Brian Barber Posts

Selective Focus: Holley Morgenstern

Holley Morgenstern of Sparrow & Berry is carrying on a family tradition of making dolls. Her designs are modern and whimsical, giving a fun spin to heirloom dolls. The critters, faces and even the materials she uses vary wildly, and each doll has its own personality and is one of a kind.

HM: My name is Holley Morgenstern and I am the face behind Sparrow & Berry. I make handmade modern heirloom cloth dolls. There are several categories of doll makers, I fall into the soft sculpture category and would also fall under fiber art.

My work is made primarily of cotton, linen and wool. I do use some synthetic fibers for the shaggy/furry, more traditional stuffed animal type dolls. I frequently use bits of vintage trim, fabric, buttons and upcycled components as well.

Creating Apart: Adam Swanson

The pandemic gave Adam Swanson time to complete 14 paintings of endangered animals. But it also gave him time to think. In this short documentary by filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Adam wrestles with the importance of art, and art openings, in our lives.

Selective Focus: Hannah Palma

Hannah Palma is a potter who has blended her love of woodcut printmaking into her process of working with clay. This week she talks about that combination, and how our big lake inspires her designs.

HP: I work with earth; I work with clay. I feel like all my life ceramics was calling me to it in one way or another, but it wasn’t till my time at the university that I found it would be my deepest passion.

I was born and raised here in Grand Marais, where my love and curiosity for the wild and nature was fostered. I grew up in a little cabin on big land where when the leaves left for the winter you could get the slightest peek of the never ending view of Lady Lake Superior.

Halloween Banners


Got some photos of awesome Halloween memories? Want to share them with the PDD ghouls and goblins? Send them our way, we will add them to the banner rotation — the long skinny photos at the top of the page when you view Perfect Duluth Day on a desktop computer. (There are no photo banners if you are on a smartphone.)

Selective Focus: Fall Colors 2020

The Arrowhead region is awash with color once again. Track the progression of fall and peak color with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Fall Color Finder.

Featured here are select images from Instagram showcasing this year’s fall color display.

Selective Focus: Superior Hiking Trail

The fall tradition of folks of hitting the 310+ mile Superior Hiking Trail continues. Featured here are select photos from Instagram.

Selective Focus: #perfectduluthday

The weather has been spectacular, we just had a long weekend, it’s time to check in on what people considered a #perfectduluthday

Selective Focus: Signs

This week, Portia Johnson and Cheryl Reitan provide thoughts and images regarding the often homemade signs around town supporting Black Lives Matter.

PJ CR: In Duluth, many of the signs arrived soon after George Floyd was murdered but new ones crop up from time to time. They appear on residential streets and throughfares. Most of them say, “Black Lives Matter,” but there are other words too, “No peace, no justice,” the chilling, “I Can’t Breathe,” and others.

The message appears, often hand painted and imperfect but always betraying a fierce determination. The signs make people look. They say, “this is important, Black lives matter.”

Selective Focus: UMD Bathroom Reviews

Students and faculty may not be on UMD’s campus for a few more weeks due to Coronavirus concerns, but you can enjoy a virtual tour thanks to the UMD Bathroom Reviews Instagram account.

Selective Focus: Rainbow Over Lake Superior, Again

We’ll get tired of it when you get tired of it.

Selective Focus: Thomas Spence

Thomas Spence’s photos of the landscapes and wildlife of the North Shore have been published and featured in regional and national magazines and TV shows. His Instagram feed is filled with the critters that we all know are around, but rarely get to see so up close and personal. He talks about how he got started with his photography and the patience required to get shots like these.

TS: I have been taking photos with a DSLR for about seven years. I used to carry a point-and-shoot around on trips and gatherings, just to capture the moments with friends and family. I never really was into scenery or wildlife with a camera growing up. In 2007 I gave up a loooong drinking career and needed a new hobby. I wanted to take better photos and I wanted to capture two things. Waterfalls with that silky smooth look, and northern lights. I bought a little Canon digital point-and-shoot and was able to figure out how to do long exposures on it. I learned that camera and was able to get some northern lights photos and the waterfall look I was trying for. I was hooked. In 2011 I took a road trip through the Smoky Mountains and south to Kennedy Space Center. It was that trip that I decided I needed a “real” camera. I think I bought my first DSLR in 2012. Lake Superior, the surrounding State Parks and Superior National Forest soon became my daily haunts. I was mainly doing landscape photos, but I see incredible wildlife on a regular basis, so I knew I needed a long lens to add to the camera. I found myself going into the woods to search for wildlife a lot more once I had the “reach” with a long lens. I live in a great place on the Sawbill Trail in Tofte. When I leave home, if I turn left, I can be on Lake Superior in minutes for sunrise or sunset. If I turn right, I am in Superior National Forest where I see Moose, bear, wolves, lynx and more on a fairly regular basis.

Selective Focus: Indigenous First Art and Gift Shop

Located in the AICHO building at 202 W. 2nd St. in downtown Duluth, Indiginous First opened in 2017, and has been promoting and investing in Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs through their physical space, and now through their online store. This week, Jazmin Wong, coordinator for Indiginous First, discusses the mission guiding the shop, challenges and adaptations due to COVID-19, and a new CSA partnership to bring farm fresh foods to Duluth and Superior.

JW: We sell quality gifts and goods with a mission of advancing, promoting, and investing in Indigenous and diverse artists, authors, agriculturalist and entrepreneurs! Indigenous First is a continuously expanding social enterprise run by the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) in Duluth, MN. Our doors opened in July 2017!

Selective Focus: Teri Glembin

Artist Teri Glembin recently made the most of pandemic social distancing, her Scandinavian heritage, and the gift of some new art supplies to tackle a daily drawing project. This week she shows off that extended project along with some of her other work.

TG: As a graphic designer, I’m usually glued to my laptop… so it’s funny that my inspiration BLOOMED on the end of my couch with Sharpies and wood.

I’ve always loved flowers and patterns and when my friend, Kate Kebbekus, came back from a Zentangle® workshop a few years ago, I began to explore the line flow and techniques she taught me. This led to my “couch crafting” obsession. In the evenings, I’d curl up with my border collie, Lussi, and work on my “Teri-tangles”. Using various mediums to illustrate flowers, tangles, and mandala patterns, I started with black ink on paper and later transitioned to Sharpies on canvas. Wood burning with those same flower and design styles became my next obsession last summer. I currently make earrings, shelf and wall artwork, and ornaments that are wood burned and often embellished with oil or watercolor paint markers.

Selective Focus: Comet Neowise

A collection of stunning comet Neowise photos from across northern Minnesota. Here’s a link to some info from Astrobob. The comet should be visible for one more night tonight.

Selective Focus: Sarah Brokke Erickson – Illustrating “A Common Thirst”

Artist and teacher Sarah Brokke Erickson goes in depth into her process for planning and illustrating a children’s book, “A Common Thirst.” The book was written by fellow Duluthian Gary Boelhower.

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