Get creative with Twin Cities Makers Circle

Longfellow resident, handcrafter, and entrepreneur Anna Sharratt is offering up all kinds of fun classes through her new business. In her Twin Cities Makers Circle (TCMC) classes, participants use traditional Scandinavian tools and methods to express themselves through handcraft. Maker circles are immersive handcraft classes that welcome learners of all ages and skill levels. 
Here are a couple of the varied offerings from TCMC’s spring schedule:
Intro to Green Wood Carving for Kids and their Grown-ups teaches the basics of green wood carving in a cozy atmosphere. Build skill with carving knives and grips, learn about different kinds of wood, and practice carving safety. Have fun together and leave with the confidence to keep carving at home. This three-session series is designed for kids age 8-14 and an accompanying grown-up. 
The Secret Order of the Axe & Needle is a craft club for kids that mixes techniques and materials to make fun and useful things. Projects are multi-disciplinary, and may include work with wool, wood, fabric, paint, paper, or wire. 
Sharratt said, “The atmosphere in our classes is typically creative, fun, playful, welcoming, and busy. What sets me apart from other traditional handcraft offerings is my focus on young people. Everything we need today can be bought in a store but our human urge to make, in community, persists.” 
A self-described risk-taker and adventurer, Sharratt grew up a block from Minnehaha Creek and Lake Nokomis. Camping, cross-country skiing, and climbing were all part of her childhood. Her mother was an avid knitter, and her grandfather was both a weaver and a leather worker. 
She said, “I learned as a kid how good it feels to make things with my hands. I love opening kids to the world of traditional craft – the problem-solving mindset, the confidence to try new things, and an understanding of sustainability that comes with using natural materials.” 
Significance of the circle
Learning in a circle is very different from sitting in classroom rows. Sharratt’s teaching space is in the Signature Arts Building, located on a quiet residential street in southest Minneapolis. A former neighborhood grocery store, the space lends itself to the friendly informality of a maker circle. Sharratt said, “Everyone who sits in the circle becomes both a student and a teacher.”
Miles Sharratt is Anna’s seventh grade son and co-teacher. Sharratt said, ”Our co-teaching relationship evolved over the last few years. People give feedback that having Miles as the co-teacher is a powerful part of their learning experience. We plan our class outlines together. We tag team back and forth like you would with any co-teacher. We de-brief together. It’s like he’s in a really cool internship.” 
Swedish influence
An educator for more than 25 years and the founder of Free Forest School (see sidebar), Sharratt has facilitated leaning in kitchens, forests, classrooms and craft rooms. In 2022, she received the American Scandinavian Foundation’s Folk Art Fellowship. She packed up her then 10-month old daughter, and headed to Sweden for seven weeks to study youth craft instruction. 
She explained, “In Sweden, children take mandatory craft classes in school from the age of eight. When Swedish instructors come to this country, they’re surprised by the lack of craft experience they see in children and adults. My interest is in having kids try lots of different crafts, and to have this be part of their lives from a young age.” 
Learning is a process
The American Swedish Institute and North House Folk School in Grand Marais helped launch Sharratt as a handicraft teacher and business owner. She said, “Both places continue to feed me as a teacher, but casting out on my own has given me a new level of freedom.”
She continued, “The way I studied craft in Sweden, it’s used to challenge gender stereotypes, and to talk about how you can make or repair things you might otherwise buy. I’m coming at handcrafting from Scandinavian techniques, but every culture in the world has a history of figuring these things out. Traditional Scandinavian handcraft is more a means to me than an end.” 
To learn more about class offerings with Twin Cities Makers Circle, visit their website at The Signature Arts Building is located at 130 Warwick Street in southeast Minneapolis. 


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