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…)

Focus and Determination

April 24th, 2013 by

Riordan Arctic 1To be a photographer I have had to fail, to be terrible, to have people ask me why I would ever take a photo of that. I have had to start from nothing, get help, and learn how to interact with the camera, the light, and the subject.

I started rock climbing for the first time this winter. I was particularly attracted to the focus and determination you need to climb. Don’t look down – don’t worry about falling- focus on the holds you are engaged with – figure out how to get to the next one.

I had thought about doing it for some time. Then one day the decision was there. I went to the indoor rock wall at UW-Stout in Menomonie and announced that I wanted to learn. The trainers supplied me with the right gear and sent me up the wall. I got it all wrong. You’re supposed to climb with your legs, not your arms. After that first session I couldn’t make a fist for hours. But I knew that if I practiced, learned to use my legs, I would be able to do it. I have kept at it and now can get to the top of the wall, on the easy ascents, most every time. My goal is to eventually get to the top on the difficult ones. (more…)

2013 Food Vendors

April 13th, 2013 by



The Creative Drive offers three fantastic options to satisfy your hunger.


Miller Bjerstedt 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…)

Music 2013

April 3rd, 2013 by

Heatherlyn 2013 2

This year we have music all day at every site. If you like the music, please tip.

Saturday Morning (10am-1pm)

Heatherlyn at Onkka Pottery

Silver City Millers at Silver Bison Ranch in barn

Borderstone at Silver Bison Ranch under tent

Ben Aaron at Color Crossing

Peter Hanson at Trout Lily


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…)

Music 2012

March 17th, 2013 by

If you like the music, please tip!

Silver City Millers at Onkka Pottery

Saturday Morning (10am-1pm)

Drew Heinonen at Onkka Pottery

Ben Aaron at Silver Bison Ranch


Saturday Afternoon (1pm-4pm)

Ben Aaron at Color Crossing

Cafe Melange at Onkka Pottery

Greenwood Tree at Silver Bison Ranch


Sunday Morning (10am-1pm)

Drew Heinonen at Color Crossing

Ben Aaron at Onkka Pottery

Silver City Millers at Silver Bison Ranch


Sunday Afternoon (1pm-4pm)

Silver City Millers at Onkka Pottery

Ben Aaron at Silver Bison Ranch

All the Colors of the Mountains

March 10th, 2013 by

I grew up in Colorado in a house full of kids, a mom that let us explore, and a magical unfinished basement where we could do just about anything. I remember looking at the mountains one summer day and I must have been asking about the color of a mountain or something along those lines and my mom said, “All of the colors that ever were are in the mountains, sky, trees…..everything around us.” Now that I think about it, she may not have said that exactly but that is what I heard, and I thought it was quite profound. We never went to art museums when we were kids. Art was not important but creativity, problem solving, play, getting along, and cleaning up after your mess was. (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…)

Material Manipulators

April 14th, 2012 by

Calder in his studioI have a big book called Calder’s Universe that covers Alexander Calder’s life and artwork. There is one photograph in the book that has always fascinated me. It is an interior shot of Calder’s studio in Roxbury France. You are viewing it as if from a ladder looking down. The space is big and a complete mess.  You can distinguish metal fabricating tools and equipment but they are either in piles, piled upon or both. Things are hanging from the ceiling, all over the floor and on every surface available. There is no place where you could imagine starting a project. You can recognize a few metal disc shapes that reflect his mobiles but you don’t get the impression that anything great is going to come out of this disaster.

There is a single path that goes through this chaos and at the end stands Calder. His back is turned to the viewer and he is at a worktable that is also piled high. He looks small in the space and you cannot see what he is doing. None of the evidence in the picture leads you to believe that you are catching a glimpse of one of the world’s greatest artists at work. (more…)


April 6th, 2012 by

Old Oak by Emily Gray KoehlerAs I slide into the well worn passenger seat of our Honda Civic, I am reminded that she is as old now as I was when I first learned to drive. It only seems right, after so many adventures together to take her along on this one. My camera rests gently at my feet and I am keenly aware of the sketchbook on my lap. This is no ordinary trip to the grocery store or the post office. My husband, Kyle, and I are undertaking a road trip, a day trip. We are going for a drive. (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…)

Made in India

March 26th, 2012 by

You see it all in India; the harsh alongside the beautiful, the disgusting alongside the amazing.  It can be confusing and overwhelming and it comes at you full steam and without editing. In January, Mary and I visited India for the third time. Our journey brought us to a quiet hill station in the foothills of the Himalayas.

The town, Mussoorie, has a local bazaar which is a narrow one-lane winding road running along the crest of the hills. With little stalls and shops on either side it is the gathering place for locals as they buy the things they need for daily life and discuss the day’s events.

My attention on these visits is always drawn to those shopkeepers that are actually making the things that the local people need. In one bazaar it is tailors and cobblers providing sturdy footwear and warm clothing for life in the mountains. Their shops are very small, maybe the size of a typical US bathroom. They sit cross-legged on the floor hammering leather or working a sewing machine by hand. It is so simple that it almost seems impossible. (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.


All in a Name: Remembering the First Creative Drive

February 20th, 2012 by

“The Creative Drive” is a perfect name on many levels. It is fun, easy to remember, and it expresses so clearly what this event is about. Recently, I was renewing our domain name on the phone when the sales rep said, “that is such a great name, when you are done using it you will be able to sell it.” We don’t want to sell it, but where did it come from?

It was late winter in 2004 when four of us met at the Red Barn Café south of Baldwin for breakfast. Potter John Turula, painter Sheralyn Barnes,  musician Brian Barnes and myself  began to throw out ideas of how we could work together on a small spring art event. Our goal was to promote the work of local artists (ourselves at that point) and create a community art event that was fun for us and the public. It was unturned land and we just threw out seeds of ideas with no idea of where it was going to take us and which ones would grow.  (more…)

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…)

Spring is Coming (No Really)

January 19th, 2012 by

I got this in an email the other day from Theresa Charpentier, one of our Creative Drive artists:

“Looking forward to spring already!”

Spring seems like a long way off as I write this. It was dark before 5PM and the temperature is heading towards zero tonight. I just want to eat and drink coffee and then go to bed. Right now spring seems farther away than last August. It is easy to put off today what we can do tomorrow and winter seems like a great time to live by that axiom. I know I can fall into that frame of mind.

But is spring really that far away? Not for an artist.

As a potter I have been surprised by spring many times. The production cycle of making pots runs six to eight weeks for me. A hundred or more pieces must be made, then given time to dry. This is followed by the firing process, which can run several weeks. In all from start to finish, with a few interruptions, I have to remember that it takes a long time to make a bunch of pots. The same goes for the other art mediums. I need to start making new work two to three months ahead of when I need it.

Theresa’s comment could mean that she is already tired of winter and is trying to “think spring.” But I don’t think so. I took her comment as a reminder to me that I cannot wait for the signs of spring to start making new work. I have to anticipate spring in the dead of winter if I am going to have some great new work done by the first weekend in May in time for the Creative Drive. I have a feeling that Theresa is way ahead of me on this.

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…)

Our New Blog

November 23rd, 2011 by

The Drive Guide

This is the new Creative Drive Blog and we have some great stuff planned for it. Every month until the Creative Drive we will be featuring a Creative Drive artist on the blog. Jenelle Ludwig Krause is interviewing and photographing artists at their studios about their lives and artwork. We’ll put out a new interview at the beginning of the month, and send it to our email subscribers as well. This way you can find out a little bit more about the artists and where to see their work during the Creative Drive. We hope that you enjoy these new interviews. Sign up for our email list to get the monthly email. You can also sign up to receive our official Drive Guide in the spring if you don’t already.

Photo: Andrea Cole

Spectrum West Interviews John Onkka

April 30th, 2010 by

Spectrum West – WPR 88.3

John Onkka is interviewed about the 7th Annual Creative Drive.

Listen to the interview here.

Colfax Metal Sculptor to Participate in Art Tour

April 28th, 2010 by

Eau Claire Leader
Colfax Metal Sculptor to Participate in Art Tour. 
Read more…

Spectrum West Interviews Marty Pearson

May 2nd, 2008 by

Spectrum West – WPR 88.3
Marty Pearson, potter, talks about his art, his home in northern Wisconsin, and the Creative Drive.

Listen to the interview here

Nature Inspires Artist: Margy Jean Balwierz talks about her stoneware tiles.

May 1st, 2008 by

Eau Claire Leader
Nature Inspires Artist: Margy Jean Balwierz talks about her stoneware tiles.