2017 Made in the North
What does it mean to be a maker in the North? We put that question to the 100-plus artisans, designers, and crafters who entered their products in the magazine’s first Made in the North awards, and their responses had a similar refrain. There’s something about not being on the coasts, they said, about living in what many consider a tough climate, and having a strong work ethic that defines people who make things here. Most of the winners and finalists say they started making things out of necessity, like the modern-day willow play structures that Kelly English began building for her kids so she could avoid buying the plastic alternatives. Or the Shore Boards that Tim Shore started making because his wife wanted a stand-up paddle board. Some were inspired by their Scandinavian heritage, like Jim Sannerud, whose family farm in Norway informs how he makes his furniture. Others looked to artisanal methods to be game-changers in their fields, like Mike Phillips’s crusade to use sustainably raised heritage hogs, producing some of the tastiest pork in the region. Stories like these illustrate what it means to be a maker in the Northland. To help us decide the awards, we invited five category experts to join our editors on the judging panel. We also selected an overall Made in the North Grand Prize Winner. And that award goes to . . .