"We came to the land to create, and over time, the land and nature have created us."
Back to Basics
Ken and Michelle Workowski are back-to-the-land, do-it-yourself kind of people whose lifestyle and business have kept them close to nature. "We came to the land to create, and over time, the land and nature have created us."
Ken first began making willow furniture in 1977, setting the groundwork for a lifetime of working with natural and sustainable materials. Over the years, he and Michelle have learned new skills with each new material they discovered. Their work evolved into a successful home business that has grown to include hollow log frames, tables, lamps, Birch bark frames, Poplar bark baskets, lampshades, antler chandeliers, brooms, cabinetry, and custom interior designs.
A Sustainable Lifestyle
In 1986 Ken and Michelle purchased 50 acres in southwestern Wisconsin. Then, along with their three children, Kya, Marissa and Alena, they carved out a homestead, building a log home with trees they had cut and peeled themselves. Their home runs on solar electricity and they pump spring water to the house with an age-old invention called a hydraulic water ram. While many of the materials they use in their business come from their land, they also belong to the Kickapoo Sustainable Woods Cooperative and lease willow thickets from local landowners.
Ken and Michelle are very active in their community and beyond. They both teach classes on making willow chairs at Sievers School of FiberArts. They enjoy learning new crafts and sharing that knowledge with others. Ken and Michelle are involved with the Driftless Folk School in Southwest Wisconsin, as well as the Viva Art Gallery based in Viroqua, Wisconsin which helps to support local artists.