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.