By Danae Milbrandt Writer The 2018 Meander Art Crawl will be held on Oct. 5, 6, and 7, and will display artwork from 38 area artists at 29 locations in Southwest Minnesota, stretching from Granite Falls to Big Stone Lake, northwest of Ortonville.
This year’s featured artists are Dale and Jo Pederson, who have participated in Meander since its inception, and who also helped create the art crawl 15 years ago.
Dale is from the area, and Jo is from Elko originally - just south of Minneapolis. The two moved from the cities and came back to the area to live, where Dale built a timber-frame house for them to call home.
Dale and Jo pride themselves as willow furniture and timber-frame artists. Dale’s craft lies within timber-frame, and Jo’s lies in creating furniture from willow.
“I talked to a friend from Minneapolis who made willow chairs, and she taught me how to make them. Another friend of mine made baskets,” said Jo, who has been crafting willow furniture for over 30 years now. In addition to creating rustic furniture, Dale has had a passion for timber framing for over 30 years, and has studied and worked with other timber craftsmen.
All of the buildings at the Pedersons’ farmsite are timber framed and were built by Dale.
Dale’s workshop is a delightful mashup of antique and modern tools used to create the heavy beams used in timber framing. Although he uses traditional tools, he also has power tools at his disposal.
For those unfamiliar with timber frame construction, heavy wooden beams are joined together by mortise and tenon joints and then secured with wooden pegs to become the supporting structure of a building. The technique has been used for centuries.
“I used to do carpentry work and we would build the frames, but they would get covered up. The frames were my favorite part, I thought they were beautiful. So I decided I wanted to work with timber frames,” said Dale.
Meander visitors will likely marvel at the sturdy timber frame buildings and rustic furniture at Dale and Jo’s farm, which evoke the simplicity of bygone days.
Inside of Dale’s creations are some of Jo’s creations, such as chairs, mirror frames, and other furniture items made from willow branches.
“We cut the willow and bring it home; making the furniture is a wonderful creative energy release,” said Jo.
The Pedersons have been to numerous art fairs throughout the years, and used to attend them nearly every weekend from the months of June through October.
“We’ve been cutting back as we get older and have only been to a couple over the last few years,” said Jo.
Jo and Dale are both self-taught artists and have attended fairs in both North and South Dakota, in Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Over the years, many people have enjoyed their crafts and have reacted very positively toward their work.
“Once we realized how much people enjoyed our work and how many people were interested in it, we began selling for both indoor and outdoor, for porches, and even office spaces,” said Jo. “It’s really fun to create and work with the wood, either bending it or using its natural bends. It’s nice how much people pay attention to the detail.”
In addition, Jo is a nurse part-time, and enjoys spending her time working both indoors and outdoors.
Jo hopes that her art inspires people when they see it.
“I hope they see a level of craftsmanship that looks beautiful and is comfortable. I hope they see it and appreciate the work that has gone into it.”
This will be Dale and Jo’s 15th year with Meander.
“We’ve really enjoyed Meander over the years, we’ve been with it since it began. It’s great fun meeting other artists and getting to know them, and exchanging art with them,” said Jo.
The event will span across multiple studios near Granite Falls, Montevideo, Dawson, Milan, Madison, Appleton and Ortonville.
The studios and galleries will be open on Friday, Oct. 6 from 12 to 6 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A brochure detailing locations can be obtained by calling 1-866-866-5432, or one can be downloaded at www.artsmeander.com. Additional information can be found on the Meander Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MeanderArtCrawl.