As is often the case, we don’t fully understand what we are walking into until it starts to slowly reveal itself to us. We can however start to catch themes, ideas, and purpose the longer we embrace the journey.
We knew this summer trip was focused on artists and nature. Bringing our kids along was going to provide an outlet for our intentional parenting plans of providing space for the kids to roam free in woods and on shores, in prairies and along creeks. To help them explore the real world outside of the urban concrete landscape. Those things absolutely happened.
What we know to be true but lost sight of in the daily grind of our lives was how relationships play a central role in all things we do. In the art that is created, the places that get explored, and how shared or common experiences build, strengthen and exemplify relationships.
These trips have a way of reconnecting Kat and I who, though this is our project together, find ourselves not having a lot of time to just hang out. On trips like this, we get long hours to talk about all the things. To move past pleasantries and get to the heart of our pain and joy. To dream and scheme and process our art, life and the multiple roles we play.
Our kids are given this unique opportunity to build their relationships with one another. They have a friendship that is built on hunting adventure and exploring unknown worlds together.
Relationship was a driving force for all the artists we interviewed during this time. Each of them individually were holding relationships as sacred in the center of all the work they do. Relationship between humanity and the world around them. Relationships with friends and strangers. Building stronger community founded on the bonds of relationships. Relationships between artist and trade tools. With each person we interviewed, their work is the vehicle to connect more with people.
While we would love to claim we knew what we would find as a central theme of this trip, I love that it slowly unveiled itself to us.
Maybe artists are simply kindred hearts in the way we search for relationships in all things.
We found it with an architect whose purpose is to bring the natural world front and center in his designs. It is the relationship between human and environment that is the start of his process of creating a dwelling place. It comes not from convenience, but our need to be connected, in relationship with the earth and ourselves.
Then with a magical creature who fills his north shore store with beauty as his invitation to connect with humanity and create relationships. His storefront serves as the space where mystery of the human heart and its creative expression thrive. His truth of life that “who you are being is more important than what you are doing” rings true for every encounter he has no matter who walks through the door.
We met the director of a craft school tucked right on the water’s edge in the middle of a downtown, the heart of this place is to come back to our relationship with craft. To not just build, but to give our hands an opportunity to discover the depth of skill that can’t be known in a simple purchase. The relationship between art, history, skill, and the abundant potential of our minds and spirits to create with nature something that didn’t exist before.
Finally a photographer turned creative mainstreet shop owner and timber frame tiny house builder. Bearing witness to his relationship with his creative self, his family, his employees and his gift. The value of relationship sits as the foundation of how he steers his life and listens to his muse.
Gatherhaus’s North Shore trip was unexpectedly magical. We drove through Duluth, to Grand Marais, and through the iron range. Then we traveled south to continue our exploration of our beloved state. We picnicked, we played, we hiked through the woods and sat around fires. We met incredible folks doing soul defining work, taking risks to be their fully, whole creative self. They honor the heartbeat of life, Relationship.
Over the next month, we will be highlighting these artists and their stories here at Gatherhaus. Make sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss out!