Featured Artists

Interview with John Turula: Founding Member

May 6th, 2013 by

John TurulaIt was a damp, dreary day when I pulled into John’s driveway but his cheerful ceramic pieces punctuated the yard and welcomed me with their whimsical personalities.

Jenelle Ludwig Krause: When did you start making art?

John Turula: In college, but it was all in the margins of my science class notebooks. I doodled. I copied cartoons. I couldn’t draw realistically, I could not take 3 dimensions and put them into 2 but I could make line drawings. I would look at magazines and then copy strips – my earliest influences are comic strips and cartoon artists. Don Martin, especially, influenced how I like gestural drawings. (more…)

Brian Barnes: Founding Member

April 1st, 2013 by

Brian BarnesI interviewed Sheralyn Barnes last month, this time I get to talk with musician Brian Barnes, also one of the four founding members of the Creative Drive. We spoke at Brian and Sheralyn’s home in St Paul, where they have many musical instruments resting like dominos near the back wall.

Jenelle Ludwig Krause: When did you really start liking music and wanting to play it?

Brian Barnes: I loved music as a kid. I remember being in 4th grade, over at a friend’s house, listening to the radio and, of all things, I was into Motown. There was a band – The Temptations – I thought they were great. And then I thought, that would be the most fun thing in the entire world… to play music for people. (more…)

Sheralyn Barnes: Founding Member

March 4th, 2013 by

Sheralyn BarnesAlong with John Onkka, Brian and Sheralyn Barnes were also founders of the Creative Drive.   Ten years ago, when the Creative Drive was started, they lived in Spring Valley, WI and owned a gallery called Blue Moment Fine Arts. Now, they live in a cozy home in St. Paul filled with art and musical instruments.  This month, we’ll learn how Sheralyn participated (and named!) the first Creative Drive and find out what she is working on these days.  Next month, we’ll spend time with Brian Barnes.



Jenelle Ludwig Krause:  How do you remember the Creative Drive starting?

Sheralyn Barnes:  Brian and I first met John and his wife, Mary, right after starting my gallery and frame shop in Spring Valley. We were playing music at Seasons on St. Croix gallery in Hudson, WI. Our first conversation with John was uncommonly interesting and we talked about our art and the fact that Brian was teaching guitar out of our building in Spring Valley. Their daughter started taking guitar lessons with Brian, so John and I would talk while he was waiting for the lesson to finish. I really don’t remember how we even got the idea to start the Creative Drive. We thought an art tour would be a good way to get to know people and put my gallery on the map. I was so in love with the Spring Valley area – there were people raising bison, a great community theater, a wonderful bakery – there were so many vibrant people creating things with their hands. (more…)

John Onkka: Founding Member

February 1st, 2013 by

John OnkkaThis year will be the 10th Annual Creative Drive! It seems fitting to look back at who got it started, how it has progressed and where it might go in the future. This is the first of three interviews with the artists who founded the Creative Drive ten years ago.

John Onkka has been the main organizer of the Creative Drive and his studio is one of the four sites for the event. I had the pleasure of going to his home in January to find out more about the Creative Drive and his ceramic work.


Jenelle Ludwig Krause: How did the Creative Drive get started?

John Onkka: I’ve always thought that the easiest way to sell my work was to have a studio sale and have people visit. When I got together with my friends Brian and Sheralyn Barnes and John Turula, it surprised me that they didn’t do the same. So I said, “well, why don’t we just do something together.”


2012 Food Vendors

April 29th, 2012 by

This year at the Creative Drive, we have three fantastic options to satisfy your hunger.


Miller Bjersted Rogers Catering at Silver Bison Ranch

Miller is an expert in local cheeses and meats. He works at the Rochester Food Coop and caters events.

Profits support Red Thread Charities, a non profit dedicated to supporting Chinese children in orphanages and foster homes.


  • Bison Burgers with Smoked Gouda
  • Bison Hot Dogs
  • Smoked Salmon Salad
  • Cold Natural Sodas
  • Hot Spiced Cider if its cold out


Chef’s favorite: 

The Silver Bison Ranch burger or the smoked salmon salad – it’s a toss up! (more…)

Basket Maker Marlene Meyer

April 1st, 2012 by

Marlene Meyer Basket MakerOn an unusually warm Spring day, I made my way to the woods near Burkhardt, Wisconsin where Marlene Meyer works in her home studio. With magnificent trees outside her window, Marlene creates intricate, diverse and beautiful baskets, using a surprisingly wide range of natural materials including fungus from her woods.

JLK: When did you make your first basket?

MM: Almost 30 years ago, shortly after my husband and I moved from the Midwest to LaFayette, Indiana. Being in a new place, I thought taking some kind of class would be a good way to meet people. I went to a basket shop and saw so many wonderful things, and the shopkeeper said to me “well, you can make baskets too.” So I decided to take a class. I found my nitch almost immediately and thought it was really fun. I’ve been making baskets, teaching basketry and creating patterns ever since! And I think I’ll continue forever, I don’t ever want to stop. (more…)

Knitter Shawn Glidden

March 1st, 2012 by

Shawn GliddenI found Shawn in her studio inside her house with many projects going at once. She was knitting some hand made sweaters, a scarf, and was also in the middle of some production pieces she makes on her knitting machine. Our interview began as we sat surrounded by towers of multi-colored yarn spools and projects.

JLK: What is the first thing you remember making?

SG: I was about 9 and I did broom lace crochet to make scarfs for all my aunts for Christmas presents. Four scarfs total. Broom lace crochet is crocheting with a broom stick or with a dowel where you crochet a bunch of stitches together off the wood and it creates the holes between the stitches. I loved making the scarfs and my aunts were so happy.


Mahtomedi Glass Artist – Craig Campbell

February 1st, 2012 by

On an unusually warm winter day, I drove down a winding dead-end road, lined with majestic old trees, to glass artist Craig Campbell’s home and studio in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. I was welcomed by Craig in an expansive space, cheerfully interspersed with bright red glass pieces.

JLK: What are you working on these days?

CC: I just finished an edition of 310 cell phone holders. Oh no, there are 320! The cell phone holders look like little sculptures on the desk but then when you come to work, you just set your phone in the holder and the sculpture has become functional. I do a variety of kinds of work, everything from production, like the 320 cell phone pieces for a marketing company, to one of a kind pieces. The company that commissioned the cell phone holders prides themselves on being very creative. Every year we design an interesting new kind of piece – they have input and I have input. (more…)

Charles Smith – Baldwin Leatherworker

January 1st, 2012 by

If you would like to know what dragon eyes, writing books and leather have in common, then please join me in getting to know Charles Smith. Charles is an author and leather artist who has been living in the Baldwin area since 1990.  I met him one evening at his home in the woods of Western Wisconsin.

Jenelle:  What is the first piece that you remember making out of leather?

Charles:  A book binding.  I had written a novel, titled Dryad, for my kids.  My daughter, Soleil, who is now 16 years old, said she would like it in book form so I printed it out and stitched it together.  Then I bought some leather and made a binding out of it.  Soleil thought it was so cool, she helped me sign up to take some classes and learn more about working with leather.  I got started slowly and enjoyed it very much.  Every month I would buy a new tool and learn how to do something different.  That’s how I got started.

Interview with Nancy Gavin at Color Crossing

December 1st, 2011 by

My first time in the Color Crossing studio was on a bustling Saturday morning with well over a dozen people working on their particular projects. They were knitting, weaving, sewing or considering their next yarn purchase – which involves long meditations on colors and textures. My second time was on a peaceful fall day and the quiet atmosphere allowed all the beautiful pieces of art on the walls, racks and looms to shine. I was here to meet with Nancy Gavin. Nancy makes wearable art and has sold her art at Color Crossing for the Creative Drive for last three years.

Jenelle: What is the first thing that you remember making?

Nancy: I feel like I’ve been sewing forever!  The very first thing that I made was an apron when I was 9 or 10.  It was for 4H and my teacher was Mrs Kimble.  She was a very good teacher and insisted that every stitch be perfect, which meant things were torn out several times before they were right.  Ever since then, I have always sewn. (more…)