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.
Willful Goods creates some of the most beautiful home wares you can hope to find. Each piece is crafted to be beautiful in its functionality and functional in its beauty. You can feel the joy that they take in their work and we want to share that joy with you.
Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background?
I grew up in a small town near Duluth along the shore of Lake Superior, running around in the woods and making thing all my life, although I never thought I would be creating for a living. I moved to the twin cities to pursue a career in interior design after high school. I enjoyed a great career specializing in Kitchen and Bathroom design for 12 years before I was laid off due to the housing market crash and had to take another creative route.
Tell us more about Willful Goods.
Willful goods began as Wind & Willow Home in 2012 after 2 years of searching for a job with no results. At this time I decided I had to create one for myself so I took a community ed class on website design and I was off and running. It began as an online curated gift shop where I was showing home and gift items made by artisans from around the world but soon after it launched online, I fell into making my own functional goods and it has been evolving ever since. In early 2016 I changed the name to Willful “goods with intention” to reflect the transition to mostly proprietary goods that I am designing and making.
How do you go about creating new home ware and constantly coming up with new ideas?
I usually take cues from my own home and in those moments when I think “I wish I had (insert new product)”, I figure out if I have the ability to make said item. For example, in the beginning, I needed some wooden spoons for a gift basket that I was putting together. I wanted them to have color but didn’t want them to be painted since that doesn’t add to their function. So I did a lot of research on how I could make them more functional and aesthetically pleasing. That is where my own line of goods started, coming up with my food safe rubber application. Now I am enjoying designing and making pieces and building a family of artisans from around the globe.
Where do you go to get inspired?
I seem to find inspiration everywhere. I am always observing color and form. The ideas themselves tend to manifest and bubble up in the quiet moments like taking a shower or when I am about to fall asleep. That is why I always have water crayons in the shower and a pad and paper next to my bed so I am able to write or draw my ideas at the moment they reveal themselves. What makes the Midwest, and specifically Minnesota, unique for makers? I think there is such a love for supporting each other. We suffer through the winters and revel in the summers which tends to create a community that says “We are all in this together.” What makes shopping local special? I think the thing that makes shopping local special is the relationships. Getting to meet the person who put their all into the goods you are purchasing and having a story to tell about them. Not to mention that you are directly supporting your local community as the money spent will likely, in turn support their family and other local shops.
Who are other makers in your community that we should know more about?
There are so many amazing local makers. I think that is one of the best parts of doing what I do. I am not sure that I can create a complete list but I love the woodworking from Preston Made, I am constantly inspired by Mary Jo Hoffman and her husband Steve Hoffman and their Nature + Food images (even if they are bathing in the French Countryside at the moment). I am inspired by those mixing materials like Concrete Pig and Martha McQuade.
What’s something exciting for Willful Goods that we can expect coming up?
I have a line of woven goods being produced by some friends/artisans in Guatemala. This line will include rugs, runners, pillows and hand towels initially. Each piece begins with the wool from sheep that the artisans raise, they then dye the wool with natural dyes, dry it, turn it into yarn and weave each piece by hand. I look forward to adding more soft goods to my line and continuing my mission to build a family of global artisans who are able to create with intention and depend on sustainable incomes. I also am playing with some acrylic pieces myself which should come to fruition in the next couple months.
Shop a variety of Willful Goods bowls and more at Modern Midwest’s second annual Modern Market in Minneapolis’ North Loop. The Market will feature a wide variety of vendors that embody the Midwest’s distinct take on modern living. Enjoy local food and drink, from Indeed Brewing and Salty Tart while supporting the Minneapolis maker community!
Thursday, December 15th, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Fast Horse, 240 9th Ave N, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!
$10 in advance / $20 day of