North Dakota Makers Movement Gaining Steam
More artists putting their do-it-yourself skills to work making unique pieces
Art truly is in the eye of the beholder. A new movement is taking hold in North Dakota, one that's been around for a long time but is growing in popularity. The Makers Movement, as it's called, is art for the masses created by the do-it-yourselfer who finds unique charm in many nontraditional mediums. Consider the following artists, including Tama Smith of Prairie Fire Pottery (above), who are bringing locally produced art to the mainstream:
What would Eddie Van Halen think of Beau Theige? What would anyone think of a man making custom guitars out of ordinary items like pots and pans, license plates, spoons and bolts and barnwood? Hey, there must be a market because Theige has been building and selling his homemade guitars from his garage for two years. He has shipped them as far as Australia and the United Kingdom. Theige recently was selected by the North Dakota Art Gallery Association as featured artist in eight galleries across the state in 2017-18. Check him out his website.
Jon Offutt is a glassblower in Fargo. His studio House of Mulciber is fittingly named after the Roman god of fire. Offutt took up the medium that involves inflating molten glass 35 years ago. His works now include landscape vessels, ornaments and some larger pieces. His landscape vessels are infused with ingredients that affects their natural imagery. Offutt's works can be found at Gallery 4, Ltd. and Reed & Taylor Antiques in Fargo.
Nicole Gagner of Bismarck has turned her childhood hobby into a successful business. Her artworks are selling on etsy.com. Gagner has been inspired by her home state and has been creating a variety of fine arts from oil paintings to watercolors and jewelry. Her creations are inspired by everyday life. Gagner's work regular shows and sells in the Bismarck Downtown Art Cooperative and the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association.
A college bet is paying off in a big way for artist and metalsmith Dave Badman. As a college student, he bet a friend that he could run a jewelry business, and almost 30 years later, Badman Designs is still turning out unique ornaments, artwork and sculptures. All of his handmade one-of-a-kind pieces can be seen at his gallery in downtown Grand Forks.
North Dakota artist and potter Tama Smith has been turning out hand-crafted North Dakota pottery from her business, Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach, since 1995. Smith, whose works have been exhibited in major markets of New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Seattle, uses a variety of techniques primarily in stoneware clay.