Our Modern Market series looks to highlight some of the best makers and artists from the Twin Cities and beyond. Each one of our vendors embody the Midwest’s unique take on modern living. These artisans are woodworkers, jewelry designers, leather workers, culinary artists and graphic designers.
Stangler Works is a master craftsman specializing in smart, simple, beautiful objects. Each piece, whether it be a bed or a ping-pong paddle, carries with it the same high attention to detail and the same simple beauty. We were so happy to have them be a part of the market and to tell their story.
Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background?
A Minnesota native, I have a degree in furniture design from MCAD. I interned and later worked at BDDW in New York and did restaurant consulting and builds in Montana and in the Twin Cities. Eventually I returned home to Minneapolis, spent some time working with Christopher Dela Pole at Squared Furniture, and for eleven years have been working as Stangler Works.
Tell us more about Stangler Works, what’s the origin of the brand?
Stangler Works’ focus is on custom furniture. We like honest, smart, simple design. We value relationships, collaboration, growth, and designing good objects for good living. Every object we create is made with the intention that it can be a ‘forever’ piece. There have been a rash of ‘forever tables’ sent out into the world this year.
How do you go about creating new woodworking pieces and constantly come up with new ideas?
I do my best work in response to a need. Clients ask for things that are missing in their homes or their lives, and that offers a starting point for many of my designs. Also, I’ve got a good muse. She challenges me, and we are doing more collaboration in the studio. We’re moving into a new place soon, and I’m excited for us to create some custom pieces for our own home.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Inspiration is everywhere. I’m inspired at our cabin when I come across chunks of wood that are utilitarian, but also beautiful. I’m inspired walking down the aisles at Home Depot, challenging myself to make magic from the most commonplace materials. I’m inspired when I’m working in my studio and am forced to discover ways to build things more efficiently and elegantly. I’m inspired moving from region to region and through my travels, experiencing how people live differently, but simply and well. I’m inspired by Liz, who sends me a hundred images a day saying, “Let’s make this. But better.”
What makes the Midwest, and specifically Minnesota, unique for woodworkers?
The Midwest is home to cheap rent, and we are close to many natural resources, especially useful for someone who works with wood. The Twin Cities has a thriving design community that offers a lot of support and inspiration among furniture designers.
What makes shopping local special?
Shopping locally give you the opportunity to support someone who lives and works in your area. You’re getting something influenced by the region and infused with our honest nature and sturdy character.
Who are other makers in your community that we should know more about?
The Twin Cities has such a diversity of makers. Two old friends of mine who are doing great work locally and globally are Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef, and Eric Rieger, aka HOTTEA. Linda Virtanen of Liv by Linda is a Finnish artist living in the Twin Cities and working with a collective of women called Studio Ella, designing fabulous jewelry and textile pieces.
What’s one thing a non-Midwestern native should know about the region?
The Midwest is just as culturally rich as the coasts, but sometimes you have to search for it because it’s not necessarily punching you in the face.
What’s something exciting for Stangler Works that we can expect coming up?
One word: saunaboat.