Clockwise from top left: Marvin Freitas, Mod Dog (John & Kari Finkler), Louise Gray (Alexandra Gray Bennet & Jocelin Johnson), Oh Dier (William & Katie Dohman). Photos courtesy of West Elm
“Maker culture” continues to boom in Minnesota, infusing our selection of home goods, furnishings, and accessories with innovation and a distinctive approach to style that demonstrates just how resourceful and artistic our local creatives really are.
Minneapolis fabric artists Alexandra Gray Bennet and Jocelin Johnson of Louise Gray design contemporary, all-cotton quilts with bold graphic designs that make minimalism cozy. Furniture designer Marvin Freitas, and the couple behind Oh Dier (William & Katie Dohman), up-cycle and transform wood into simple objects at once functional and aesthetically pleasing. And the Mod-Dog team (John & Kari Finkler) personalizes images of beloved family pets and iconic shapes held dear by Minnesotans into customized modern silhouettes and meticulously hand-gilded prints.
In other words, the home furnishings imagined and realized by these designers are nothing less than works of art. They’ll be right at home when the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) and West Elm (the Brooklyn-based home furnishings retailer) debut the pop-up shop, West Elm LOCAL, at The Store at Mia. The pop-up runs from Thursday, February 4, to Sunday, May 29.
The shop-within-The Store was also curated to complement Mia’s “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now” exhibition, on view February 18 through May 29, which Mia describes as offering “a snapshot of contemporary art that examines the ways in which people innovate with materials old and new to engage deeply with issues relevant to our times.”
The delightful home furnishings available for purchase at the pop-up promise to be no less engaging. In addition to products by four local artisans, the pop-up includes 10 additional makers and products from across the United States. They include Eric Trine’s furniture and home accessories fabricated from metal, wood, leather, wool (Long Beach, CA); ceramics by BDB (Re Jin Lee, Brooklyn, NY), M.F.E.O.’s legacy wood home furnishings (Aaron & Claire Van Holland, Los Angeles, CA), and Monroe Trades’ industrial style coffee tables and end tables constructed from industrial pipes and distressed wood (Patrick Glynn, Brooklyn, NY).
Also in the store will be leather goods by Bubo Handmade (Kristen Faircloth, Nashville, TN); BirdProject soaps that benefit environmental projects by Goods That Matter (Tippy Tippens, New Orleans, LA) and goat soap by Little Seed Farm (Eileen & James Ray, Lebanon, TN); Happy Habitat’s recycled cotton throws (Karrie Kaneda, Kansas City, MO) and Hemlock and Heather’s recycled wall hangings (Kristopher & Kelley Denby, Austin, TX); and Molly M Designs’ laser cut prints (Molly McGrath, San Francisco, CA).
In 2014, West Elm launched its West Elm LOCAL program to support small, homegrown businesses across North America. Today, West Elm LOCAL boasts more than 500 companies on its list. “Our partnership with The Store at Mia provides museum visitors a chance to discover local American talent while extending the platform for these 14 local makers to share their stories,” explained Mo Mullen, director of West Elm LOCAL, in a press release.
Added Hunter Wright, Venture Innovation Director at Mia, “The Store at Mia’s partnership with West Elm LOCAL highlights a shared dedication to celebrating local artisans, makers and designers from Minnesota and across America by showcasing their unique stories and product collections.”
The Store at Mia + West Elm LOCAL will open during museum hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 10-5, Thursday and Friday 10-9, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 11-5.
By Camille LeFevre