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Travel Guide: A Weekend in Michigan’s Harbor Country

September 19, 2018

Michigan's Harbor Country is home to plenty of quaint boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries. I recently spent a weekend exploring the lakeshore and visiting the Krasl Art Fair - here are some artists and places you need to know!

Last month I spent a fabulous long weekend in Michigan’s scenic Harbor Country with my friend Julie. Our main draw was the Krasl Art Fair, which took place on Saturday along the lakeshore in St. Joseph, MI. I met and mingled with several artists based locally and across the country.

Right: Untold Tale by Ezra Siegel; Left: Mythical Dance by Ezra Siegel

1. Ezra Siegel is a well-known Chicago-based artist. He creates incredibly nuanced and subtle paintings that at first seem simplistic, but once you look closer, reveal a rich intricacy. He uses a base of homemade gesso on each painting, then follows it up with several layers of washes and thin paint – sometimes up to 30 layers! Ezra comes from an artistic background – his father is world renowned photographer Arthur Siegel, and his mother, Irene Siegel, is a multi-media artist.

Left: Chrysalis No. 230 by Cat Tesla; Right: Rhythm & Blues by Cat Tesla

2. Cat Tesla is an Atlanta-based artist whose mixed-media paintings are a riot of color. She worked for 20 years in genetics, treating patients and curing illnesses. Eventually, she turned to yoga, meditation, and nature for stress relief. She was inspired by the natural beauty she found, and began painting. She took art classes after work, and eventually transitioned from her career in medicine to being a full time artist. From a distance, Cat’s works are beautiful, abstract landscapes. When viewed more closely, the texture and layering becomes more prominent.

Left: Strati by Glenna Adkins; Right: On Air by Glenna Adkins

3. Glenna Adkins is an Ohio-based painter whose work is inspired by modern design and architecture and comprised of pastel colors and combine geometric shapes with more organic lines. Glenna uses a technique that she developed herself. Starting with a heavy acrylic paint base, she then layers a combination of soft pastel, graphite, pen and ink. Many layers are added to create a rich texture and history to the painting, and is finished with a coat of varnish. The usage of mixed media allows her more flexibility with each piece.

Photos by Stone Peng

4. Stone Peng is a wonderful photographer whose largely-black and white photos make use of white space to depict stunning landscapes, urban scenes and natural details. Born and raised in Taiwan, Stone uses his photography work to exemplify the Chinese philosophy of “less is more” and minimalism. Though he has no formal training in photography, and didn’t own a camera until he was 30, he believes he inherited the gift from his father, who was an avid photographer.

On Sunday, we visited the Judy Ferrara Gallery and toured the workshop of sculptor Fritz Olsen. I always love to tour artists’ workshops, as getting to see their space and understand their process and the ‘why’ behind their work, helps me better understand and appreciate the art they create.

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Infinity by Fritz Olsen

Fritz is a contemporary sculptor based out of Sawyer, MI, who creates stone, bronze and stainless steel sculptures on both small and large scale for public, corporate and private placement. Fritz handcrafts pieces that range from stationary and stoic to kinetic and interactive. All are reminiscent of natural, organic shapes and the human form.

And of course, we couldn’t resist doing a little shopping! Harbor Country is home to plenty of quaint boutiques and excellent antique shops. Perfect, as I’m always on the hunt for unique finds to finish off our client projects – and of course, a few pieces for myself as well!

Left: Froehlich’s by A Sort of Fairytale Girl; Right: Red Arrow Roadhouse by Yelp

Where to Eat:


Left: Mazet Antiques by New Buffalo Explored; Right: French Twist by New Buffalo Explored

Where to Shop:

  • Abigail Heche Jewelry – Abigail is a jewelry, clothing and accessories designer, but her beautiful jewelry really spoke to me. I purchased two pairs of earrings!
  • Antiques – Harbor Country has something for everyone. We stopped in Mazet Antiques, Trilogy Antiques and Alchemy Antiques for curated vintage items.
  • Frecklefarm – An adorable little boutique in Lakeside, MI, with clothing, shoes and homegoods.
  • French Twist Boutique – My favorite – a European style boutique in Three Oaks, MI, featuring luxury and one-of-a-kind fashion.
  • Sawyer Home and Garden – We bought Michigan grown fresh blueberries, cherries and peaches.
Susan Brunstrum
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