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The magic of art and nature on display at Stockholm Stroll

Jeweler September Dunst will bring her unique leather beaded bracelets to the Hugga Bugga boutique during the Stockholm Stroll from 4-7 p.m. Friday, July 7, in Stockholm. Photo by Amanda Scholz

You might say that the artists featured at the upcoming Stockholm Stroll, a village-wide arts open house in Stockholm 4-7 p.m. Friday, July 7, are somewhat magical.

A wood-turner who brings downed trees back to life.

A sheep farmer who transforms her wooly herd into felted art.

A photographer who sees the past and present at the same time.

A jeweler who weaves stones into treasures.

"There is something magical about turning natural things into beautiful works of art," said Stockholm Stroll organizer Amanda Scholz. "These artists create a sense of awe in the simple."

The shop owners in the tiny village, many of whom are artists themselves, take delight in bringing regional artists to display their wares and demonstrate their techniques during the monthly "happy hour" Stroll. Each Stroll offers visitors the chance to sample complimentary food and drink, meet local artists, and listen to music throughout the village.

Scholz, proprietor of The Purple Turtle Artisan Collective, has invited fiber artist Jill Johnson to present her work during the Stroll. Johnson grew up in a farming family, surrounded by women who sewed, quilted and stitched.

"It's no surprise that I became a farming fiber artist," Johnson says. Her flock of sheep produces wool that she markets to fiber artists across the country. She uses it for her own work as well: she shapes the wool using the ancient art of wet felting, and then adds stitches and beads to create jewelry and art.

At Abode Gallery, the "magician" is Pepin photographer Midge Bolt. Her trademarked process, which layers a photo from the past against a photo of the same scene in the present, gives the viewer a sense of mystery about the passage of time. Her new exhibit, entitled "Time&Again," will open with a wine and cheese reception at Abode during the Stroll and will remain on display through Sept. 1.

"We're very excited to show Midge's work," said Abode Gallery owner Alan Nugent. "She'll be debuting some new images of the Lake Pepin area, using innovative layering processes she's never presented before."

The past and present of Lake Pepin is also on display in the garden outside Abode, in an interactive exhibit by the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance. This citizen-driven group is dedicated to maintaining Lake Pepin's ecosystem, promoting clean water, wildlife, and recreational and commercial navigation. Will Pepie, Lake Pepin's mysterious lake monster, be present?

"Maybe," says Nugent. "You never know with Pepie."

At Stockholm's new Indigo Swan Gallery, proprietor Anne Mooney will bring in nationally-known woodturner Tom Peter to demonstrate his craft. Peter is a tree care specialist who creates art for his clients from trees that have died or have to be removed. His company, "Respectful Transitions," has been featured on WCCO-TV.

September Dunst of Farmington, Minn., will be on hand at the Hugga Bugga boutique with her "September Moon" bracelets, created from natural gemstone, Czech glass, and metal beads woven into leather cord.

The evening's magic at Sandy's Clothing & Art is the magic of camaraderie: Sandy Wagener will set up games of Jenga, Ladderball, and Kubb for visitors to play in the yard of her shop. She will feature Stockholm shirts, bracelets, and charms, in addition to her collection of stylish women's wear.

Other Stockholm shops, such as Antique Future, The Palate, and Ingebretsen's, will participate in the Stroll. A farmers' market organized by the Lake Pepin Local Food Group will offer produce, jams, and other local homemade foods.

"We're looking forward to a magical evening with art, games, and celebration of the beautiful area we live in," said Scholz. "And the delicious snacks everyone's serving aren't too shabby either."

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