Learn more about all our awesome instructors, past and present!

Beth Homa Kraus

Beth Homa Kraus uses sustainably harvested and hand processed bark from White Paper Birch tree to make woven items that can be used in everyday life, as well as in a gallery.  By teaching classes and facilitating other learning opportunities in this handcraft, Beth focuses on building communities and celebrating the weaving traditions rooted many different cultures.


After studying painting at Hamline University and working as a caseworker for the homeless in Baltimore Maryland, Beth became an intern at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota.  There she learned many traditional crafts including many styles of boat building, but her focus shifted to basketry and her obsession with birch bark was sparked. Birch bark quickly became her her principal medium.  


Beth has taught birch basketry classes at North House Folk School, the American Swedish Institute, the Weavers’ Guild, and many special engagements. Through communal learning, public demonstrations, and facilitating harvests, she shares her love for this durable and beautiful material with everyone with a desire to learn. Check out her work HERE!

Dan Horan

Dan, the master mind behind Merchant Leather, is a completely self taught leatherworker. Drawing from traditional techniques as well as trial and error, Dan has developed his own unique style of designing and building high quality leather goods. 


Merchant Leather is a designer and producer of classically styled, handmade leather goods. Merchant Leather goods are simply, yet timelessly designed and built for everyday use, for generations to come. Merchant Leather bags and accessories are made one at a time, entirely without machines, and proudly carried around the world. 


Merchant Leather works to pass on the tradition of working with leather by teaching students of all ages the basics of hand-sewing and design in classes throughout the Midwest. 

Check out Dan's work HERE!

Jess Hirsch

Jess Hirsch is a woodworker and sculptor living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the founder of Women’s Woodshop, focusing on sharing skills with women and non-binary makers. She is one of the recipient of the American Scandinavian Foundation Folk Fellowship for 2018 to study bowl carving with Beth Moen in Sweden.   She received the Minnesota State Arts Board Folk and Traditional Craft Grant to apprentice with Jim Sannerud to study Sloyd, Scandinavian wood arts. Her sculpture practice investigates the holistic world and provides participatory sculpture to experience various healing modalities from around the world. Hirsch holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Wood has been her primary material for the past 13 years. Check out her current work HERE!

Greta Jaeger

Greta Jaeger has been studying birch bark weaving over the past couple of years with experienced weaver and teacher, Beth Homa. Through exposure to the full process of harvesting, processing, weaving, and teaching birch bark, Greta has developed an appreciation for the texture and durability of the bark. Greta is also developing a passion for green wood carving, and educates youth audiences in Nordic culture and handcraft full time at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, where she also lives, breathes, eats, and swims. Check out her work on Instagram @greta_jaeger

Chelsea Bowen

Chelsea Bowen is an arts administrator and handcrafter based in Minneapolis, MN. She grew up in the magical woods of northern Minnesota. Over the years, she has experimented in fiber, glass, clay and wood arts. Woodcarving is her big passion, as well as music and organic food. See more of her adventures in handcraft HERE.


Josh Torkelson is a woodcarver, woodworker, sculptor, and maker of all sorts. He is fascinated by the intersections of traditional craft, artistic practice, and community building. Josh has been carving since he was 7, but really fell in deep while immersed in the traditional craft community at St. Olaf college, where he studied art and worked in the woodshop. Josh teaches in Minneapolis at the American Swedish Institute and Articulture. Josh has also taught at St. Olaf College, the Northfield Arts Guild, and at Hand Camp at the Avon Hills Folk School.

You can see more of Josh's work HERE!

Teresa Audet

Teresa Audet is an artist and furniture maker based in Northeast Minneapolis. Audet holds a BFA in Furniture Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has studied at the Mount Fuji School of Fine Woodworking in Yamanashi, Japan. She has been awarded several grants including a 2019 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. A full-time Artist, she participates in artist residencies and exhibits artwork nationwide. Audet serves as the Arts and Program Manager for the Minneapolis Art Lending Library and teaches furniture and art making in several spaces in the twin cities, including the Women’s Woodshop.

Daryn Lowman

Daryn Lowman is a ceramic artist and art teacher living in Saint Paul. He continues to be fascinated by the rugged elegance of wood fired pottery. He works to synthesize his casual approach to working with ceramic techniques with the complex processes of firing a wood fired kiln. “In working I strive to make something beautiful, and to also challenge the typical definition of beauty.  I attribute this sensibility to living in the rugged and often harsh landscapes of Wyoming and Alaska.”

Check out Daryn's work HERE!

Kayla McDaniels

Kayla McDaniels is a Minneapolis-based artist, illustrator, and educator with a BFA from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She teaches traditional Scandinavian hand craft classes at the American Swedish Institute. Her programming consists of: kolrosing, fiber art (felting), glass fusing, and paper arts. Kayla sources most of her artistic inspiration from nature and enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, and crafting!


Check out her current work HERE and on Instagram @kaylamcdart

Kyle Jameson

Leathercraftsman Kyle Jameson started working with leather in 2005 as a way to replace low quality mass produced goods with unique handmade items that will last a lifetime. Kyle and his family are also involved in Viking Age re-enactment where they practice leather and fiber craft as it was done in 10th century Scandinavia. The Jamesons ride bicycles and live in Moorhead, MN.

Check out Kyle's work HERE!

Maddy Bartsch

Maddy Bartsch is a artist, educator and organizer of decentralized textile economies based in Minneapolis. She is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Three Rivers Fibershed, an affiliate branch of Fibershed, and is President of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. Maddy has past experience as a project manager for the Minnesota Hemp Wool Project, research assistance for the National Mill Survey, and recently created an online tool to help fiber producers navigate domestic milling. She speaks regularly and moderates panels on sustainable textiles with recent appearance at ASI’s Great Makers Exchange and UMN film screening of RiverBlue. Maddy grows everything from Japanese Indigo to Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus and is always on the lookout for new dye plants to try.

You can find out more about Maddy HERE!


JD Jorgenson

I deeply believe that working with native clay, cultivates conversations and relationships between the material and others.  I strive in my process to understand the material for what it is through its strengths and limitations.  There are stones, feldspar, and other minerals in the clays that make themselves known through the making and firing process, which I believe adds beauty. My work is often a reflection of the source material. The true beauty is the clay itself, unglazed and raw interacting with fire, charcoal, and atmosphere in the kiln.

Learn more about JD HERE!

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Julie Benda

Julie Reneé Benda is an interdisciplinary artist with a practice in print, illustration and sculpture. She earned her BA in biology and studio art at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and her Master of Fine Arts at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her abstracted prints of plants, animals and landscape animate modern and historical narratives of how humans relate to the world they inhabit. Benda is the recipient of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Next Step Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and the Jerome/MCBA Mentorship.  She currently resides in Minneapolis, MN. 

Learn more about Julie HERE!


Samantha Martinez

Samantha Martinez grew up along the shores of a small lake in the north woods of Wisconsin. She is an artist and craftsperson with focus in wild plants, fibers, and clay. After completing her BA in Spanish, Ethnobotany, and Environmental Studies, she gained experience within different facets of food sovereignty and co-operative arts communities. Spending time working in seed conservation, organic farms, tribal environmental health programs, native plant nurseries, community gardens, cultivating wild culinary herbalism and handcraft as an intern at North House Folk School. 


Over the years, she has offered classes in movement/wellness, seed saving, ethnobotany, book binding, pit and surface-fired pottery, botanical inks and art tools, wreath weaving, and herbal medicine making at libraries, university groups, arts centers, folk schools, and skills gatherings. Her goal is to continually reduce the environmental impacts of everyday life and creative practice. She feels a deeply-rooted joy and purpose at the intersection of earth-based art/craft and education, and it is important to her that these skills and opportunities are accessible and shared.