Regatta vendors roll in(side) with the rain
WORTHINGTON — BenLee’s Café lacked light breezes and a lake view, but it did offer shelter from the raging rainstorm during Saturday’s Windsurfing Regatta in Worthington.
Two of the regatta’s six 2014 vendors, Larry Boernsen of Boernsen Bees, Ocheyedan, Iowa, and Kaia Nowatzki of Tempt Feight Studios, Luverne, took advantage of the indoor locale to continue sharing their stuff with visiting windsurfers, bicyclists and local residents who sought refuge from the unfriendly elements.
“This was our first year at the Regatta, and Friday was a great day there for us,” grinned Boernsen, a beekeeper of nearly 15 years who specializes in spinning honey into various natural products.
Will he and his family-run enterprise return to future regattas, despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions of Saturday?
“You bet,” he assured, as people continued to approach his table throughout the afternoon and evening at BenLee’s.
Boernsen’s all-natural product line includes creamed honey and honey butter in five different flavors (think raspberry-jalapeno and strawberry), along with comb honey, beeswax candles, beeswax lotion sticks, lip balm and beeswax bars.
“We’ve heard that a lot of people use our raspberry-jalapeno creamed honey for basting pork chops,” Boernsen suggested while offering tasty samples on pretzel sticks. “It’s got just a little kick to it.”
Across the aisle, ceramicist/potter Nowatzki was having a little less luck attracting serious buyers to her display of hand-crafted tumblers, vases, bowls and platters, but the young artist still valued the chance to gain visibility for her functional art.
“It’s been slow,” she admitted.
Nowatzki, 24, holds a B.F.A. degree from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, and named her art business Tempt Feight (pronounced “tempt fate”) for her mother’s maiden name (Feight) and her own risk-taking.
“I was originally going to be a musical theater major, but then I just had to go back to art,” she revealed. “I thought, ‘it’s kind of fate that I returned to art,’ and I also felt I was tempting fate in putting myself out there and seeing if people would be attracted to my work.”
Nowatzki said her father, Luverne High School art teacher Chris Nowatzki, had her dabbling in pottery and ceramic production “since I was in diapers,” and she shared that pottery is truly a hands-on, shoulder-to-the-wheel undertaking.
“It takes four days of feeding the kiln to bake the pottery, and in the beginning, you have to feed the fire every couple of hours around the clock to maintain a slow and steady heat,” Nowatzki explained of the process.
“Then, it gets even more demanding when the temperature increases — it gets up to 2,300 degrees — plus you have to chop the wood and get slammed by the heat,” she continued.
“But the reward you get from about half your stuff is really worth it.”
Currently, Nowatzki is working out of a studio above her Luverne garage, and her lovely pieces incorporate interesting textures and appealing colors.
“My functional ware is made so that people want to pick it up and feel it,” she said. “I like it to be the right weight so it feels like an extension of their bodies and not like they’re hefting something.”
That practical approach comes across in Nowatzki’s backup plan, which will enable her to continue working with her capable hands whether or not her pottery sales take off.
“I’m also becoming certified as a massage therapist,” Nowatzki revealed.
For more information about Boernsen Bees’ products, “like” Boernsen Bees on Facebook, call (712) 735-4205 or email to Lm5kbees@gmail.com. Contact Kaia Nowatzki at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (507) 227-8206.