MARYBETH
woodworker and craftsperson
(Grand Marais, MN)
“My process begins by walking into the woods along the dogsledding trail near my cabin wearing snowshoes and mukluks, carrying a saw in my hand and pulling a sled. My background as an ecologist and forester and knowledge of the ecosystem feed my decisions as to which species and trees are best to harvest and will not impact the forest detrimentally.”
Marybeth’s passion is to make beautiful and functional items for the home but also to preserve the methods and traditions of making those items for the next generations. She is an amazing example of living by the seasons and we are so proud she is one of the makers in our winter BROWN BOX. While we won’t tell you exactly what she made for us until the boxes are sent out (and no it’s not a broom…even though they are amazing!), we wanted you to hear about her process and passion for her work.
We could try to sum up Marybeth’s inspiration, but well….her words say it all…
“…(I was) inspired by the 1928 poem by Donald Hall, which was later adapted into a children’s book with beautiful illustrations by Barbara Cooney. The poem and story follow the seasonal life of a family living in rural New England in the 19th century. Throughout the year, the family grows and makes much of what they need, including wool and knitted items from their sheep, homemade candles, shingles split from local lumber, handmade brooms, vegetables from the garden, maple sugar, and much more. Come fall, the family loads their ox-cart (that they of course built themselves) with all the extra food they grew and items they made, and the father walks the ox and cart to the market. After selling everything in the cart, and the cart and ox themselves, the man walks home with a few store-bought necessities and, upon returning home:
 
“by the fire’s light in November cold
stitches new harness for next year’s ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke,
and saws planks building the cart again.” ​
I am continually inspired by the lifestyle that “Ox-Cart Man” describes. Living in harmony with the seasons…”
We love each maker’s story and hope that hearing them gives you a glimpse into what BROWN BOX is about….appreciating each season, supporting the fabulous makers in our communities, and surrounding yourself with beautiful and functional items that have meaning and purpose.