joy!

Shake It

Shake It! makes healthy shakes, soups, and sandwiches that are both filling and delicious!

Mae’s Little Shop of Macrame

Megan is the incredible maker behind Mae’s Little Shop of Macramé! She’s only been at it about a year and her business has already grown so much. We can’t wait for you guys to meet her, you’re going to love everything she makes!You can expect to find plant hangers, keychains, ornaments, wall decor, and more! Versatile, gorgeous, and made by hand makes these items perfect for gifts this holiday season!

Lairehby the Holiday Elf

We are lucky enough to have our very own Holiday Elf joining us this Saturday! Meet Lairehby and her wonderful puppet friends!! Lairehby will be wandering around our event spreading so much joy! She also has a few activities prepared for any kiddos who would like to join her and her friends

Cold Rain and Snow Jewelry

Anne is a metalsmith, mom, and outdoorswoman living along the shores of Superior. From Lake Superior Agates to one of a kind turquoise, each piece of handcrafted jewelry is beautiful and unique. Wear these pieces on the trails or to your favorite holiday party

Sass & Solder

Cass makes the most incredible stained glass ever. She has pieces for decor and pieces that are not only beautiful, but also functional! Her pieces are truly one of a kind and make the perfect gifts for yourself and loved ones. We can’t wait for Cass to join us for her first ever Small Business Saturday!

Clay Creations by Carlie

Carlie is the wonderful jewelry maker behind Clay Creations by Carlie joined us last year for Small Business Saturday and we are SO happy she will be back for this year’s event that is going to be bigger and better!! Carlie creates clay jewelry by hand right here in Duluth, MN. She has a pair of earrings for literally everyone!!

Nucleus Fine Art and Jewelry

Melanie the artist and maker behind Nucleus and Fine Art Jewelry will be joining in on the fun this Small Business Saturday at Bailey Builds and Friends! Melanie Lieb is a visual artist working in multiple media which include painting, jewelry, sculpture, ceramic and installation. You can expect artistic contemporary copper enamel jewelry, linoleum cut holiday cards, and fun holiday gnomes!

On behalf of Bailey Builds and all of our local artisans, we thank you for shopping locally and supporting our small businesses!  We can’t wait to greet you! Follow along on Instagram and Facebook

Come and join the festivities at:

Bailey Builds and Friends

5727 Grand Ave.

Duluth MN

Saturday, November 27th


Small Business Saturday at Bailey Builds!

I’ve realized that after Thanksgiving, we all decide it is now acceptable to pull out our favorite scarf and mittens and embrace the fact that winter is underway.  The crisp air and falling snowflakes tickle our noses, and our toes once again greet the icy earth beneath us.  The great north woods winter is officially upon us!

And we have the holiday season to usher it in with welcoming arms, warmed by our favorite wool and fleece sweaters.

At Bailey Builds, we are excited to bring back our festive holiday party, as we participate in our city’s Small Business Saturday event, always the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We are so excited that this year we are able to bring back the big, white tent and fill it with some of our favorite local artists!  We are closing off the street and kicking off this month of Christmas cheer with something for everyone, including the kiddos!

We are excited that our neighbors at “Shake It” are partnering with us, opening up their lot across the street that will house our large maker’s tent.  Enjoy the best of holiday artisan shopping, and grab yourself a healthy and hearty shake or sandwich, too!

Our store will be decked out for the holidays, and our holiday sale that you’ve come to look forward to will take place in the store all day!  From 10-5, you will have the opportunity to receive the gift of 15% off Bailey Builds art purchases of $500 or more.  And don’t forget to bring in any tokens you’ve collected from our Bailey Builds birthday month!

You can’t have an outdoor, Northwoods style party without a campfire!  Again, we will have a campfire right in the square to warm up by.  Take a break and enjoy  our free and fresh, homemade donuts, made on location!  The warm, doughy biscuits, deep fried and smothered in cinnamon and sugar are simply delightful!

And don’t worry!  We’ll have hot cocoa to wash them down!

Our Small Business Saturday event is truly for the whole family!  Bring the kiddos!  There will be furry, barnyard friends there to enamour the young and the old!  We also have a new, very special addition to spread the magic of the holiday season!  Our dear friend and very talented puppeteer will be walking about, delighting children with her whimsical voices and puppets!  You won’t want to miss this!

We are so thrilled to bring you some of the best of the best local artisans in the area!  So many artisan genres will be represented.  I can’t begin to cover it all, but let me highlight just a few:

Burdock Ceramics will be bringing their beautiful, nature inspired pottery.  This duo team, Rita Morris and Barry Sands, craft each piece on the pottery wheel, and then hand paint them  with delicate drawings of nature.

The Cozy Hen is a locally beloved baker of the most scrumptious Cheesecakes your taste buds will ever have the pleasure of sampling.  She will have available for sale several of her most popular holiday flavors.

White Spruce Market creates personalized gift boxes, ready to ship, and filled with a beautiful selection of handcrafted goods.

Sorvik North creates beautiful and earthy jewelry using birch bark as its centerpiece.

Round Barn Studio creates quilt designs out of reclaimed wood.

Tidy Details is a professional residential cleaning, home decor, and staging service in the twin ports that will be offering their quality and effective cleaning and home products.

Shire Draft Woodworking and Arts will have a booth that will cover all aspects of what they do, with a special focus on art.

This is just a sample of what you can expect at our Bailey Builds Small Business Saturday event!  We are thankful that our city has realized the importance of setting aside a special day to showcase the talented and hardworking businesses of our area, supporting the true American spirit of entrepreneurs.  When you shop local, you help support your local economy, and the local people in your midst who fuel the livelihood of your community.  We hope you take the opportunity to spread the spirit of the season with hand crafted gifts by local artisans this year!  We can’t wait to greet you!

Stay tuned for more details of the Bailey Builds Small Business Saturday event on our social media outlets on Instagram and Facebook.  Come and join the festivities at:

Bailey Builds and Friends

5727 Grand Ave.

Duluth MN

Saturday, November 27th


The Christmas Tree Hunt

On a frosty November morning, with the aroma of turkey and stuffing still wafting in the air, my gratitude for all the important things in life lingers, as the anticipation of the coming month arises.  The hustle and bustle of holiday business, the crisp air and falling snow, and all the details of Christmas dance in my head as I light my pine scented candle.  The culmination of the year has arrived, and I can’t wait to begin embracing it!

This is how I feel every year at the close of November.  There’s just something extra special about December.  There are so many ways to look at it.  It is the final chapter of the year at hand.  It is the month when the world ushers in the most cheer and good tidings.  The practice of compassion and giving is on the forefront, and the desire to dig a little deeper into the simple moments of timeless tradition seems to beckon.

I love the traditions that my family and I share.  And one of those traditions is heading out into the woods as a family to cut down our Christmas tree.  It’s a tradition we embrace every year.  The location may change, the family or friends we enjoy it with may change, but the joy and excitement it brings never fails.

On our Christmas tree expeditions, we like to make a day of it.  We pack the thermos of homemade hot cocoa, with plenty of snacks to go around.  If we go somewhere that we can have a campfire to warm up by, we’ll plan for that, too.  With our warmest boots and our coziest gloves we’ll all pile into the truck, dogs included!

I know there are a lot of theories on obtaining a fresh Christmas Tree.  Some people like to spot a nicely trimmed and tied evergreen at a Christmas tree lot.  Others like to pick from precut pines at a tree farm.  Any way to enjoy fresh greenery is a good choice, but my family and I like to enjoy the hunt of it.  Finding our tree is like searching for hidden treasure.  It’s somewhat magical as we gaze up at all the beautiful evergreens stretching out and pointing to the heavens.  In excitement, we tend to spread out as nature calls us in.  You can understand why one might get lost in the woods, because getting off trail is part of the fun.

Once we’ve circled the area, we all share our favorites and take a vote.  When we’ve landed on the “chosen one,” the true grit comes in, as we do things the old fashioned way.  Now that our children have gotten older, the process of hand sawing the tree isn’t quite as arduous as it used to be.  There are plenty of strong hands to get the job done!  We even get the shopdogs Albert and Oakley in on the fun!  Albert likes to play sled dog and help drag the tree back to the truck!  These are the moments of laughter and family time that I like to seal into my memory, to draw from on those more hectic days.

Picking out a Christmas tree can be somewhat like picking out a new family sofa at the furniture store.  What I mean by that is, they always look smaller than you think, until you try to cram it through the front door and into your living space.  I always have an inkling that perhaps we’ve gone a little too monumental, but the “go big or go home” mentality runs in our blood, even when it comes to Christmas Trees.  Luckily, our current home has a vaulted ceiling that puts up with our lofty evergreen conquests.

The great part of celebrating the holidays with a fresh evergreen, is the built in greenery we can glean from it for the rest of our home.  What can’t fit through the front door turns into festive, aromatic trimmings to decorate with inside and outside of our home.  There’s just something about the sight and smell of greenery that makes you feel cozy and makes your spirit bright.

We’ve never been into a color coordinating, perfectly decorated tree.  We love the ornaments that hold special meaning, mixed in with the paper chains our kids still love to make.  Our perfectly imperfect tree, fully lit with it’s fair share of lights, holds a special place in my heart, and I look forward to it every year.  Just thinking about it makes me eager to embrace it once again.

We are excited to bring the spirit of Christmas into our Bailey Builds and Friends storefront once again, giving you a great opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit as well!  We are so excited to kick off the Holiday season with lots of our artisan friends during our Small Business Saturday event on Saturday, November 27th.  Bring the kids, and save room for homemade donuts and hot cocoa!  Keep checking in on our Facebook Event Page for more information!

Our Epic Last Year, And It’s Not Over Yet!

In January of this year, as we embarked on the beginning of 2021, we gathered with our team to plan for what would become an unpredictable, yet epic year for Bailey Builds.  As the sunlight streamed through the window panes of our gallery, we sat together  in our cozy socks, with warm cups of coffee, ready to share more of ourselves with each other, combining our strengths and vision for the new year.  We had plans, we had timelines, we had listed our boxes to check.  And yet, this year reminded us that the ability to innovate is truly one of our greatest assets when life doesn’t go just like we planned. 

And, there are always hidden treasures and blessings to be discovered along the way.

In the beginning of the year, our biggest project was the renovation of the funeral home building into our fully operating Bailey Builds Collective.  We had set the month of June as the Grand Opening of our Bailey Builds store in the new location.  We had planned on having our artist work space available to the community shortly thereafter.  We even had design work mocked up to expand the gallery into a larger event space.  While all of these things are still very much a part of our grand plan, they weren’t able to happen in the timeline we had anticipated.

Our Collective building has come a long way.  We have spent countless hours working on the demo-ing of old walls, sorting through random artifacts of the old funeral home, and enjoying the storytelling of the process.  Yet, as a series of setbacks arose that were out of our control, we have had to modify the expectations of our timeline and focus on making the best out of our usable resources.  This mindset is a key component in the ability to innovate.  You’ve got to be able to take what you have and rearrange the pieces until you have what works for that moment or period. 

Rearranging the pieces of the tangram of Bailey Builds, if you will, led us to making the best lemonade we could out of the lemons of our circumstance.  We chose, in the meantime, to have a Grand Reopening of our current store location, extending our merchandise into the gallery space.  We had procured so many wonderful items from local and regional artists, so we wanted to make those items available to our customers.  The space has turned out beautifully, and is the perfect solution while we wait to continue our work at The Collective.

In the midst of the innovation that we have needed to practice as entrepreneurs, we have been splendidly surprised by the wonderful opportunities that have sprung up in the last year, fully embracing the blessings they have brought.  We have been thankful that 2021 brought back some of the art shows that were amiss in 2020 due to the pandemic.  For artists, these art shows are an integral part of the bread and butter for the year.

We had the privilege of participating in fairs that were new for us.  In June, we had such a warm welcome at the Stone Arch Art Festival in the Twin Cities.  This is the event that kicked off our Arches Collection, which continues to remain a favorite.  We were also thrilled to be honored as a Festival Favorite for this year!

In July we experienced our first Ann Arbor Art Fair, which is the largest Juried Art Fair in the country.  We were blown away by the response we received, and had such an amazing time.  The Ann Arbor Art Fair also showcased the release of our Gatsby Collection, which has truly continued to transform the art we create.

It was during the Ann Arbor Art Fair that we received a call to one of our biggest unexpected adventures of the year.  We were asked by Motortrend to participate in the promotion of the rebirth of the Wagoneer.  I designed a piece that represented the birth of a new generation of Wagoneers, while still paying homage to the classic original.  We recreated this piece as a special keepsake for the participants of a Fireside Chat put on by Motortrend and Wagoneer, at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  I was even invited to participate on the panel, alongside Wagoneer designers.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience!

As soon as our feet hit the ground back in Minnesota, after our fairytale experience in California, it was all hands on deck to prepare for the MN State Fair.  We dived in head first, embracing the challenge to stand out in the massive crowd by building our own Bailey Builds Studio on location!  Our team worked around the clock for nearly a week, and the result of our labor paid off.  Our studio space was a beautiful place to showcase our work at the most trafficked state fair in our country.  We had the privilege of meeting so many of you, as well as being presented with one of the Best of 2021 MN State Fair Awards.

If this was where our year ended, it would have been epic.  But we still managed to squeeze in another amazing art fair.  The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Art Fair On the Square was a phenomenal way to end the art festival season.  We received the great honor of an Invitational Award, which invites us back to participate next year without having to go through the competitive application process.  It was also our best two day art show ever, selling over ¾ of our inventory.

With less than two months left of the year of 2021, we hope to close it off with a good dose of cheer during this holiday season.  We love this time of year!  We love making handcrafted art that warms any space it finds its home.  We love pouring into our community, encouraging an atmosphere of joy and connection.  We look forward to sharing our fun holiday collections, and we hope to see you at our Small Business Saturday Event on Saturday, November 27th, at our Grand Avenue store.  Thanks for being a part of the journey with us!  We are so thankful for you!

The Bailey Builds Journey: Growing Pains And Where They Have Led Us

I remember teasing Nathanael about the idea of quitting his job to work with me someday.  Yet, the busier and busier my business became, the reality that I needed help became more apparent.  The seed of that idea had been planted in Nathanael’s heart, and time caused that seed to grow into real opportunity.

Nathanael was working in a field that he loved for a company that offered a lot of security.  The idea of leaving all that behind to build art in our garage seemed like a major risk.  However, we were already risk takers back then, and Nathanael had always loved the idea of being an entrepreneur, owning his own business.  This seemed like a natural opportunity to come alongside me and run with it!

We took the leap of faith and Nathanael quit his secure job of many years.  Our joint office became the garage in our backyard, and we began to work out our rhythm.  We soon realized that our process was quite different from one another.  While I’m a bit all over the place, fully immersed in my creative moments, Nathanael thrives on order and organization.  He kept his workspace tidy, while I had piles that made sense to me.  Learning to work together to come up with the most efficient process was important.  Nathanael built us each personal work benches that catered to our individual needs, and  we learned to create harmony with one another in our approach.  

With the need to stock up on any reclaimed lumber we could get our hands on, and the growing number of orders we were securing, we were fighting for space with the lawn mower, bicycles, and other home items infringing on our workspace.  It was time for a new workspace.  It was a daunting thought to invest in a workshop, but the opportunity to purchase the old Texaco gas station on the west side of our city was perfect timing.  As risk takers, we took the plunge.

Buying the old Texaco building ushered in new opportunities to expand our business.  Not only did we have an amazing workspace, but we were able to create more income by creating our Maker’s Loft Airbnb in the old apartment in the upper floor of the building, as well as rent out the front space until we were able to expand our business to include a storefront.  With a lot of elbow grease and a large amount of fresh paint, Nathanael’s famous quote became a reality: “What once fueled cars, now fuels the arts.”

By the fall of 2018, I was sharing all my favorite workwear from Duluth Trading Company with my instagram family, as their clothing became my go-to wardrobe in the woodshop and beyond.  We were running our woodshop, airbnb, and our own storefront Bailey Builds and Friends, and our business continued to grow.  By summer of 2019, I had become a working model for Duluth Trading Company’s womens collection, which was such an honor and amazing experience!  Yet, as our business continued to grow and our art production continued to expand, we began to feel those growing pains once again.

By the start of 2020, feeling cramped in our workshop, we decided to rent a warehouse building nearby as the answer to needing a larger production space.  At this point, we had our sons working for us part time in the woodshop, as well as one of my best friends working for us part time as a writer, sketch artist, and with our Airbnb management.  At this point, we were ready to commit to the next level of our team, by adding on a full time position that would focus on our marketing presence.  I don’t think we knew at the time that this big decision would be the start of creating our amazing team of currently over 10 people!

All of us can relate to the hardship that the year 2020 brought, with the reality that the world was in the midst of a catastrophic health pandemic.  The trickle down effect it had on families and small businesses was dramatic, and our economy is still trying to recover.  Though these times became hard, and we struggled through business shutdowns and loss of sales, we pressed on and continued to pull from the deep well of our entrepreneurial spirit.

During a time in our country when businesses were shutting their doors for good, we stepped out on the ledge, in faith, and bought another building to expand our business and our vision for the future.  Though the timing seemed risky, we purchased an old funeral home, just a couple blocks away from our storefront and workshop turned gallery space. In the end of July, 2020, we were handed the keys of our new building, with so many dreams in store for this new space.

We have loved sharing the journey of Bailey Builds with you this month.  Next week, we’ll share about this last epic year and the fun we still have in store through this holiday season.  Thanks for following along!

My Journey From Building Furniture To Creating Art

My Bailey Builds journey started out as a dream and a calling.  I believed that I was to “do what I love to do.”  All I knew was to step out in faith and start doing just that.  One of the ways I loved to create was through building with reclaimed wood.  The journey started through creating unique pieces of furniture.  I realized, after my first craft show, that this joy of mine could actually bring a profit, and I was determined to take it to the next level.

Building furniture and working with customers to create in-home installations had grown into a full time commitment.  I began to realize that there were aspects of furniture building that weren’t for me.  What I loved about the creation process was the artistry and aesthetic design, rather than the pressure of a solid structural design.  I also realized that working on location for clients wasn’t something that worked for me and my family.  It was time for me to start thinking about how I could innovate, and come up with new ideas.

In those beginning days, I wouldn’t have referred to myself as an entrepreneur. I always thought that working for myself would mean the stress of long days and crunching numbers, and it sounded like so much responsibility.  It’s funny, because six years later, while those aspects might be true, being an entrepreneur is so much more than that!  What makes it a game changer is when all those things become worth it, because you’re doing something you love, something you believe in!  And one of the first attributes I would use to describe a successful entrepreneur is the ability to innovate.  

Innovation is something that comes natural for me.  I love to come up with new solutions and new ideas to break through convention and limitations.  This skill has become an integral part of our business model, and I believe it started building the foundation back in our home garage during that first year.

I remember staring at the piles of scrap wood that was accumulating in my garage.  There was only so much kindling I could use, and I hated the idea of discarding it.  After all, part of my work was to take discarded material and give it new life.  I started working with those smaller pieces, cutting them and placing them in patterns.  I had already been incorporating chevron and herringbone designs into my furniture.  Why not just create a piece on it’s own?  Through trial and error, I worked with the wood and honed in on my technique and build process.  I felt this creative charge that a songwriter feels when the words and melody begin to coincide, and you become enveloped by the process of your creation.  I was finding my niche, my passion.

I remember working many hours in the garage.  I would take breaks to be with the family, but would find myself plugging away until I felt like it was getting too late to be running my saws in our neighborhood.  After several finished pieces, I stepped back to look at my work.  I remember being stuck on what it should be called.  It was no longer furniture.  And they weren’t really signs.  I decided on wood wall art; Wood Mosaic Art.  And if I were to call it art, then I realized that It was time for me to claim the title “Artist.”  It felt bold, yet I believed I had created something that was different, and I was both nervous and excited to share it with the world… or at least the next local craft fair.

I shared my new art with friends and family.  Their reaction and encouragement helped motivate me to prepare for the next big Art event in our area.  Nathanael helped me create a booth that would be able to display my work, and his support during that time was so empowering.  I’m so thankful to have a spouse that is truly my partner in all things.  His belief in me helped me to believe in myself.

It was such a surreal experience, waiting in nervous anticipation to see how the world would react to my Wood Mosaic Art.  I remember waiting for the doors to open to the event, hoping that people would like what they saw when they came to my booth.  I knew that I was in the midst of living out that calling on my life, “to do what I love to do.”  I believed that as long as I was trying my best to work and respond through that lens, that the outcome of that day wouldn’t be the defining factor of success or failure.

The response was overwhelming.  I had given the audience something different and new.  Something that appealed across age brackets.  The beauty and warmth of reclaimed wood, and the patterns and added earthy tones were something that could find its home in any space.  People were buying my art.  I realized that day that the innovation that took place in my garage had moved me beyond furniture and into the world of art.  I was overwhelmed.  I was thrilled.  And most of all, I was so thankful.  It was such a confirmation that I was carving out my place, and had found a way to contribute to my family while doing something that brought me so much joy.

Thanks for celebrating our 6th Birthday this month of October, as I look back on this amazing journey.  Next week, I’ll share about our business growing pains, and the need to expand our workspace and step out in another leap of faith.

Make sure to follow along on Instagram for all the fun opportunities we have during our Birthday month of October.

The Birth Of Bailey Builds: A Call To Do What I Love

It’s hard to believe that we are entering our sixth year living the clear calling that I felt in my life: to do what I love.  In the beginning, I wasn’t even totally sure exactly what that would mean for me.  All I knew was that I had reached the T in the road, and I knew it was time for me to head in a new direction.

After 13 years working at the same job, I realized that what had first drawn me in was no longer present.  I realized that I was going through the motions, but the passion and purpose wasn’t fulfilling me like it once did.  It was hard to think of switching gears without a clear path, yet I knew deep inside that the time for closing one door to explore another door was at hand, and I needed to walk in faith, trusting that the right door would open.

I can remember the night I felt clearly that God was telling me to do what I love to do. 

That was my starting point.  I began making a list of the things that brought joy and purpose to my life.  I loved being a mother and a wife.  I had a passion for music and writing.  I was just starting to get a real itch for building things out of recycled wood.  I decided that, through the creation of a blog, I would focus on these things.  I was writing.  I was playing music for pleasure at local coffee shops.  And I was tinkering in our garage, building lawn furniture and furniture for my home.  All the while, I would share these pieces of my life on my new blog.

As I poured my time into these pockets of life that brought joy, a rhythm and order began to settle in.  Friends started noticing my craft for building, which sparked the opportunity to create custom furniture.  I realized that building things tapped into a new faucet of my creativity that I wanted more of.  During those beginning months, I spent countless hours in our family garage honing in on my skill, experimenting with design and function.

As I made myself available to the idea that building things could be the answer to the income I hoped to replace, I took custom orders through word of mouth, and even took on some bigger projects that required me to build on site.  I was building benches and coffee tables, laundry sorters and dining tables.  I even built floating bunk beds and desks for a friend.  I was putting in many more hours than I was recouping in money, but I was finding my way.

It wasn’t until I signed up for a craft fair, that  I truly realized that the potential to make a profit was a reality.  I had no idea what to expect at my first real show, which was the Duluth Junk Hunt.  I just built as many pieces as I could and went with lots of hope, but little expectations.  The warm and enthusiastic response I received was motivational.  It was hard to believe that people loved my work.  I didn’t even really know what to call myself at that point.  Was I a crafter? Builder? Artist? Whatever the case, that craft fair was the first time I went home with a profit, albeit small.  After figuring all of the time I invested and the supplies that needed to be purchased, I estimated I made about five dollars an hour.  It was less than minimum wage, but it was a start!  It was enough to inspire me to keep going.

At this point, I was still experimenting with my style.  I loved the way lines created interest and movement.  In my early work, I incorporated a lot of chevron and herringbone elements to my furniture.  I also loved working with recycled wood.  Originally, my favorite part about utilizing recycled wood was that I could usually find it for free.  It may have taken a little elbow grease to pry apart pallets and remove nails and screws from old boards, but the profit was higher than with buying new lumber.  Moreso, I realized just how beautiful and unique old, weathered lumber could be. 

And there is such beautiful symbolism with taking something old and discarded and giving it new life.

Probably the craziest story I could share from those beginnings, is the laundry sorter I made that went viral on Pinterest.  I had found the building design through a tutorial online.  Once I posted my version, I had countless requests for orders from people who found my post.  I made so many hand-crafted laundry sorters for people, juggling the shipping of large, bulky items.  It was through this experience that I began to realize that furniture building wasn’t my destination.  Yet, I knew it was leading me somewhere. 

I just hadn’t discovered quite where.

I can’t wait to share with you next week, how furniture building evolved into what Bailey Builds is known for today!  Make sure to follow along on Instagram for all the fun opportunities we have during our Birthday month of October.

What Life Looks Like Before An Art Show And What’s Coming Up

The bags under our eyes have not fully dissipated from the Minnesota State Fair, but the show must go on!  As entrepreneurs in the art world, Art Fairs are an important opportunity to get our work out there to the public.  We love when we are given opportunities to head to events that are new for us, such as the “Art Fair On The Square” in Madison WI this weekend.  If this isn’t your world, you might not realize what it takes for artists like us to prepare ourselves for these events, so I thought I’d take a little time to share what a week before an art show looks like for us..

This weekend we are at “Art Fair On The Square” in Madison WI.  Madison Museum of Contemporary Art puts this show on.  I have actually applied for a few years for this show, as with these higher end art fairs there is an application process.  The first year I applied, we didn’t get in.  Then, in 2020 I was wait-listed, which ended up being canceled.  This year I was on the wait-list again, but was eventually invited to join this year’s event, so we are so excited for this opportunity.

It’s always a guessing game going into a show when it comes to what products we should bring to an event like this.  We look at the context of the event and aspects of the area that might help influence our choices.

Not only do we need to think about our collection offerings, we also need to think about the format of these offerings.  How many pieces should we bring?  How many of each piece?  What sizes do we bring?  What colors?  We’ve discovered that what might be super successful for one show isn’t a big hit at a different show.  We’ve really had to find ways to interpret our audience as best we can before we get there.  A perfect example would be of our mini moderns.  At a smaller fair we sold 50 of these pieces.  Yet, at the massive Minnesota State Fair, we only sold a few of these pieces.  Instead, other items were the big hitters.  It’s a bit of a crap shoot, honestly.

Once we have everything built and ready, the task of packing and traveling to an event is the next step.  We have learned a lot about this through trial and error.  We have learned to pack efficiently, and the way we present ourselves at these events has evolved over time.  Our drive this weekend is seven hours one way.  However, the most challenging aspect of the fair this weekend is it’s location.  Due to being downtown and surrounding the Wisconsin State Capitol, we are given a mere 15 minutes to unload everything we need for the fair.  This is something we have never done!  We have to unload a six by twelve trailer and the back of our truck, including our booth walls in that minuscule amount of time.  It sounds impossible, but we are just going for it, hoping that Nathanael and I, as well as our sons Isaac and Lincoln can work together to make it happen!

Art Fairs are integral to a successful year as artists.  We have high hopes for the “Art Fair On The Square” this weekend, as we’ve heard really great things about this event.  We met another artist at the Ann Arbor Art Fair who got into this fair one year and sold out on day 1!  We know that won’t be the case for us, as we always overpack for these events.  But hopefully we will have the right amount of variety that will successfully engage our audience.

The exciting news regarding our decisions for this event is that we are launching more Gatsbys at very large sizes with a more affordable price point.  These pieces will be up to 5 feet long.  We are bringing 4 large originals that are very tedious to create at the higher price point.  We will also be bringing replicas at a much more affordable price point, offered online as well, starting today!  We will have color choices available to choose from, so make sure to check those out at the fair and online.

The “Art Fair On The Square” in Madison is our last art fair until our final one of the year taking place locally.  The Duluth Winter Village will take place in December. I have to admit, I was feeling a little bummed when I thought about the fact that we’re leaving home again for long days at the fair, after having been gone so many days for the Minnesota State Fair.  In that month, we slept only 4 days in our own bed.  Traveling can take a toll on you, especially with family.   Yet, it’s our choice and part of the reality of being in the business we are in.

And there is a great amount of excitement and satisfaction that we get to experience because of it.  In the end, we love what we do and take all the aspects of our business in stride.

When we get home, we’ll be just a few days away from one of our favorite months!  October is the Birthday of our Business and we love celebrating all month long!  We have some really exciting things that we have brainstormed in celebration of our 6th Birthday this year.  We have a limited edition, 11” round Bailey Buildable which we have created, and will be free with a purchase price of $250 or more, in store and online.  We will also have a fun deal when shopping locally at our storefront.  We have created Bailey Builds Mosaic Cash tokens that you can collect the more you spend, and use them as cash towards a Bailey Builds art purchase in Nov. and Dec.  We can’t wait to share and celebrate our journey so far with you!

Thanks for being a part of making our year amazing!

Bringing you the best at Art Fair On The Square

Art Fair On The Square will be celebrating its 63rd year next weekend, September 25th and 26th, and we’ll be there!  Located around the picturesque state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, Art Fair On The Square is an event that fuels the arts in Madison, making it accessible to the community.  This event is an extension of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, which offers experiences to educate and inspire.  They offer free admission year round, providing exhibitions and educational programs.  The museum is toured by over 200,000 guests each year.

As one of the most highly regarded outdoor celebrations of the midwest, Art Fair On The Square will have something for everyone.  While normally taking place in the month of July, we think this free event will be a beautiful time of year to make the trip to Wisconsin’s Capitol.  You can expect nearly 500 artists of all genres, and nearly 200,000 visitors.  Along with paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, handmade clothing and accessories, and fine craft, you will find a fun mix of food, entertainment, and music.  This will be our first year at the event, and we are so excited to be there.

With almost six years under our tool belt, we have been able to glean from the many fairs we have had the privilege to be a part of, our  biggest to date being the Minnesota State Fair this month.  We are so thankful for the helpful feedback from all of you and look forward to bringing you more of your favorite collections in the sizes you crave.  We will be bringing you a variety of sizes, from statement pieces as well as many accessible sizes in your favorite styles and colors.

Throughout our business we have continually pursued, explored, and experimented with the medium of new and reclaimed wood as the vehicle to express our artistic design and inspiration. Our rustic and classic wood mosaic art forged the way as the foundation of our work.  This past year we have been developing a new style that is taking the contemporary art world by storm, and is nothing like the wood mosaic art world has experienced.  We are marrying our traditional design elements with bold clean lines, adding intriguing spherical elements and creating a refreshing Americana feel.

This coming weekend at the Art Fair On The Square we will be bringing you a wide variety of size and color options in the designs you love.  We will have larger pieces added to our Arches Collection.  We will also be bringing you more from the Gatsby Collection, in more of your favorite colors and in all shapes and sizes.

We know that not everyone will be able to make the trip to Wisconsin’s capitol in the heart of downtown Madison.  That is why we will be releasing a limited amount of pieces from these collections online and at our local shop on the opening day of Art On The Square, Saturday morning, September 25th.  As always, we want to thank you for supporting our small business, locally handcrafting all of our artwork in our beautiful port city of Duluth, MN.


The crowds have gone home.  The faint smell of deep fried cheese curds still wafts in the air.  The electricity of so many moving parts and sights have subsided.   Minnesota has gone  back to its normal rhythm, as the reunion of the Great Minnesota Get Together has come to an end for the year of 2021.  Those of us who proudly staked down our tents and our businesses now have the task of breaking down camp and setting forth homeward.

Bailey Builds, as you know, has a bit more of a job to do than merely breaking down a tent.  We will head back down to St. Paul and deconstruct our beautifully designed and executed art studio that housed our art and our livelihood.  As the saying goes, it’s much more fun to pack for a trip than unpack, but we look forward to being akin to the sawdust again, as we fulfill our made to orders and prepare for the rest of the year.

As we set forth to the task ahead, I can’t help but reminisce about the last few weeks of the Bailey Builds adventure.  We did it!  We accomplished something big and new!  We set out to create a true extension of who we are as a business, and represent the true craftsmanship and passion of the Bailey Builds name.

Preparing for such a big and long lasting event was something we had never done.  A lot of it is hoping that your research and  strategy is near the mark, and then going for it in faith that it will all work out.  With the State Fair facing the aftermath of a missed fair in 2020, and the residual intrusion of the pandemic, fair going numbers were markedly down.  Long time fair vendors experienced drastic declines in their revenue as a result.  Yet, the show must go on!  And within the fairground walls, there was this sense of solidarity among us that truly expressed the fighting passion of America’s entrepreneurial spirit.

As a first time Minnesota State Fair vendor, we had no history to go by.  Instead, we put our very best feet forward and embraced the experience as an opportunity to learn, and hopefully grow as a business.  Our team put in countless hours preparing for the event.  We put in overtime crafting our art and carefully boxing it up to make it’s trip to the fairgrounds.  We all spent time working outside our normal positions to create and assemble a beautiful Bailey Builds Art Studio on location, that would be on brand and reflect our detail in design and craftsmanship.  We created a space that fairgoers could enjoy, and would be able to use as a tool to envision our art in their homes.  We put on our brand new Bailey Builds Staff T-shirts and crisp aprons, and met our customers with genuine enthusiasm, ready to be of service.

The result was more than we could have imagined.  We are so honored that we have had the opportunity to be a part of such a great event, which is a capstone of Minnesota tradition.  We are thrilled to be a recipient of a “Best of 2021 Minnesota State Fair” award.  And we have thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and helping you find the perfect piece of art to compliment your space.  We are excited that many of you have joined our email list, so that you can stay up to date on our next adventures, as well as take advantage of early art collection releases and monthly giveaways offered exclusively to our email subscribers.

Anytime you open a new door, whether on a personal level or business level, it most often brings new opportunities and experiences your way.  There are always risks involved, but more often than not, you discover the benefits of exploring new terrain.  Investing in the opportunity to participate in the Minnesota State Fair definitely felt like a risk at times, but we are seeing the benefits unfolding.  Around 50% of the people we met at the fair had never heard of Bailey Builds, and we are so excited to win new customers and friends of Bailey Builds.  We hope that you share pictures of your new art in your space!  We love to see the different ways our handcrafted modern and classic mosaics compliment your homes and businesses.  Share them with us on instagram at #friendsofbaileybuilds.

We are also excited for possible opportunities through the connections and networking that were a result of being fair vendors.  One such fun encounter was meeting a distinguished designer who purchased art, and plans on showing one of his prominent musician clients.  Another is a possible opportunity to create art for a well-known Minnesota brewing company.  While we hope these opportunities come to fruition, we feel blessed to have the privilege to do what we love, and make a living doing it, while supporting our amazing team.  We thank all of you for making this possible!

As the Bailey Builds journey continues on, we exchange our new, crisp fair aprons for our sawdust and spray paint splattered work aprons, while we get on with doing what we love.  Instead of the grandstand music playing in the background, we will work to the rhythm of our chop saws chopping and our nail guns nailing.  We are excited to create your made-to-orders and bring you new collections as we head into fall.  We also look forward to celebrating our 6th Birthday of Bailey Builds in October, with fun things in store as we look back on this epic journey.

What it means to win a Best of 2021 Minnesota State Fair Award

You guys!  We are blown away and so thankful for the great honor of being chosen as a Best of 2021 Minnesota State Fair Award recipient.  This is such a great confirmation that all of our hard work and effort paid off.  We have put countless hours into putting our mark on  the Great Minnesota Get Together experience, and we are thrilled at the amazing response from all of you!

We are risk takers.  We dream big!  We work hard.  We are “all in” kind of people.  These characteristics have always extended into our entrepreneurial spirit.  We are constantly pushing ourselves to problem solve and move beyond any obstacles that come our way. Our preparation for the Minnesota State Fair is a prime example of diving in and giving it our best.

We didn’t want our booth to be ordinary and fleeting.  We wanted it to be on brand, and represent the detail of craftsmanship and design that we strive for in our art work.  This is why we constructed a seemingly permanent residence to house the art that represents  the heart and soul of our business.

For many years, the fair has recognized its most outstanding vendors, and winning a Best of 2021 Minnesota State Fair Award is such an honor.  This accomplishment is a meaningful encouragement that we are meeting our personal goals as entrepreneurs and as a business.  In order to be selected as winners of this esteemed award, we needed to:

1. Provide exceptional, efficient customer service and an outstanding experience for fair guests

2. Provide knowledgeable staff with positive attitudes who are courteous, thoughtful and professional

3. Provide an amazing visual presentation and positive image

4. Present a premium quality product or service

5. Offer great value

These requirements are important and integral components that we strive for as a business outside of the state fair.  We couldn’t begin to accomplish this without the truly amazing team that has come together to embody the Bailey Builds identity and mission as a company who seeks to inspire community through the arts.  Our team’s passion really shines through as they interact with guests and represent Bailey Builds through their talents and investment into our business.

We will carry the memories of this amazing experience with us, as a fuel to keep creating and bringing our guests and customers the unique and personal experience we strive for, through great customer service and fine craftsmanship.  We are thankful for all of our new friends of Bailey Builds, and look forward to sharing our latest news and special offers.  If you haven’t joined our email list yet, make sure to do so!  Each week you’ll have a chance to put your name into a monthly drawing for a special giveaway, only available to our email subscribers.  We would love for you to post your new artwork displayed in your home at #friendsofbaileybuilds on instagram.  We love seeing our vision and hard work displayed beautifully in your space.

The fun is not over yet!  You can still join us at the Great Minnesota Get together through Labor Day, Monday September 6.  Don’t forget to take a picture with our Bailey Builds Art on Stick and get put into a drawing to win a copy of this piece of art.  Our Bailey Builds Minnesota State Fair Studio is located on the South side of Judson Avenue between Liggett and Clough streets, outside the Warner Coliseum.

Monumental Build, Mighty Team: Reflections on Preparing for the Minnesota State Fair

It was Thursday night after one day down, and a week of nearly round the clock preparation for our debut at the Minnesota State Fair.  Nathanael and I, sunburned and exhausted, retreated to my parents couch in the cities.   Trying to keep our eyes open for a few more moments to reflect on this crazy week, we sat amazed at the monumental task we accomplished with our dedicated team.

This year is The snippets on social media don’t come close to representing the exorbitant amount of work it took to get ready for this event.  The spunky reels and playful clips on instagram showcase the genuine camaraderie we have formed with our team.  Yet, they can not begin to tell the story of the long hours of building, problem solving, and  working together to accomplish a goal that was our largest build in the least amount of time.

Many have wondered why we would put so much time and effort into creating a fair booth of its caliber.  It definitely would have been easier to assemble a tent.  Yet, most of you who have been following along on our journey know that the Bailey way of doing things is “all in.”  Presentation is an integral part of any successful product.  Think of our Bailey Builds Studio on location as a beautifully articulated  box, intriguing the beholder to  explore what’s inside.  We believe in the craftsmanship and artistic detail in our art, and we wanted our space to reflect and support our passion and attention to detail, as a backdrop to the art that we daily pour our efforts into creating.

The kind of effort needed to pull this build off in a matter of four days could never have been accomplished without our extraordinary team.  They have poured in their energy and creativity, as well as many extended hours, because they believe in the vision of Bailey Builds.  Our gratitude for them is beyond measure.  We know that we have been blessed to have such dedicated and hard working team members.  We have also been blessed to have our family pull together till the starlight hours to wrap things up.  Our kids have been there to hammer down the last stray nail, and assemble the doorknobs and locks on the beautiful french doors that  will draw you in upon your arrival.  Even Nathanael’s father was there, lending his expertise as a retired contractor.

What has transpired is a space that reflects our value of putting our best feet forward, while showcasing the work that has become our livelihood.  When you enter the Bailey Builds Minnesota State Fair Art Studio, you will be greeted by our awesome team members, and be enveloped in the visual experience of our signature mosaics, both classic and modern, in all shapes and sizes.  We have created a cozy, yet clean lined focal space with our double sided fireplace display.  Both sides give you a great example of displaying our wood mosaic art in your home or business.  We also have a station dedicated to our very popular Bailey Buildables.  There are a plethora of designs and sizes available to purchase and take with you, with our larger pieces to be purchased as made to orders.  You get the satisfaction of picking out your statement piece, with the convenience of having it shipped to your doorstep, all with a special State Fair discount.

We would also like to thank you for supporting our small business.  Without you, we wouldn’t be able to support our family by doing what we love to do!  We can’t wait to meet you at the Great Minnesota Get Together!  Rain or shine, we’ll be here!  Our location is  on the South side of Judson Avenue between Liggett and Clough streets, outside the Warner Coliseum.  For the latest news, check out our stories and feed on Instagram, where you can see a lot of the action and behind the scenes caught on tape.  

See you at the fair!

Join us at the “Great Minnesota Get Together”

I can almost smell the sweet and savory delectables soon to be wafting throughout the MN State Fairgrounds.  The classic indulgence of those melt-in-your-mouth mini donuts.  The larger than life corndogs, or anything fried and on a stick, for that matter!  Ahh, there is so much to see, to experience, and to taste at the fair!  For some of us, it’s a yearly celebration we wouldn’t think of missing!

This year is extra special because it will be the first time that we will be vendors, and we are still pinching ourselves over it!  Instead of just one day of fair-going, we will soak up the whole shabang!  Our team is excited to saturate ourselves with the culture around us, getting to meet you, and also taking moments to enjoy what makes the Minnesota State Fair the largest in the Country.*

It has been quite the adventure assembling our “booth” on location, which is more of a life-sized studio than pop-up.  We’re going with the “all in” approach, and have plans to utilize our design in the future.  We are so thankful for our team member, Matt, who deployed his design skills and vast marketing experience to sketch out and design our booth.  We have spent the whole week assembling the structure and watching it come to life.  Many of our team members have been hard at work in construction mode, while others of us are holding down the fort in Duluth.  I can’t say enough how blessed we are to have such a great team!

Even our family has come to pitch in!  We have had three generations of Bailey men working side by side.  Our sons, Nathanael, and his father have been quite the team, and the memories of this time will be tagged in the catalog of special moments in my heart!  It’s fun to see the cumulation of our skills and experience coming together, complimenting each other.

The Minnesota State Fair is affectionately and famously known as “The Great Minnesota Get Together.”  It marry’s the years and years of history and tradition with the new and out of the ordinary.  -And it’s safe to say that there is truly something for everyone who comes.  I could list all of the events and attractions, but that is something you can easily find on the Minnesota State Fair website.  Instead, I’ll share just a few of my favorites that I’ll be sure to experience while attending the fair this year.

The food is always a staple attraction when going to the fair!  You arrive empty so you can fill up on those calorie extravagant,  guilty pleasures that only come around once a year!  And no matter how many interesting items I choose to eat on a stick, I’ll always make room for Sweet Martha’s Cookies and all you can drink milk.  There’s something magical about a cold cup of milk, washing down a perfectly textured cookie after hours of perusing the fairgrounds.  Is it possible that the milk at the fair is just a little bit sweeter and creamier than normal?  -It sure seems like it!

As a city girl, I love to swing by the Warner Coliseum and Livestock Complex to soak in a little country to balance me out!  It’s fun to cheer on the 4-H  members who have worked so hard to make it to the Fair, and see the horses and other farm animals.  There’s nothing like the soft little snouts of baby lambs and calves, or the shiny feathered hens doing their strut for onlookers.  And if I’m lucky, I’ll catch some of the Western Saddle Club Horse Show.

Another experience that goes hand in hand with a trip to the Minnesota State Fair is enjoying an ice cold craft beer flight, and catching a free concert or two.  With over 900 shows and 100 plus acts, I can’t imagine not finding some to enjoy.  And since I’ll be spending a lot of time at the fair this year, I may have to enjoy another round or two!

As fun as the fair truly is, it can also be overwhelming for many.  For those of us traveling with children and adults that require quiet breaks, I discovered a new attraction for 2021 that I think is an awesome addition.  The Fraser Sensory Building is the perfect place to take a break in a calming atmosphere with Frasier-trained sensory support volunteers.  They will provide guests with tools and techniques to calm their sensory systems, so they can rejoin the fun.  They are located on the west side of Cosgrove Street, south of the Home Improvement Bldg.

Others of us might not be able to get enough action!  To fill your adrenaline rush, the new Riptide is a spectacular roller coaster reaching 55’ high.  With all the ups and downs, twists and turns, it just might make up for the wild rides you missed out on last year.

You could spend countless hours scanning through all the events on the Fair’s website, meticulously planning your route to catch as many sites as possible.  Or, you could show up and let serendipity guide you.  Whatever your style may be, we hope to get the pleasure of meeting you at the Great Minnesota Get Together!  Come visit us at the Bailey Builds booth on the South side of Judson Avenue between Liggett and Clough streets, outside the Warner Coliseum.  For the latest news, check out our stories and feed on Instagram.

*The MN State Fair is the largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance and the second-largest state fair in the United States by total attendance, second to the State Fair of Texas.

Artisan Highlight: Sass and Solder

Cass, one of our favorite people and team member, is the artist behind Sass and Solder.  She makes beautiful and unique stained glass art, and has taken the plunge to launch a business around her passion.

Growing up, Cass remembers wishing she could express herself artistically at the same level as her older sister.  Rather than feeling inferior, it gave her the determination to continue to practice  her skills at drawing.  The real change for her, however, came through her experience in her high school art curriculum.

In 10th grade, Cass felt like the door of art opened through the mentorship of her high school art teacher.  He helped Cass see art as a creative tool to express and process emotions, finding purpose in art as a healing tool.  She learned to let her emotions out and translate that into her work.

Cass started down her art path with the medium of watercolor painting.  She took advantage of all the opportunities at school, experimenting with jewelry making, ceramics, acrylic painting and independent study.  Her entrance into stained glass work started as a Covid Hobby, about a year ago.  It was something she had always wanted to  pursue, but the start-up cost always held her back, as well as a dedicated work space.  Living with the motto that “sometimes you have to make sacrifices to do what you love,” Cass modified her 8×10 bedroom to accommodate her stained glass studio.

Looking back on her beginnings as an artist, there is one piece that stands out to her that became a defining moment of her work and her process.  After an elderly relative of hers was taken advantage of and manipulated into selling drugs, he was arrested, and the news was shocking for her.  In response, and as a way to process the event, Cass painted his mugshot.  It depicted her relative, with hands reaching towards him and text in the background.  And though it was a dark piece, it ended up getting a lot of attention by those who viewed it.  As a result, her piece was displayed at a local coffee shop, which sparked her reputation as a serious artist.

After high school, she had plans to be a vet tech, but the community school she was taking classes with ended up shutting down, resulting in the loss of her credits.  She has also had aspirations to study interior design, but she is taking this time to pursue her other passions and see where they take her.

We have had the great privilege of having Cass on the Bailey Builds Team.  After following along on social media for a couple years, she knew she wanted to do something more fulfilling than her job at the time, and jumped on the opportunity to apply for our internship last summer.  Of course we loved her, and so she joined our team, working with marketing, social media, and store presentation.  Looking to compliment the creative work she was doing with us, she took a job as a logistics manager with another artisan company, Bad Axe Tool Works, which makes custom handcrafted saws.

Ready to turn her love of stained glass into more than just a covid hobby, Cass launched her artisan company “Sass and Solder.”  Her angle with stained glass is to offer pieces of art that move beyond what you traditionally think of, like birds and flowers.  She wants to create pieces that reflect her style and skill, creating designs with a twist, while attracting a new kind of audience to the world of stained glass.

To check out Cass and the work of “Sass and Solder,” visit her instagram account @sassandsolder, which also has a link to her etsy account.  She will also be attending the “Art At The Market” event on September 16th in Duluth.  Cass is also open to custom work and custom colors of her designs, just send her a direct message on her Instagram account.

The MotorTrend Wagoneer Project

We are so excited to be a part of celebrating and promoting the new and upcoming Wagoneer with MotorTrend.  This opportunity has completely amazed us, and we are so excited to be heading to California next week to be a part of the festivities.  We  thought we’d take a moment to tell you about the event and our participation, and answer some of the questions that you all have had.

One of the most asked questions is whether we get a new Wagoneer out of the deal.  Unfortunately, that will not be the case.  I will, however, get to test drive and experience the vehicle first hand.  And from what I’ve seen, it is so sweet!  We will be part of representing MotorTrend and Wagoneer for four days at the most prestigious car show in the world, and we feel so honored.

Let me rewind a bit, and tell you how this all transpired: The night we were driving into the Ann Arbor Art Fair, I was checking my email and found that the head of marketing at MotorTrend had sent a message to our info@baileybuilds email.  At first I was thinking it was most likely spam, but I opened it anyway.  I was so excited at the possibilities of working with them that I could hardly sleep that night.  We set up a Skype meeting with them the day after the Ann Arbor Art Fair, while tearing down our booth.

It’s so funny how they found out about us.  It turns out that one of the employees at MotorTrend has a friend named Anna Bailey.  She was wondering if her friend had started a wood art business when she came across our instagram page.  As she was perusing our content, she fell in love with what she saw and connected with her team at MotorTrend to consider us for their upcoming promotional event for the Wagoneer.  She reached out to ask if we were interested, we said YES, and signed some papers to move forward.

A week later, I designed a mock up for them of the piece that I would create for their event.  I used a collection of pictures of the new Wagoneer, as well as inspiration from the original for my design.  The design incorporates both traditional and modern elements, with original aspects of the front grill, and their signature honeycomb shaping.  The slatted design also depicts the history of the front end of the Wagoneer.  At their request, we inlaid a piece of American Walnut, to represent the trimming wood they use in both the original and new models.  The rising spherical element on the bottom celebrates the fact that, after 30 years, the Wagoneer is making another debut into the market.

Once the design was completed, we replicated it on our laser, and built a demo piece for MotorTrend and Jeep to approve.  They loved it!  So we made 125 pieces for their premiere event.  At that point, our involvement was solely making art for them, but opportunities continued to arise.  We were offered the opportunity to take part in the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and will be flying out as guests of MotorTrend and Wagoneer.  Along with the Wagoneer specific events, we were invited to be guests at another party put on by MotorTrend for Alfa Romeo, a luxury car company, at a local winery.

The signature Wagoneer pieces we designed will be a part of a fireside chat that MotorTrend is putting on about the new Wagoneer, with a panel discussion.  I was asked to be a part of the panel to represent the average consumer, to express my take on their reinvented flagship model, as an everyday mom and entrepreneur who experienced the Wagoneer first hand.  The 125 guests that are invited to this event will be leaving with one of our designed pieces as their take-home gift.

I can’t help but talk about how awesome this new Wagoneer is!  It is the long awaited comeback by so many!  They tout it as being able to drive through up to two feet of water.  You can adjust the height of the vehicle with the air ride system to make hitching to a trailer easier.  There are several screens for navigation and user enjoyment in the premium model.  The aesthetics of the interior and exterior are breathtaking.  It would be the perfect  vehicle for a large family.

Be sure to follow along with our stories during our trip, as we will keep you updated on all the fun.  We fly out on Thursday, Aug. 12 and start the festivities with the Alfa Romeo party by MotorTrend.  Friday will be full of exciting activities I can’t wait to share with you, and Saturday will be the Fireside Chat panel at the car show.  Sunday morning we have tickets to the most epic day of the car show, when they choose the winners and all the cars will be displayed.  And then it’s back to Duluth to continue to get ready for the MN State Fair.  We’ll do our best to share on instagram live and update our stories and feed.  Thank you for coming along with us for this amazing experience!

Artisan Highlight: Acrylic Painter Shawna Gilmore

Viewing Shawna’s paintings is like participating in an experience, taking you to another dimension and invoking a sense of wonder.  Her surrealistic style pulls you from the mundane and envelopes you in a world where the abstract layers of reality make sense, invoking meaning in a fantastical and whimsical way.  The interpretation of her pieces are an invitation to each individual, which is part of the captivating magic.

Shawna grew up enjoying art throughout her childhood, and her raw talent was evident to those around her, as her art work in school would win ribbons at the state fair.  In her first high school art class, her teacher immediately recognized Shawna’s potential, and encouraged her to pursue art more seriously.  It was during this time that she realized she could embrace art as something more.

Shawna’s highschool art teacher made a huge impact in her life, fostering her skills and encouraging her to take advanced placement courses, as well as apply for other opportunities.  She was accepted into a prestigious program that flew her to Colorado to train with professional artists from New York, opening up opportunities that she hadn’t otherwise had.  This experience made her realize her desire to pursue art in college, which led Shawna to study art education at the University of Minnesota in Duluth.  She soon realized, however, that teaching art and creating curriculum was not something that she would enjoy or thrive in.  Though it didn’t feel practical, she decided to follow her heart and pursue a degree in studio art, with an emphasis in drawing and printmaking.

As with so many of us, life happens.  And though much of it is great, it can lead us away from pursuing our passions.  Shawna’s hiatus from art took place after college, working as a secretary while her husband continued his masters degree program.  She was also blessed with motherhood and twins!  Needless to say, her priorities shifted.  Yet, as an artist, she felt the tug to carve out a space for herself in their basement as a deep need to be creative, beyond gardening and cooking.

Though Shawna’s emphasis was in drawing and printmaking, she found herself wanting to paint.  Painting was intimidating in college, and so she gravitated towards her favorite instructor in her discipline.  Yet, she still experimented with incorporating painting into her drawings at times.  Looking back at some of those pieces, she realizes that there was a strong connection of style that she explored then,  relating to what she creates now.

Though, by the end of the day she was exhausted, she would go down to her studio after the kids were in bed and paint for a couple hours.  She started with water based oils, eventually moving to acrylic paint, which she discovered she loved for its fast dry time and ability to edit quickly.

There was always a hope that her art would bring in an income, but it wasn’t until her kids started kindergarten that she pursued it full time, with the encouragement and support of her husband, Eddy.  She tried for quite awhile to make things that she thought people would buy, with her account on Etsy, but nothing would sell.  It took a really long time for her to dial it back and tap into the style that truly interested her, instead of what she assumed would make money.  As she honed in on her technique with acrylic paint, she stopped being afraid and started telling a story through her work, heavily influenced and inspired by her story-like adventure with her children.  Her curiosity and observation of the world around her was reignited and set her down the path that she works and thrives in now.  A great confirmation for her was when her neighbor, who happens to be an avid art collector, came to see her work and bought 3 pieces on the spot.  His support and encouragement fueled her to continue pressing into her style and vision for her work.  She went from hustling to create what she thought the market wanted, to hustling to sell what she enjoys creating, and shifting that priority is what made all the difference.

Shawna describes her work as narrative and surrealistic, with unexpected things in common places.  She loves to insert nature into her pieces because of its restorative and healing qualities to the human mind, which is something that we all need.  Some of the ideas for her collections are fully formed in her mind.  Others are inspired by phrases or funny titles she thinks of,  or images that inspire her to explore deeper.  Her current inspiration is exploring the landscape paintings of classic, master artists, and using a moody black and white palette as her base.  She also loves to create scenes based on a curious thought, such as a space hole in her living room, telling stories through the characters in her paintings.  Her painting process starts as a brainstorming session in adobe photoshop, as a place to organize her thoughts and image placement, guiding the layout of her painting, while limiting trial and error as she paints.

Shawna considers painting as one the restorative practices in her life.  She keeps her balance by setting limits for herself so that it doesn’t overtake her central restorative practice, which is spending time with her family.  She manages this through her commitment to painting while her children are at school, clocking out by five o’clock, and not working on the weekends.  Knowing that multitasking is hard, this allows her to be fully present with her family.

Shawna’s favorite work that she has done are the collections that encompass their own world, such as her “Land of Wonder” and “Mulberry Street” series.  And though she keeps her commissions to a minimum, she enjoyed the entire wall mural that she created for “Love Creamery,” a local, handcrafted ice cream shop in the Lincoln Park District of Duluth.  We are so honored to be able to showcase many of her prints, as well as several original acrylic paintings at our Bailey Builds and Friends Storefront.  She also has a gallery of original paintings at “Amity Coffee” in East Duluth.  Make sure to check out her work the next time you stop by our store, as well as on her website www.shawnagilmore.com  and on facebook, instagram, and pinterest.

Artisan Highlight: The Cozy Hen

Heather remembers baking with her grandma June when she was young. Together they would bake bread while her grandma took care of her. She loved homemade bread, and making bread was a staple activity for her grandma, who was born in 1916. Looking back, it wasn’t that the bread, in and of itself, was that exceptional. It was the process and time spent with her grandma that she looks back on fondly.

Daily home-cooked food and meals around the dinner table was Heather’s way of life growing up. They rarely went out to eat with their one income family. Though she took home economics in school and helped prepare the table at home, her own journey into baking didn’t truly begin until she moved out on her own.

Heather started baking cheesecake to give as gifts, back when the prices of essential ingredients like cream cheese were reasonable. They became her staple Christmas gifts to her husband Matt’s co-workers during the holidays.  She would make them for other people on a casual basis, but the idea of creating a business out of it seemed too daunting, with all of the codes and regulations involved in the food industry. An industrial sized kitchen wasn’t in the agenda or the budget while she homeschooled her four boys.

In the fall of 2017, Heather was presented with the opportunity to share an industrial kitchen owned by a local restaurant in Duluth. With very little investment needed, she began her business “The Cozy Hen.” By the spring of 2019, Heather opened up her own storefront in the Holiday Center of downtown Duluth.

“The Cozy Hen” business was thriving, but her use of the space came to an abrupt end as our country faced the Covid 19 pandemic. Thankfully, she was able to start using another commercial kitchen and, for the last year, though she has not had a storefront, she has been able to make deliveries and provide locations for her customers to pick up their orders, such as with her pop-ups at our Bailey Builds Store and Gallery. Her cheesecake is also on the dessert menu of three local restaurants: Bulldog Pizza, The Lyric Cafe, and The Hammond in Superior.

What drew Heather to the cheesecake business is that it is one of those desserts most people enjoy but don’t typically take the time to make for themselves. It’s one of the only desserts that you can’t make “out of the box.” It requires time and fresh ingredients. The fame of Heather’s cheesecake has spread through word of mouth, and she usually sells out every time she pops up at our gallery. Luckily, you can preorder anytime to make sure you get a hold of your favorite flavors.

Speaking of famed cheesecake flavors, Heather has created some masterpieces! For a very long time, she did not vere from her perfectly perfected vanilla cheesecake. Her stall on flavors was through her experience with others she had tried. The flavor profile always came across to her as over the top and way too sweet, like someone just shoved a candy bar in the center and called it good. If she was going to create flavors, they had to be better than that.  It wasn’t until one of her persistent friends finally convinced her to take a chance. That pesky friend happens to be me!! Heather and I were neighbors for years and have been close friends just as long. It took some convincing, but she finally created the best Turtle cheesecake you’ll ever lay on your tastebuds, per my birthday request.

Heather’s flavors expanded with the request from a customer who wanted to try several flavors to choose for their wedding. She took the challenge, and created a few flavors and combined a slice from each cake and put them together, which is what birthed the very popular sampler cake you can purchase now when one flavor just won’t do.  The Cozy Hen has around 5 flavors available year round, which are the original Vanilla Bean, Turtle, Tiramisu, Lemon, and Eau Claire.  She also has seasonal flavors to look forward to, such has Pumpkin Spice and Eggnog during the holidays. Right now, her summer flavors are Key Lime and Bananas Foster.

If you haven’t had a chance to try one of Heather’s amazing cheesecakes, it needs to be on your bucket list while visiting Duluth! They are full of flavor, yet not overpoweringly sweet. They are scrumptiously creamy, with a delicate texture. Her Cheesecake is the centerpiece of any gathering. Make sure to check out The Cozy Hen on both facebook and instagram @thecozyhen.

Artist Highlight: Tin Cup Design

Jordan remembers her senior year as being the time where she became more aware of who she was becoming and how she wanted to incorporate that into her higher education.  With eyes wide open, full of dreams and ideas, there was a time when she wanted to be an FBI Agent, with a plan to make that happen.  She joined the Airforce ROTC with a scholarship, but ended up being released due to her epilepsy, which didn’t pass the medical criteria.  Looking back, Jordan sees this as a true blessing in disguise.

When her plans needed changing, Jordan decided to take classes in subjects that she loved, which were languages, art, and writing. She even studied abroad in Germany for a year.  Her combined interests, as well as her passion for ministry, led her to major in Writing and German, With an Art Minor.

Her first internship took her to San Francisco to do graphic design.  When she realized that wasn’t the right place for her, she came back to her home town in Duluth, MN to do an art internship with the Duluth Vineyard.  Lead pastor Michael Gatlin had been an art director in his past, which felt like a promise of both worlds to learn and grow in ministry, while also learning a lot about art and graphic design.

The art of Tin Cup Design is a beautiful, multimedia process of layering colors and textured patterns in a collage-like fashion, combining both paper and computer created media.  Jordan uses her large, personally created collection of scanned colors, textures and watercolors, to shape and layer her multi-dimensional imagery through her software program.  The end product is inspiring, capturing moments in time, or an idea in visual form.  Her unique style has been influenced by the art she has grown to love since childhood, like the art of Ezra Jack Keats and his imagery in the childhood classic “The Snowy Day.”  She has alway been intrigued by the way that edges and lines overlap and interact with each other to create interest and meaning, and her own experimentation with that process has helped define her work.

Though it might look different these days, art and ministry are still equally a part of Jordan’s life and purpose.  As her art has grown over the years through her company Tin Cup Design, she balances that with family and ministry.  Jordan looks at her art business as one of many callings in her life, rather than her primary.  She is called to be a wife, mother, homemaker, and be involved in ministry.  Yet, as an artist, she finds inspiration in all aspects of her life.  As mom of two girls, ages 6 and 3, Jordan embraces her time with her kids and the way it causes life to slow down.  Her kids help her see the world in a different way, focusing on the details of nature.  On their walks and trips to the beach, there is this quiet time for looking and observing, taking note of beautiful things, and desiring to recreate that beauty.  You can see the evidence of this quiet yet profound, intricate observation in her art.

Balance can be hard, and it’s important to Jordan that she doesn’t miss those fleeting moments with her kids, even if that means making them a part of the process of her work.  On Mondays, her girls will help her box her artwork to be shipped, and it’s a special time that they can be a part of her business.  Her spouse is a source of encouragement, while also challenging her to move forward and push her to achieve her goals.

A fun way she has found to stretch her creativity is through a creative word exercise with artist Carson Ellis, who started #transmundanetuesdays.  It’s an opportunity to get out of the ordinary, and outside the box.  Through the process of melding a picture story out of assigned random words,  it has given Jordan a desire to pursue  illustrating children’s books.

One of her favorite collaborations has been with Fica coffee, designing their coffee bags while working with people whose hearts are for the same thing.  It always feels rewarding for Jordan to work with other businesses and organizations who are up to really great things, working to make a difference in their communities.

I asked Jordan to share a couple simple pleasures that enrich her life, and these two were at the top of her list:

-Waking up early, having some quiet time alone, and being able to watch her girls come down the stairs in the morning, with their fluffy heads, holding them first thing.

-“Top the Tater” and Potato chips on hand.

We are honored to be able to showcase many of the beautiful images of Tin Cup Design, for sale at our Bailey Builds and Friends shop on Grand Ave.  You can learn more about Jordan and her work on her website at tincupdesignco.com.

Gone to the Dogs? We Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way!

When you think of many of the great classic stories of our youth, there is often a common theme weaved throughout the heart of the story.  Much of our most beloved literature has the commonality of the joy, connection, and even sorrow of the character that makes up its essence. 

Stories like White Fang, Where The Red Fern Grows, Lassie, The Call Of The Wild, and Old Yeller.  All of these examples dig deep into the bond that we share with the most beloved companion for young and old alike.

If you’ve been following along with us for any amount of time, then you know where we stand.  Our dogs are a central part of our lives.  We love them!  We do life with them.  We bring them to work.  In a way, they make up part of the essence of our family and business.  They have been a part of the Bailey Builds storyline since its inception.

Bailey Builds started in our garage behind our house six years ago.  I had left my job of several years, embarking into the great unknown of my own business, not knowing how things would unfold and the direction I would ultimately take.  I had the strong conviction to do what I love.  This was my compass, and I took it where it has led me today.  That first summer, as I explored the possibilities of working with recycled and discarded scraps of wood, it was then that the leader of our pack joined the family. 

Oakley, our Aussiedoodle, was this sweet little ball of brown fur, and just what I needed, more than I really knew.  Shop life has always been a part of his life, and he has been with me every step along the way.

There is a comfort that can not  be replicated from the presence of a canine companion.  They love you no matter what, and their greatest joy is to be by your side.  I can still remember working at my first workbench.  With trial and error I stood at my saw, working out my process for creating the wood mosaics we are known for today.  As I put in long days, trying to check all the boxes as a mom of 4, a wife, and an entrepreneur, I can remember the joy that his presence brought to me, as his little muzzle rested on my sneaker, while he cozied up with sawdust and wood scraps.  I can’t help but smile when I think of this.

While our wood shop still graced what is now the gallery and extended store space at Bailey Builds and Friends Store, we added our Newfie Albert, another priceless addition to our family.  His personality makes us laugh, and life wouldn’t be the same without him.  Our pets are like our children.  It’s so fun to watch them grow and interact with each other, while adding to the dynamic of our family and our business.  I am thankful, as an entrepreneur, that I have the luxury of having them come to work with us.

Just recently, as graduation presents for our two oldest children, we decided to grow our family with the addition of the adorable duo,  Rudy and Raulie.  Our boys have both had a longing for dogs of their own, and these little Brittany Spaniels have quickly filled their hearts, and have brought more fun to the workshop and office.   We have officially ushered in a dog culture at Bailey Builds, with their presence playing a special role in our morale and work flow.

As we’ve grown and have been blessed to add people to our team, it’s been really fun to see how that common connection extends to nearly every one of our staff.  It has definitely become part of the Bailey Builds atmosphere, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  On any given day, if you stopped by our office, there might be visiting dogs lounging around, making themselves at home while their people work.  It’s fun to get to know this side of our team as well.

If you follow along, you are already familiar with Oakley and Albert, and now Rudy and Raulie, as they help showcase our latest creations on social media.  This seems a good time to share some of the best friends in the lives of our awesome, hardworking team.  We are so thankful for each staff member we have, and we can’t help but think that maybe our good luck has something to do with this commonality we all share!  Like a classic book, we hope that the bond we share with the fidos in our lives adds beauty to the essence of our life and work.  Have you hugged your dog today?

The Inspiring Story of Amy, U.S. Veteran and Artisan behind The Minnesota Marshmallow

Amy recalls the event that would shape the course of her life forever.  As she played on her elementary school playground, she remembers the loud and soaring jets above her.  Countless C-130 aircrafts flew over her school, as our Country faced one of its greatest tragedies, testing the hope and resilience of our country and its people.  She will never forget that day on 9/11.  That day, that event, seared in her heart the desire to serve our great Country.

Minnesota born and raised, Amy McMillan comes from a military family, as her dad proudly served in the U.S. Marines.  Her family’s support and encouragement planted a determination and drive to follow her dreams.  By her junior year of high school, Amy signed up for the United States Airforce and officially started her career after her senior year, in August of 2009.

Amy is now just shy of her twelve year mark in the Airforce.  During this time, she has been on the adventure of her life.  She started her training in Texas and Mississippi.  As her entire class was assigned to Italy, she somehow ended up in South Dakota!  Yet, she remembers her time fondly there, as the gateway to embracing all the great midwest outdoor activities, such as hunting, camping, four-wheeling, and even hockey!  After 2 years, Amy transferred to the Buckley Airforce base in Denver, CO.  Again, she submersed herself in the great outdoors, and continued her adventures at a base in Northern California.

After 8 years in, Amy applied to transfer to the 140th Fighter Wing in Duluth, MN, and snapped up the opportunity to find her way closer to home.  Family is an important aspect of her life, and one she doesn’t take for granted.  Throughout her career, they made a way to spend time with her.  Her brother would join her on countless outdoor adventures, and her mom even became a traveling nurse, able to take a job close to Amy while stationed in California.

A monumental time in her career was her seven month deployment in the Middle East being, hands down, one of the best experiences of her life.  From the camaraderie with her fellow team, to the immersion into another culture, she embraced every moment.  Even with her rigorous schedule, she was able to further her education and enjoy her life around her.  It’s the little things that she holds with her, like the amazing people, food, and fresh juice stands.

Coming home to Minnesota was a great reminder of all the beautiful things she missed, like the midwest clouds in the sky, native trees, and even the squirrels scampering about.  With so much time away, she does not take for granted the time she now has to spend with family and friends.  With the past 4 years stationed in Duluth, another dream has been bubbling in her heart that, at its root, is a beautiful way to bring people together to enjoy the simple pleasures of Life.

The Minnesota Marshmallow was born out of her dream to open her own restaurant, with the theme of enjoying the great outdoors together.  She loves all things Minnesota, like campfires and s’mores, which led her to the inspiration to create mouthwatering, celebration worthy, memory making  marshmallows!  After a lot of schematics and brainstorming, with the encouragement of her friends, she decided to get in the kitchen and start creating.  Her marshmallows have become such a hit, as her love of creating new flavors has grown, that she is now moving into a traditional role with the Airforce, and is pursuing her Minnesota Marshmallow Business full time.

When asked what her favorite flavor is to date, she would say her Moose Tracks Marshmallow, inspired by her favorite ice cream.  They are the perfect solution to a sweet craving.  Sea Salt Caramel is another favorite, which she enjoys best over the campfire, as it likens the texture and flavor to that of a creme brulee.  Her top three favorite ways to enjoy her marshmallows are the classic s’more, on top of brownies, and popping them in her mouth straight from the microwave, which she has down to a calculated science!

Amy believes a lot of her success is because of the incredible support of family, friends, and the local and regional small businesses that have come alongside her to coach and support her growing business.

Johnson’s Bakery of Duluth has supported her through the use of their industrial kitchen.  Mike and Jen’s Hot Cocoa has offered great advice and support, as well as countless other businesses offering support and sales of her incredible marshmallows.

If your mouth is watering by now, make sure you come down to Bailey Builds and Friends Storefront Saturday, July 3rd to support Amy in her venture while she does a pop-up in our extended store space.  You can also catch her at the Barkers Island 4th of July event in Superior, WI.  Find out more about Amy and The Minnesota Marshmallow at The Minnesota Marshmallow facebook page.

The Beauty of Functional Art

There is something special about cooking with that beautiful soup ladle that used to be grandmas, or setting the table with hand woven placemats on special occasions.  Each of us can probably pick at least a few items in our home that bring us joy when we use them.  I have a friend who loves special dishes.  Even with four young children, she rarely doled out a plastic cup or plate.  Instead, she continually replaced those broken cereal bowls with dishes she found here and there, because they brought joy to her living space, and to her work of keeping her home.

Since the beginning of time, humankind has been creating beautiful, functional art.  There is beauty in the creation process, and even in the humblest of tools and objects, there can be found a simplistic beauty in its form.  In some of the earliest architecture uncovered from ancient times, we still find remnants of the art and beauty that was integrated into their work and living spaces.  There are beautiful mosaics covering floors and walls, and pottery depicting beautiful scenes of cultures from long ago.  Functional art tells us the story of the people who used them.

The draw to functional art still remains today, and the appreciation of it continues to be embraced.  It is such a part of our culture that we can forget the connection.  I think it’s part of what makes the human race so remarkable.  If you take a moment to look around you, you will most likely find several items in sight that can fall into the category of functional art.  And the beauty of art is that it is subjective in nature.  We all see beauty in different ways.  For some, it might be in the hand drawn sketch on the flower vase in your window; or that handmade artisan basket that holds your favorite throw.  For others, it might be the hand carved salad bowl, or the hand-dyed tea towel.

When I first embarked on my journey to create Bailey Builds, my business centered around functional art through furniture building.  I used wood from pallets and discarded lumber to create furniture that was not only functional, but intriguing to look at.  With wood as my medium, I created chevron patterns and played with color, incorporating different design elements and textures into benches, tables, and the like.  One of the pieces that still gains attraction years later, was my spin on a laundry sorter hidden within a hutch.  It became viral.  I think the fact that it served a much needed purpose in many homes, but was also a beautiful piece of furniture that could accent any living space, made the combination so popular.

Throughout the course of my artisan journey, I landed on what you know today as our Modern and Classic Mosaic Wall art, which was born out of the scraps of the furniture pieces I created, as I strove to utilize as much of the recycled wood as possible.  I love creating these pieces because they add both warmth and intrigue to any space.  It has been fun to come full circle and take the art of our mosaics and marry them with the elements of form and function.  And once again, creating something that both serves a need and is beautiful to look at has proven to be a welcomed addition to our Bailey Builds Collection.

So far our Bailey Builds team has come up with some beautiful designs to make life a little more organized.  We started with coasters and bookmarks.  Our first larger offering was our Classic Mosaic Coat Hook Rack.  Then came our Plant Irrigator Shelf.  Our first Modern Mosaic offering has been our Key Hook Rack, and we’re looking forward to creating other pieces of functional art in the future.

Life is busy.  Adding beautiful tools that make our life easier should be a staple.  They are what make up some of the simple pleasures of life.  Do you have a favorite coffee mug that you’ll reach to the back of the cupboard to find, to savor your morning coffee with?  Or perhaps it’s that new table runner that makes you smile as you set the table for dinner.  Whatever the case, fill your life with the simple pleasure of functional art.  Do you have any ideas for functional art to add to our collection?  Let us know at info@baileybuilds.com.

Join Us For Our Grand Reopening!

Sometimes life gives you lemons.  -Isn’t that the saying?  Well, it’s what you do with those lemons that determine the outcome of your situation.  We’ve been handed our share of lemons with the remodel of our Collective Space, but we’re not going to get too sour about it!

We have loved keeping you updated on our crazy adventures with the Funeral home turned Bailey Builds Workshop, and soon to be new storefront and artist space, also known as the Bailey Builds Collective.  What a wild ride with all our crazy funeral home finds and quirky building elements.  Our business has always embraced the practice of taking something old and discarded, and turning it into something new!  We love to repurpose things, whether wood or buildings, it’s what we do!

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that we are go-getters and visionaries.  We are risk takers and we enjoy where the adventure takes us.  We see  obstacles as an invitation to innovate and discover new routes to get to our destination.  We’ve discovered that sometimes constraints or limited resources bring out a new level of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.  We are entrepreneurs, and we don’t throw in the towel.

Our Bailey Builds Collective is at a bit of a halt at the moment.  While our goal was to get our new store space up and running by June, and then mid summer was our aim, we have some obstacles beyond our control that are stretching out the timeline.  If you’ve ever been involved in building or remodeling, you’ve probably faced similar challenges.  Despite our best efforts, we can not control the permit process and the endless hoops placed before us to jump through.  While it’s frustrating, we’re choosing to take those sour lemons and make some grand lemonade!

Our current store space has served us well, and we love the vibe of our current building.  During this waiting period, we’ve decided to change things up to bring you the best that we can offer, and we’re so excited to share it with you!  Our once woodshop turned gallery space will now house the expansion of our store space.  As we prepared for a seamless transition to The Collective, we have invested in some amazing products for the store.  Instead of staring at boxes of hand picked, hand crafted goods, we are making them available to you now.

We are really blessed to have a seasoned designer of store spaces on our team.  Our team member Matt put his creative expertise to work to design a beautiful, well flowing store expansion that draws you in with its earthy charm, and wide variety of artisan goods.  We’ve expanded our store selection to include more of everything, as well as the addition of textiles, leatherwork, and more.

As you enter the expanded space through the opened french doors off the storefront, you are greeted with 1 ½ story ceilings and fresh sunlight filtering in through the large windows and glass garage door.  It would be easy to revamp an entire space with all the new merchandise.  We have beautiful pottery from several artisans, olive wood kitchenware, and intriguing tea pots.  We have textiles that include hand printed tea towels, soft throws, textured pillows, and woven bags.  We also have hand made leather bags, purses, and dog leashes.  Along with our beautiful selection of handcrafted jewelry, we have many prints available by local artists, and an expansion of Bailey Builds collections.  

We love how things turned out and we can’t wait for you to visit this new space!  In fact, we are so excited that we are throwing a Grand Reopening party on Saturday, June 26, from 10-5. Come and enjoy the new space, as well as the addition of other local vendors.  We have some more exciting things in store, so stay tuned through our social media as more information gets revealed.

Though our plans have changed, we can see the blessings in the delayed timing.  We have so much on our plate for the summer with the addition of the amazing invitation to be a part of the Minnesota State Fair, as well as other festivals this summer.  With all the extra work involved to prepare for these events, expanding our current retail space makes a whole lot of sense!  Join us in celebrating!  We can’t wait to see you there!

The Stone Arch Bridge Festival and the Inspiration of the Arch

On June 19 and 20, we will be participating in the  Stone Arch Bridge Festival in Minneapolis MN.  My curiosity about the event and the area sent me into a little history lesson on the location.  My new appreciation for a piece of Minnesota history helped inspire my new Arches Collection that I will be launching next weekend to the public, online and in person.

The History:

There is a story behind so much around us, and the Stone Arch Bridge is not remiss of its own transformation of purpose.  It was built in 1883 by James J Hills of the Great Northern Railroad, built to carry two tracks to downtown Minneapolis, MN.  In its peak of operation, it brought 80 passengers a day into Union Station.  The construction of the bridge also played an important role in the creation of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.   With its 23 arches, it is one of a kind, spanning across the Mississippi River, below St. Anthony Falls.  The 2100 foot long bridge was fashioned out of granite and limestone, which are native to the area.

As a result of the modernization of transportation, the railroad ceased to provide passenger transportation by the 1970’s.  In 1980, the railroad offered to sell the bridge to the city for a mere $1.  However, the risk seemed too great with the unknown funds it would take to maintain the bridge.  Then, in 1989 Hennepin County bought the bridge for $1,001, banking on it being a potential route for a future light rail system.  Eventually in 1993, the ownership transferred to the state of Minnesota.  With state legislatures at the time being influential in the development of city parks, they utilized a federal grant for reuse of historic transportation structures to convert the bridge to a pedestrian and bicycle path.  This new byway linked the Father Hennepin Bluff Park on the east side of the river with the West River Parkway, and is part of the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park.

The Inspiration:

What is inspiring about this history is that it is a beautiful example of turning something old into something with a new purpose, that brings joy to a wide variety of people.  The bridge is enjoyed by local commuters on foot and bike, as well as nature enthusiasts and tourists, taking in the architecture and sites of the bridge and its beautiful backdrop of the cityscape and Mississippi River.  There is a unique beauty that the swooping arches provide, and have been an artistic draw predating the beautiful architecture of the Roman Empire.  Throughout history, arches have been a dominant design element in an array of architecture, as well as other forms of art.  People are drawn to this element, and many enthusiasts will travel the world to see examples of its strength and beauty.

The Arches Collection:

I am so excited, with the utilization of new equipment in our workshop, that I am able to incorporate this sweeping and beautiful pattern, to contrast and interact with the straight lines of my work.  It opens up a new rhythm to the visual interest in the designs that my team and I are creating, and I am loving it.  It seemed fitting to debut this new collection at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival this coming weekend, June 19 and 20.  I will have a limited offering of arch themed pieces that will go live both online and at the festival on Sat. June 19.

We would love to meet you at the festival!  This year, the festival takes place across the bridge at the West River Parkway.  The event is filled with visual artists, culinary artists, and plenty of food vendors to keep you energized.  The festival will run from 10am to 7pm on Saturday, June 19, and 10am to 5pm on Sunday, June 20.  You can find us at booth 8.  For more information, find the details at stonearchbridgefestival.com.

The Collective Bathroom Project with Brenna: A High School Senior Project

Brenna, a senior just graduating from a local private school, will be headed to Iowa State University in Ames IA this fall to study Architecture and Interior Design.  She has always loved art, design, and space improvement, which has become a catalyst for her future career.  Every senior student from her school is required to do a senior project that is self motivated, with the goal of giving back to the community in some way.  This led Brenna to a project involving the bathroom of our future Collective artist space.

As Brenna considered possible project ideas, she knew she wanted to do something that involved architecture and design, with an emphasis in focusing on improving a space in a way that positively affects mental health.  She thought about redoing a space in a school, or even a homeless shelter. As she explored the options in Duluth, she realized there was a great opportunity to improve a small community space at the Bailey Builds Collective.  As the girlfriend to Lincoln Bailey, she was familiar with the Collective’s goal to create a space for artists in the community, and approached us with her project ideas.  With each student being required to fund their own project, and with a limited amount of work time, the bathroom space was also an area that she could fit into her budget and time constraints.

Brenna had a budget of $200, which helped direct her process for the space.  She did a lot of research beforehand about the best design elements in a space that impact mental health.  She learned  that our moods are unconsciously affected by our environment, and that there are simple ways to create a more healthy atmosphere, which in turn helps people be the best that they can be.  Brenna has always had an interest in psychology as well, and has seen friends struggle with mental health issues.  She wanted to do a project that could positively impact this issue, while complimenting her interest in interior design.

The First thing she noticed in the bathroom was the poor lighting.  The original lighting in the space made it feel dark and dusty, and so better lighting was a top priority in her design.  The wall tile and paint color felt super outdated as well, which she also prioritized into her budget.  She knew that these three elements could transform the space and make the biggest impact with the budget she had to work with.

The first step was to give the bathroom a thorough cleaning, to ensure the surfaces would accept the new paint.  She also contacted our good friend Stephanie Goldfarb, interior designer and founder of The Divine Living Space.  Stephanie shared tips to create a soothing space by using neutral colors for the walls, making them a versatile backdrop for switching out art.  She also said that painting the floor tile would not be a good option for a high traffic space.  Taking these ideas, Brenna headed to the hardware store for paint.  She chose a light gray for the walls, and pure white for the wall tile.

The hardest part was transforming the wall tile.  Removal and replacement was out of her budget and skill set, so she chose to paint them.  This required a good sanding job to the surface of the tile before she painted several coats of high quality, gloss paint in white, to freshen and lighten up the tile.  To add contrast to the floor, she purchased a dark gray floor rug.  After painting the walls and wall tile, she replaced the light fixture with a dark base and a clear globe, creating clean lines and ample lighting.  She also added decorative elements to the room.  To add texture and life to the space, she chose the nurturing elements of a plant with the grounding yet natural element of a marble planter.  She tied this design element in again with a marble soap dispenser.  To tie it all together, she chose some patterned hand towels.

Brenna put her heart into this project and we are so proud of her!  This was the first big design project she has tackled completely on her own.  Even though she feels she may have done some of the process differently, she can look at the finished product and feel satisfied with her accomplishments, with the rewarding feeling of making a difference to a space that others will get to use.  She has a couple tips for others who want to freshen up a space that also lightens the mood.  Her biggest advice is to declutter and get rid of all of the things that make you feel bogged down, which will open up your space.  Color choice is also an important consideration, choosing light colors that make you feel happy and calm.

Thank you, Brenna, for using your talent, time, and resources to bring light and energy to our Bailey Builds Collective!  We can’t wait to see your talent grow in the coming years!

Destination Duluth

Photo from https://www.exploreminnesota.com/profile/visit-duluth/2064

I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say again how much I love my great city.  Duluth is filled with so many great opportunities that make living here truly special. Summer is a truly magical time, so I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the great draws if you’re thinking about making the trip up to the great North Shore.

The artisan community is ever growing and thriving here.  The majority of the products we sell in our store are made by local artists who share a love for this area, which inspires their work.  Our store represents  local hand crafted and painted pottery, such as Burdock Ceramics.  We also have watercolor, block prints, and acrylic paintings and prints, from artists like S.J. Nielsen, Tin Cup Design, Shawna Gilmore, and more.  Various wood crafts beyond our own mosaics include handmade cribbage boards from North Country craft.  We even have the most beautiful hand crafted wood kazoos!  There are many other stores in the area manufacturing their products locally, such as Frost River and Duluth Pack, both making amazing handcrafted packs, bags and other items from canvas and leather.

If the food and beverage experience is top on your list, our city is sprinkled throughout with local delectables.  I love the local food trucks that perch on street corners and squares, especially in the summer.  Some of the most satisfying eats come from these gems on wheels. 

Eateries like The Rambler, with their filling sandwiches and eclectic world fare.  The Chow Haul puts a twist on all your favorite dishes.  If vegan is your delight, look for the blue bus of Mama Roots.  They cook with whole, fresh ingredients from scratch.  And when you have a hankering for ice cream, look for King Of Creams.  These are just a few of many awesome options.  There’s even a live map site, Roaming Hunger, that will show you some of their current locations.

Speaking of food, I love that Duluth is filled with many Breweries and Restaurants that are homegrown and one of a kind!  The list is endless, but I’ll hit on some of our favorites:  The Duluth Grill has amazing dishes, cooked with local and organic ingredients.  For meat lovers, check out OMC Smokehouse.  If you have a hankering for some good pizza, make sure to check out Bulldog Pizza, a local favorite.  For some great places for ice cream treats, check out Love Creamery, Portland Malt Shoppe, and Crank and Dasher.  If you’re drawn by a good home brew, you can pretty much find a local brewery in every part of the city.  There is Fitger’s Brewhouse and Restaurant  Downtown.  Canal Park is the home to Canal Park Brewery, Hoops Brewing, and Vikre Distillery.  Several breweries find their home in west Duluth, close to our store.  For Beer, there is Bent Paddle and Ursa Minor Brewing.  If cider is your thing, there is Duluth Cider and Wild State Cider.  This list is just hitting a few!

There are many local events in Duluth that make a great excuse for scheduling a trip up to our great Zenith City.  As it is with many cities, Covid has put a damper on some of them, but we still have quite a few events to look forward to.  Our most well-known mass garage sale is the one on Park Point.  This year, the Park Point garage sales will be happening on Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12.  This long standing tradition takes place on the longest freshwater sandbar in the world! Just one week after that, Grandma’s Marathon will be taking place, with events happening June 17-19.  People from all over the country come to participate in the full and half marathon, which follows along breathtaking views of Lake Superior.  With this being the 45th Anniversary of Grandma’s, there will be a free, all day celebration on Saturday, June 19th, open to all ages down at Bayfront Park.  There will be five local bands taking the stage.

Another fun and free event that takes place every Wednesday evening in July and August is Concerts On The Pier at the Glensheen Mansion.  You can drive in and park, or you can even pull your boat or kayak up by the pier and listen from the water.  It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful outside grounds of the Glensheen Mansion, while taking in live music and enjoying beverages, locally made ice cream, and food truck cuisine.

The arts and crafts event scene is picking back up this summer, with the Park Point Art Fair on Saturday, June 26, and Art in Bayfront Park happening Friday through Sunday, August 20-22.  More and more events seem to be popping up with health guidelines and regulations loosening, as covid remains under control.  There are many great websites you can visit where you can see a calendar of local events.  Some of these are perfectdayduluth.com, visitduluth.com, and canalpark.com.

One of my favorite parts of Duluth is the vast array of activities that the landscape offers here on the North Shore and in the city of Duluth.  We have some of the state and region’s best parks and trail systems.  Our Lakewalk has been beautifully rebuilt, better than ever, after being severely damaged by rising storm waters.  Both paved and with a boardwalk, you can enjoy the beauty of Lake Superior by foot, bike, scooter, skateboard… you name it!  Take a dip to cool off in several spots, grab a bite to eat, enjoy a locally brewed beverage, or homemade ice cream, all within reach.  This is a fun place to take in the sites and enjoy the great diversity of Duluth. 

We also boast many other bike trails to suit your style.  The Munger runs through West Duluth and extends 70 miles to Hinkley MN.  The Gitchi-Gami Trail is currently over 30 miles of trails between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. 

There are too many mountain bike trails to count!  Duluth has made it a great priority to continue to invest in this athletic activity that submerses you in nature.  The main trail system that extends through the entire city is the Duluth Traverse.  You can catch many other trails as well, such as the ones in Hartley Park, Lester Park, Mission Creek, Piedmont Brewer, Pokegama, and Spirit Mtn.  You can get more information on these trail systems through the COGGS website at coggs.com.  These trails are also great for hiking, and there are many areas that will lead you to parts of the Superior Hiking Trail System.

There is so much more I could tell you about our great city, but here is just a dip into all that Duluth has to offer.  Make sure to check out our Airbnb calendar for our current openings to round out your stay.

Artist Highlight with local watercolor artist Sam J. Nielsen

I wanted to take a moment to highlight a fellow local artist in Duluth MN.  I have enjoyed the different ways we have been able to come together as artists and collaborate on projects, including our latest collaborations of our Mosaic Pins and Stickers.  We enjoyed sharing our stories with one another, discovering many similarities in our journeys along the way.

Sam started out as a music education major, pursuing that for three years.  Since the 5th grade, she always thought that music would be a big part of her career.  It wasn’t till later in college that she started to question her direction.  Having no real formal experience with art, she decided to take a painting class.  After she dipped her toes into that world, she ended up switching schools and changing majors to art education.

Her decision to  head in the education direction felt like a safe option, as she was still exploring her interest and talent as an artist.  She started her career as an art teacher for an alternative high school in MN.  After two years of teaching, trying to juggle that full time job, while also investing time into her personal art, she knew she needed to make some decisions in the direction her career was headed.  She chose to embrace a full time investment in her art, and has been a working artist for three years.

Jumping into art full time, though uncertain, felt like a load off Sam’s shoulders.  Leaving the students from her teaching job was hard, but leaving a classroom setting felt liberating.  It didn’t take long for her to find her groove, which helped her know she was doing the right thing.

Now working from home, with a toddler in tow, there is the realization that in order to make it all work, it is important for her to prioritize the projects she is most excited about, keeping those as her focus.  She has found a way to be fulfilled through intentional decision making, sticking with the projects she is passionate about.  With everything there is a season, and Sam adjusts her schedule by balancing family time and work time.

It’s so fun to see some of the similarities that Sam and I have in our journey as working artists.  I started my career as a teacher as well.  I was an elementary education teacher, with a minor in music.  After I worked as a teacher for a few years, I became a stay at home mom for many years.  My creative outlet as my kids were young was through music, writing songs.  It was a great medium for me to immerse myself in, while raising four kids in my midst.  Both Sam and I felt called to the city of Duluth, along with our spouses, and have made this great city our home.

Once my children were all in school, I took a job as the music director at a local church.  I worked in this position for almost 8 years before making the decision to make a living through doing the things I love to do.  It started out as a multifaceted venture, through music, building, and writing.  Eventually, what rose to the surface and really took off was the building.  I started out building furniture, which evolved into the mosaics that we do now.

Venturing into the art world and coming to the realization that it can be a viable way to create an income is quite an amazing moment.  For me, it was the first time I started making a profit at a local arts and crafts show.  For Sam, it was starting to share her art on social media, and experiencing the positive responses from people.  As she started to share more and more, she began to get inquiries for purchasing her art, which led to her career as a full time artist.  She started small with an etsy shop, and things grew over time.

One of the early artistic decisions Sam made in the beginning of her career was the commitment to share one sketch a day on instagram for an entire year.  It became one of the most pivotal points of her business, as a genuine longing to get better and grow as an artist.  It has given her a tangible thing to look back on as she progresses in her art.  Choosing to see the process from the perspective of an onlooker helps motivate and inspire her.

Sam has enjoyed the journey and where it has taken her.  Currently, it has been the process of her art that has brought her joy, especially after the fog of becoming a mom.

As her priorities have shifted, she has realized the importance of making room for time to embrace the creative process, so that it doesn’t always feel like work. The start of creating Collections of art  was a real concrete way for her to provide herself focus, and also the freedom to express her art in the way she desires.  Her faith is also important to her and helps guide her, helping her find meaning in what she does, while creating intentionality.

For me, a breath of fresh air and new inspiration was the introduction of my Modern Mosaics.  It was such a needed shift in my creative space, to re explore the medium I work with and take it to a new level.  As innovation being one of my strengths, I thrive when I’m trying new things, while also giving myself boundaries to push the creative process.  The great part about taking the risk to diversify your art is that you end up expanding and diversifying your audience and clientele at the same time.

One of the great opportunities while being involved and making connections within your artist community, is the opportunity to collaborate.  Sam and I have been able to collaborate several times, with our latest being our enamel mosaic pins and vinyl stickers.  Sam worked through the creative process of making her own pin collection of her work.  They are so beautiful and unique, and gave me the idea to collaborate with her in the creation of pins designed after some of our favorite mosaic pieces. 

They are so mind blowing, and so cute in person.  It’s so fun to see how someone can take your work and manipulate it into something different and beautiful in a new form.  Our new installment of stickers from Sam are so fun, and we are thrilled to share those with you as well.  You can find them for purchase both in our local shop and online.

I had a great conversation with Sam that you can check out on our Instagram TV. Also, make sure to check out her beautiful work on her Instagram @sj_nielsen.

Funeral Home Finds

What we Have Found in the Walls and Ceilings so Far!

It’s been really fun going through, what we have coined, our Funeral Home Finds!  Most of the items have been uncovered during the demolition of interior walls.  We have filled up an entire box of peculiar items.  When we first took over the building, we had discovered many left behind objects used for the business of funeral homes, and many of those were a bit creepy.  Some of the oddity behind these new items, is the fact that they were, for some reason, buried within walls or in the rafters.  This has made our renovation process quite fun, wondering what we might find next.

When we purchased and renovated the old Texaco gas station, which houses our Gallery, Store, and Airbnb, Nathanael coined the phrase, “What once fueled cars, now fuels the arts.”  And this phrase has stuck, because it’s so true!  Our new building was originally two homes that were attached together and added onto to create the funeral home.  Nathanael thinks the slogan for the Collective should be… “We’re putting the home back in funeral home.”  -I don’t get it.  He tried to explain it to me, but it still doesn’t make sense!

Isaac pulling old newspaper articles from the ceiling.

Many of the walls that we have gutted were part of the very original buildings that got walled over.  We love the story behind things, and Nathanael especially loves finding items that capture a time period.  Many of these items take you back to the early 1900’s, which is pretty neat.  Behind the wall of the old bathroom, we found the paper packaging for an original Edison light bulb.  We also discovered an old newspaper article from 1931, with an ad for the all new and improved, automatic clothes washer, with a drawing of the model.  In the ceiling we found old linoleum dating from that era as well. In the ceiling of the basement, we discovered a stainless steel dish, with surgical type instruments inside.  -That definitely hit the creepy meter, and we did a live instagram on that, which you can find on our page @annabaileyart.

Many different glass bottles were found, and  a few could still be traced to their origins.   One such bottle was an old whisky bottle, with it’s packaging still intact.  An old glass medicine bottle from the old Mesabe Dispensary, with the medication label attached was found, and pill boxes from that same era.  We found a prescription pill box, made of just a little cardboard box, dated November of 1929. Even old tins of balm, with balm still inside, were discovered.  The worst of the finds were old black and white snapshots of scantily clad women in the ceiling, which we’re guessing were probably meant to be hidden!

There were some items that we couldn’t even figure out what they were used for.  One such item was a peculiar, cylindrical metal piece with a lid that comes off.  It looks like it may have been a cigarette holder, but we’re not sure.  There were even decades old cough drops, still in their sleeve, and I dared Nathanael to try one!  -So of course he did!  Gross!  It was crunchy, yet cough drop like!

These finds were fun, because they dated back before the funeral home came to be, and were left in the walls when the two homes were adjoined to create the funeral home business.  The curious, inquisitive part of us that appreciates the nostalgia of it all, enjoys the discovery of these finds as a perk to the dirty process of turning something old into something new.  As we transform this building into its new purpose as the Bailey Builds Collective, we can’t help but appreciate the history in the journey.

Check out our recorded chats about all the funeral home finds on our instagram tv, on our page @annabaileyart. Be sure to check out all of the photos of our team and their finds below!

Morgan with a “Straight Kentucky Whiskey” glass bottle.
Matt with an old matchbox.
Isaac with a box of matches. He picked it because it was “lit”
Cass with a mystery item. We have a hunch it’s a cigarette holder.

These finds were fun, because they dated back before the funeral home came to be, and were left in the walls when the two homes were adjoined to create the funeral home business.  The curious, inquisitive part of us that appreciates the nostalgia of it all, enjoys the discovery of these finds as a perk to the dirty process of turning something old into something new.  As we transform this building into its new purpose as the Bailey Builds Collective, we can’t help but appreciate the history in the journey.

Keri with a bag of toe tags. Nathanael with a stainless steel dish with surgical type instruments inside. Alex with a Fitger’s GingerAle bottle cap. Check out our recorded chats about all the funeral home finds on our instagram tv, on our page @annabaileyart.

Discover the Duluth Maker’s Loft

A Hidden Gem in West Duluth

Nestled above our current brick and mortar store on Grand Ave. is what we call The Makers Loft.  It is our cozy little oasis, available to rent through Airbnb.  People come for vacation and business trips.  They come for the abundance of local hiking and bike trails, as well as for our local breweries and artisan goods.

When we first purchased the old Texaco gas station for our workshop on the corner of 58th and Grand, we knew at first glance that the apartment above it could transform into the perfect getaway spot for those looking for a private place to stay, in the westside downtown district of our great Zenith City, Duluth MN.  Inspired by this beautiful transformation, Nathanael coined the quote: “Gas station turned arts haven. What once fueled cars, now fuels the local arts culture.”

We have a unique and charming stay for those who both love to create a one-of-a-kind getaway, and love to support the local artisan culture that is vibrant in the Twin Ports.  The Bailey Builds Makers Loft is furnished with some of our favorite local artists.  Not only can you enjoy being surrounded by hand picked art, but you can also purchase the pieces that you like!  We have made it so easy to purchase beautiful local art, all from the comfort of your room.  Cozy up with a blanket in front of our electric fireplace, and let your eyes do the shopping.  And for more choices, head down to our store below you, stocked with a vast array of local and regional artisan goods, and a strong collection of our Bailey Builds mosaic art as well.  Though our store will be moving just down the road this summer, the gallery below will still be filled with the many wood mosaic styles that have shaped the image of Bailey Builds.  And this space is also available as a venue for events of all kinds.

We have many great artisans represented in the Makers Loft.  There are handcrafted pottery and indulgent, hand poured candles, as well as beautiful journals and glass blown magnets.  Along with our mosaics and mossy loves, we also have beautiful watercolor and acrylic artists represented in our space.  One of our featured local artists is known around the country and other parts of the world for her whimsical and multi-dimensional acrylic paintings.  You can spot Shawna Gilmore’s work quickly, as she playfully intertwines nature and people to create another world that yearns to be both explored and thoughtfully analysed for personal introspection.  Her fairytale esque work appeals to a vast array of people of all ages.  And her quirky and smart humor ties it all together with her perfect titles and captions.  This is just one example of what makes up your truly exceptional experience when you stay at our Bailey Builds Makers Loft.

It has been a privilege to see people coming from all over the country, and have chosen to stay in our airbnb.  In the foyer of our space we have created a memory board for our guests to sign and share their experiences.  We have loved hearing about what others have to say of their time in our Duluth’s Makers Loft.  Here are just a few examples of our reviews online:

“Thank you for a wonderful stay full of warmth, character, style, and genuine care!”

McKenna, April 2021

“This loft was such a charming and cozy place to stay! It was beautifully decorated and arranged perfectly. We felt at home immediately! Such a wonderful experience, would definitely visit again!”

Andrea, February 2021

“We loved this place! It was the perfect weekend getaway. The place was cozy and fully equipped with everything we needed. The decor was very tasteful and I love that it was mostly all local art. We would most definitely stay here again!”

Hannah, February 2021

“Great place to get away from the cities to enjoy some one on one time! With all the great places that have opened up in West Duluth this place is close by those small businesses to support. Loved all the detail in the loft and the options to purchase the art. The personal touches were great and made you feel like you are welcomed.”

Melissa, February 2021

“Spectacular space, this is a gorgeous loft with magnificent hosts! When I first stumbled upon this listing, it seemed almost too good to be true. There must be a catch! But everything was as perfect as it seemed, even better. A & N are the most thoughtful, gracious hosts. Their artwork is phenomenal. Although the weather may have been cold, the hospitality couldn’t be warmer. Thank you for sharing this extraordinary loft and making me feel right at home, I highly highly recommend staying here.”

Elizabeth, January 2021

“This was such a lovely place to stay in Duluth for Christmas weekend. The space is comfortable, safe, and decorated thoughtfully. We were hesitant to stay away from home 

during COVID but the loft was clearly deep cleaned and caused no reason for concern. Would recommend it to anyone!”

Leen, December 2020

If you would like more information about our unique and inviting space, check us out on Airbnb under: The Duluth Maker’s Loft, Duluth MN.  If you would like more information about renting our Gallery space for your next event, residing in the same building as our Loft, email us at gallery@baileybuilds.com.

Facing Hardship as Ultimate Optimists and Advice For Others

“Finding Fire” podcast recap Part 3

Bailey Builds is a group of people passionate about art and community, inspiring community through art.  We make mosaics out of new and reclaimed wood.  We have a storefront, a website, a blog.  We own a couple buildings, including an Airbnb and an Event space.  Our newest building is the funeral home that we are transforming into the Bailey Builds Collective, housing our workshop, future store, and artist collective. We have more dreams on the horizon.

As Entrepreneurs, we’ve had our share of hurdles.

Hardships can be expected along the way as entrepreneurs.  It’s just not something you can totally escape.  A universal hardship can often be in the category of finance when you’re trying to run a business.  It’s hard to be an entrepreneur, filled with all the ideas you have and want to pursue, but not have the finances to back them up.  There’s so much opportunity out there, but you have to decide which opportunities are right for your business.  You want to pick and choose, making sure you aren’t diluting your business to the point that it doesn’t line up with your vision and goals.  We’ve had to  deal with many decisions on direction and investment along the way.

As ultimate optimists, it’s hard to see dead ends.  We usually can find the gold or silver lining in every hardship.  We’ll hit a wall with construction or a plan that we’re headed towards, and we look for ways to innovate when things aren’t working.  A perfect example is the funeral home purchase.  We saw that the building had a pending sale, and we still felt like we should pursue it.  And we own the funeral home turned Bailey Builds Collective now.

Every roadblock or hardship that comes  is an opportunity to grow and innovate.  I believe that innovation is one of the strengths of our business.  In 2020, during the pandemic, our business grew.  It’s hard sharing that, as so many businesses faced so much hardship.  We were blessed to be able to use our strengths in innovation, which allowed us to grow.  Our ability to innovate is fueled by our faith.  We believe that whatever we do, if we’re doing it with the right intentions, that it will work out.  We’ve always believed this, and we started our marriage with this perspective.  We know that Bailey Builds is not the ultimate for us.  If it fails, we believe another door will open.  We’re always willing to move forward to the next thing.  If we don’t take risks, we lose the opportunity to learn things along the way.

If Nathanael and I had to claim a “Super Power” for each of us, here’s what we came up with:  Nathanael said that mine is my big ideas.  Once he said that, I realized that was definitely true.  I have big ideas for our business, and I’m not afraid to move into them.  I believe Nathanael’s “Super Power” is attention to detail.  I have these  amazing, creative, innovative ideas, and Nathanael takes them and makes them perfect.  We make a great pair, working together in all the stages of production, from concept to final product.

If we could give advice to others who are on the edge of pursuing their passion, the question we would ask you to think about is, “What’s your why?”  If your “why” is on point, that is what your motivation is always going to go back to.  To be honest, if your “why” is about you and what you’re going to gain and what a difference you’re going to make, then it’s probably not going to work out. Maybe I’m wrong, but I know that it wouldn’t work for me.  If my motivation was me, then it would be a travesty.  It would be a disaster.  So, figure out what your “why” is, make sure it’s on point, make sure you’re headed in the right direction, and then trust it with your gut and move forward.  For Nathanael, it’s making sure you have a community of friends and like minded people  that you can rely on and lean on, living out the “one hand forward, one hand back” mentality.

Find someone that you can follow along that’s a little bit ahead of you and has knowledge and experience that you can glean off of.  Likewise, invest in people that are starting off a little behind where you are at.  Having the right motivation and a good community of support are two important elements in a good foundation for your business.

If you’d like to learn more about the flavor of Bailey Builds, take a peak around our website, and visit us on our Bailey Builds Facebook and on instagram @annabaileyart.  If you’d like to listen to our podcast with “Finding Fire” in their episode titled: Faith, Passion and Entrepreneurship With Bailey Builds,” which aired on April 12, 2021, check it out here:

Simple Tips For Your Home Refresh

Let the Spring Cleaning Commence

The invigorating air of Spring is upon us, and that always invokes the urge to purge!  This is a great time of year to freshen up your home, and make it feel new again.  We have simple ideas to change things up, and make you fall in love with your space once again.


Sometimes it’s hard to know where to even start! It can be a daunting task, looking around in your home and wondering which room to have at it! A good tip is to take a look around you, and see if there are items that need to be put away in their spaces. Maybe you also have some outdated things displayed in your focal points that need to be put away for the season. If you still have Old Saint Nick sitting on the mantle, it’s time for him to head to the North Pole for a few months!

Also, look for areas that become cluttered due to busyness. I can’t tell you how many spots I find a stack of junk mail, mismatched socks, or change from my pocket. If you have kids, make it a team effort! I know that sometimes it’s just easier to do it ourselves, but make a game or incentive out of it! A trip out for ice cream, after a job well done can be just the bonus your people we’ll work hard for! And let’s be real, a little incentive for ourselves does wonders! After all, clearing the clutter makes room for the new!

If any of you are like me, I tend to freeze at the sight of the job ahead of me. I have found there are a couple ways to go about it. Either, you take it room by room and complete all the steps, or you go through your entire space and complete a single step at a time. The latter may work better for those of us without young kids. Perhaps, the accomplishment of a single room will spur us on to continue. I think it’s a personal take on what works best and is most fulfilling for you! I tend to change things up based on my mood that day, or the severity of the mess that I find myself in! One thing I’ve learned the long way, is that if I don’t get down to the root of the organization problems, any tidying up I do doesn’t last very long. If you find you have spaces like this, such as your entryway, maybe it’s time to reconsider your storage needs.

The Fun Part: Refresh!

Now that you’ve finished the hard stuff, sit back and relax with your favorite latte and reimagine your space a little! I’m not talking about big, expensive changes. I’m talking about the little things that make you smile. With all that clean surface area, cleared and tidy, take note of the spots in your space that your eyes are drawn to. These are the areas to add a splash of something new.  

Something that I have realized brings me joy throughout the day is fresh flowers. Every time I pass by and see that beautiful splash of color, I smile and take a deep breath, at least on the inside. So every couple weeks, I set aside a few bucks to buy a cheap bouquet when I’m out running errands. I keep a few sprigs on the dining room table, as well as in my bedroom. Whether I’m running around getting dinner ready, or settling in for the night, I am personally refreshed by their presence in my space.

Deep Clean:

Once you get the decluttering out of the way, the next step is a good cleaning! Though not always the most fun task, it most always proves to be rewarding. I like to start with the areas that make the biggest impact! A big one for me, is the windows! It doesn’t take long for those picture windows facing the road to be slobbered up by my excited pups, keeping track of the neighborhood. I never realize how filthy they really are, until they are sparkling clear! This one thing changes my outlook on that space so much. Another area of great impact is the flooring and upholstery! I recently purchased one of those small upholstery and area rug cleaners. After three years with our couch, my family of kids and pets have taken quite a toll on it. I cannot tell you how equally amazed and horrified I was at the chocolate milk like water that seemed to endlessly release from the fabric! I feel like I have a brand new couch! This is a sure way to fall in love with your space all over again!

Another simple yet effective way to change things up is by replacing your old pillows and throws with new ones.  Playing with new colors, textures, and patterns can make a profound impact on making your space feel new and fresh. And speaking of texture, mingling different textures together is a great way to add interest to your space. A simple, thought out arrangement for your table is a perfect example. I love the way the soft and colorful, multi-textured flowers come together with the clean lines of a vase, while being grounded by another contrasting yet complementary texture of a table runner or earthy trivet.

I hope these tips or reminders give way to some inspiration for changing things up in your space!  We have a lot of great Bailey Builds items in our shop and online to liven things up.  Our freestanding minis from our “Modern Mosaic” collection are a great compliment to counters, shelving, mantels, desks, etc.  We also have created coasters and planter boxes that add texture and interest.  Stop by our storefront, Bailey Builds and Friends, or shop online.  Here’s to a happy home refresh!