Beyond the misty shore and endless kegs of craft beer, what makes the North Coast stand out is the spirit of its people — a spirit both restless and settled, creative and carefree. That spirit is perhaps best manifested in workshops and storefronts of cities such as Astoria, Warrenton, Seaside and Cannon Beach. Here we give you a crafty preview of the artsy scene, spotlighting six of the many makers, builders and, yes, bakers who call these shores home.
Cannon Beach Distillery
“There was something about starting with an ingredient or compound and manipulating it into something completely different that was intriguing and fun,” says Mike Selberg of his college chemistry courses. Those courses eventually led to the birth of his bona fide beachy distillery, now in its sixth year of producing potable hooch. Selberg’s is a fascinating ark of artisanal, small-batch North Coast spirits — rums, gins, whiskies and agaves. Several have won awards, and all are open-top fermented, single-distilled (through a custom-made Vendome copper still named Bernie), matured and bottled on-site.
Jewelry by Sharon Amber
Often called “breathtaking” and “stunning,” many fine works of (wearable!) art are borne from Sharon Amber’s windswept oceanview studio, from where the famous Haystack Rock serves as an inspiration. Her materials are as diverse, from pearls and exotic gems to diamonds and Cannon Beach basalt. Amber is a world-renowned jeweler who sells her wares exclusively from her gallery. “I put my best into each piece since I know it’s going to be around for awhile,” she says. “I want [each piece] to stand the test of time, structurally and design-wise. It’s an honor and a responsibility to make something so treasured.”
Jonathan Hoffman and Alexandrea Brandon
Dough Dough Bakery
After years of doing local wholesale and contract production, Dough Dough opened last June and is Seaside’s first bakery since 2005. “Locals and regular beach visitors are thrilled we are open,” says Jonathan Hoffman, adding that customers are especially wowed by his scones, chocolate tahini rolls and “Olees” (biscuit-like pastries made from cinnamon roll dough and filled with housemade jams and lemon curd). He also owns a catering business called Chefs Table and is a three-time winner of Iron Chef Goes Coastal. Similarly local, Brandon was raised in a foodie family in the Seaside region; she was a hobbyist baker until joining Hoffman. “We have a cozy and inviting environment perfect for munching our pastries and sourdough waffles,” she says. “We’re a bakery by day and Fermentation Station Wine Bar by night, serving small plates and tapas alongside Northwest and international wines.”
Blue Bond Art Studio and Oil Painting Gallery
In 2017, after 45 years living in Vancouver, Washington, Blue and his wife Karen moved to Seaside following a year of commuting between Vancouver and their old gallery in Cannon Beach. A highly acclaimed professional painter since 1967, Blue is Seaside’s newest art teacher, specializing in oil and acrylic courses for painters of all skill levels. “We are truly enjoying our new studio/gallery and home,” he says. “We have met many artistic individuals who make this a remarkable community, and we’re looking forward to an incredible spring and summer in this beautiful resort town.”
Fernhill Glass Studios
For nearly three decades, Portland-native Claude Kurtz has loved playing with fire. He works out of a glass studio in the historic Fort George area of Astoria. This is where Kurtz has continually wowed visitors and glass-blowing enthusiasts with his ability to harness subtle light shifts and shiny textures resembling water. Many glass blowers have gotten their start in one of Kutz’s classes, either by watching or participating. His studio has opportunities for you to learn glassblowing and create your own unique piece. He also sells his work on-site. “We are the hottest shop in town, in more ways than one — 2,100 to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit,” Kurtz says. “We heat and shape the glass into affordable and functional art pieces. Stop on in, warm yourself and watch art happen.”
Paul Tuter and Becky Johnson
A furniture builder and an upholsterer walk into a flea market — no, not the start of a joke. Instead, you might call it destiny. Running this iconic gift/antique/hardware “architectural salvage” shop since 2009, Paul Tuter and Becky Johnson did actually first meet at a flea market, and it was clear they were passionate about giving new life to discarded domestic things. Today, Vintage Hardware is the area’s premier source for repurposed and reclaimed material for home and garden: antique doors, windows, molding, bath and light fixtures, hardware, signs, mirrors and almost anything else homey that you can think of. Consider it the raw material for a North Coast-inspired creation of your own.