6 South Lake Tahoe makers you should know about
It’s no secret that Lake Tahoe’s South Shore is filled with creative types who draw inspiration from the landscape of the Sierra — and at Wildwood Makers Market in South Lake Tahoe, owner Lisa Utzig Schafer has made it her mission to showcase their work, while encouraging others to get in touch with their crafty side.
Wildwood celebrated two years in business this December. The gift-shop-meets-craft-store is constantly evolving with contributions from new local makers and unique workshops, like the recently hosted hand lettering class by artist Nicole Bergner.
“It’s local first, then independent, then small businesses,” Utzig Schafer said about her philosophy for stocking the store. “It’s like a little Etsy store in here.”
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the Tribune caught up with Schafer to highlight six local makers who capture the essence of Lake Tahoe in different mediums.
Mossberg’s Spunky Punker jewelry is a mountain-style must-have — and a bestseller at Wildwood. The local maker pairs real turquoise stones and crystals with simple brass accents to create delicate necklaces, hairpieces, bracelets and earrings ideal for a gift or treat-yourself moment. Mossberg, who has been making jewelry since she was 6 years old and her grandmother took her into a bead store in Sedona, Arizona, describes her work as a mix of “simplistic, bohemian, retro and vintage.”
In addition to being the chef at the cozy Italian eatery Café Fiore, Ramos is also a nature-lover and artist.
“He goes on these hikes out in nature and finds things that look cool, and he turns them into amazing art,” explained Utzig Schafer, pointing to hearts made of lichen and bark, and delicate birds formed from wire perched on sculptural wood pieces.
“Gilberto makes stuff because it feels good — he doesn’t have a website or anything — and I never know what it’s going to be. It’s always cute and unique.”
When Bergner isn’t working at South Tahoe High School, you can find her hand lettering prints and cards, teaching workshops and carefully selecting art supplies for Wildwood.
“She is really involved in the shop,” said Utzig Schafer.
Some customer favorites include a perfect Valentine’s Day card — “Love from the Lake” — and an illustrated map of South Lake Tahoe.
A newcomer to Wildwood, Dougherty transfers photos she’s taken around Lake Tahoe onto wood. Lupines, leaves, rock formations and scenic vistas of the lake are just a few of the subject matters she captures. Some of her series even contain pressed flowers and leaves.
From a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel to a one-of-a-kind creation, Mason handcrafts and paints ceramic pottery — mainly mugs and to-go cups — with whimsical designs like birds, foxes, feathers and paper airplanes.
“These are some of my favorite mugs,” said Utzig Schafer.
Fun fact: Mason is currently working to get her South Lake Tahoe studio running completely off of solar energy.
Inside Wildwood is actually another store — the mini yarn and supply shop, Knits and Knots — run by Utzig Schafer’s friend Pierce.
“She actually hand dyes a ton of that yarn and hand makes a lot of things in there,” said Utzig Schafer.
In addition to selling one-of-a-kind yarn, Pierce offers workshops and lessons and all the supplies one would need for a winter-long knitting or crocheting spree.
Wildwood Makers Market is located at 989 Tallac Ave. in South Lake Tahoe. Follow along on Facebook for the soon-to-be-released spring schedule of workshops.