Monk Creek Woodworks
Owned and operated by Dennis Janssen, Monk Creek Woodworks produces a variety of items—furniture, turned bowls, natural edge cutting boards, utensils—and also operates a Woodmizer sawmill, has lumber available for sale, and a sharpening service. Dennis has been working with wood since his teenage years and is focused on making the very best quality wooden creations he can make. He works with wood from standing trees to finished products—selecting, cutting, sawing, constructing, and finishing items from all components of trees.
He has earned a “Master Woodworker” status from the Marc Adams School of Woodworking near Franklin, Indiana, one of the premier woodworking schools in North America, having mastered turning, joinery, finishing, carving, wood bending, case construction, chair making, veneering, design, hand tool use, inlay, period furniture construction, etc. He has also attended The Breed School of Woodworking in Rollinsford, New Hampshire.
Dennis has had his work juried and selected for inclusion in the Portland Museum of Modern Craft in a 2013 exhibition. He focuses on custom “heirloom” pieces for customers, and also makes many turned items and usable pieces which have aesthetic appeal as well as being functional.
Dennis combines both power tool technology with traditional hand working methods to create his work. One argument is, “Do you think that the 1700s guy standing in the bottom of a saw pit for a living cutting out planks from trees would not have jumped at the chance to use a power saw mill?” Dennis uses power tools to gain efficiency, but gravitates to traditional hand tools where they can enhance or improve the fit and quality of his work.
Monk Creek Weaving
Owned and operated by Sandra Janssen, Monk Creek Weaving primarily produces rag rugs. Sandra’s inspiration to become a weaver started while on vacation in 2001 and discovering a room of dressed looms set up for a weaving class at a small museum in Franklin, Indiana. Her first loom was a LeClerc Dorothy 4-shaft tabletop loom, and she has acquired three floor looms since—Glimakra Standard Countermarch loom, Southwestern Rio Grande Cadillac walking treadle loom, and a 16-shaft AVL mechanical dobby loom.
Having grown up with a mother who is an excellent seamstress, one of the highlights of going to town was to visit the fabric shops. Sewing didn’t become a hobby for Sandra, but being able to select and handle fabrics while creating rugs became one of her favorite things to do.
She is currently working on creating color patterns using narrow strips of fabric to create an impressionistic flow of weights of color, with the goal of using over 100 different fabrics in each rug. Fabric selection includes new and repurposed fabrics—cotton, polyester, silk, and some of unknown content—from a stash she has built up over the past ten years. The Rio Grande loom is excellent for beating in a tight weave, ensuring less movement of the fabric when walked on resulting in less friction causing wear on the yarn and fabric.
The Rio Grande is also excellent for weaving 60” wide weft-faced blankets. Lamb’s Pride Worsted (85% wool and 15% mohair) is used for the weft which results in a wonderful variety of colors to choose from, plenty of warmth for cold winter nights, and the use of a USA-produced material. Davidson’s Navajo 100% Wool Warp is used for the warp. The blankets weigh approximately eight pounds when finished.