"Behind the Work" is a regular feature on WTIP. Each segment focuses on an individual and the work they do in the region. "Behind the Work" is dedicated to exploring people’s lives, what they do to get by, and the contributions people make to the community. It is not only an exploration of people’s livelihoods, but also and exploration of their passions and hobbies.
Agriculture is hardly the first thing folks think of when they picture Cook County. In fact, many people think the cold climate and difficult soil make it almost impossible to grow food here, but all that doesn’t stop Nick Wharton and his family from trying. WTIP’s Barbara Jean Johnson has this report from our ongoing series on homesteading in Cook County.
This edition of Behind the Work focuses on Randy Schnobrich, woodworker and fine craftsman. With more than 20 years of woodworking under his belt, Randy has built everything from cabins to dogsleds, commissioned furniture to custom doors. Randy also teaches several woodworking classes at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais.
Randy’s life in the North is a classic – he’s mushed dogs, planted 20,000+ trees on his homestead and built eight outbuildings on his property (but still no garage). He moved to the North Shore from Wisconsin in 1994 with plans to raise a family and create a new lifestyle. After buying some land “back in the woods a bit,” he and his wife built a woodshop and log home, a perfect spot to raise three kids and live a little closer to the earth. With more than 20 years of woodworking under his belt, Randy has built everything from cabins to dogsleds, commissioned furniture to custom doors. Nearly all of his interests lie in the outdoors, and he says it’s hard to remember life before Cook County.
Behind the Work is a production of the WTIP News Department. The ongoing series is dedicated to exploring what folks do to get by in our North Shore community and the contributions individuals make to the community through work.
Some of Randy’s work will be on exhibit at the Johnson Heritage Post in Grand Marais as part of a furniture exhibit curated by Scott Pollock of the North House Folk School. The exhibition opens with a reception from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, April 9 and runs through May 23.
Staci owns and operates Lola’s Sweetlife Bakery in Grand Marais out of the old church now known as Betsy Bowen’s Studio. Tucked into a small kitchen, about 200 square feet, Staci makes deluxe cakes for all occasions, scones, muffins, pies, cookies and more.
Chuck Petek has been a barber in Grand Marais for 41 years. Chuck does more than just cut hair; he’s a shoulder to lean on for many and is always willing to listen. He’s privy to much of the town gossip and holds people’s secrets dear.
Shannon Perkins, like many Cook County residents, works more than one job to get by. Shannon has a college degree in social work but picked up many odd jobs to make things work in Cook County. Since moving here she’s shuffeled between many different jobs including work at the Whole Foods Coop, Lutsen Resort, the ISD 166 after school program, Moondance Coffee in Lutsen, and done in-home support work, as well as dog-sitting and house-sitting.
Dave Seaton is a luthier or instrument maker. His primary focus is guitar making and repair. His guitars are played by prominent musicians including local artist Michael Monroe. Dave’s workshop is located halfway up the Gunflint Trail on Hungry Jack Lake.