[Unglued: Craft Fest, Retreats & Summer Camp]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M.Schleif Photography
As Unglued's founder, Ashley Morken will tell you, crafting can change the world - especially in the dead of winter. On the eve of Unglued: Craft Fest's 10th Anniversary, we took a trip downtown to visit the store, make her pose on a giant spool of thread, and get the lowdown on what's coming up. Mark your calendar for February 21-22 and get ready to meet the makers that drive Morken's passion. Taking over all three levels of Plains Art Museum will be 70 carefully curated, handmade makers, artists, and crafters, along with handcrafted food, free workshops and a craft beer garden. When Morken sets out to cure your cabin fever, she takes aim with the big guns - well, glue guns, to be more accurate.
DIY or Die
Located on bustling Broadway in Downtown Fargo, Unglued's store is a charmed and vibrant mecca of modern crafts representing over 200 regional makers. Admire Morken's ever-changing window displays or take a tour inside and explore the handiwork you likely won't find anywhere else.
Seven-and-a-half years ago, Morken made the transition from a career in nursing to a career in boutique retail. She had already been hosting crafting events for a few years prior, and her stress-relieving hobby had quickly turned into her passion. Morken creates environments and ongoing events focused on redefining the concept of modern crafting. The result is a rekindled interest from people all around the Midwest. She encourages every generation to unplug and unwind - teaching people what it feels like to create something with their own two hands. Between her workshops, fests, retreats, and camps, the goal is to set aside what ails you and find harmony in what's in front of you.
Yeobo Sweet Shop
Inside Unglued, you'll find the sweet treats of her sister-in-law, Kristina Lau. Made-from-scratch cupcakes and a wall of 60 unique gummy candies pave a sugary path to an array of lollipops, giant jawbreakers and everything in between. Her gourmet cupcake selection uses whole, natural, quality ingredients and is available in-store in four flavors and by special order.
Wondering what Yeobo means? According to Morken, Yeobo (여보) is a term of endearment in Korean meaning “Honey” or “Sweetheart”. The name was brought home from a trip Morken's brother and sister-in-law took to study abroad in South Korea - it also happens to be where they got engaged.
Unglued: Craft Fest 1.0
"I was a nurse, before I started the store, and was getting together with friends to make and sew things. We just thought it was amazing to get together at night after our boring nine-to-five jobs and make stuff," laughed Morken. "Some of my friends even started selling at craft fairs and traditional shows. Their work was insanely high quality and had this cool, modern twist, but it was still getting overlooked," explained Morken. "We then started to meet a few other pockets in these traditional fairs that were indie or alternative and they were having the same frustrations."
This challenge is what eventually spurred Morken to create her own craft fest in Fargo, catering to their distinct style of high-quality work, with a modernized appeal. "I really felt like our community needed this and I wanted to do it after the holiday shows were done, in the dead of winter," said Morken. Afterward, her fate would snowball with Unglued: Craft Fest becoming an annual event, a pop-up shop, and eventually a permanent storefront.
Happy 10th Birthday, Unglued: Craft Fest!
Midwest Nest loves the culture from the upper midwest, and we are excited to share stories from around the area.