Couple Sells 40 Years of Jewelry at Uptown Art Fair
LaDes Glanzer and Duke Klassen at their south Minneapolis home studio.
Photo: KSTP/Maricella Miranda
Most days, you'll find LaDes Glanzer at home making jewelry.
Forty-nine years ago, Glanzer was a budding artist selling her paintings and sculptures from a card table on Hennepin Avenue in the second-ever Uptown Art Fair.
"I sold nothing," said 68-year-old Glanzer, of south Minneapolis.
But that didn't discourage her from eventually returning to the art fair in 1974. She's since transferred her talents from painting, sculpting and macramé into jewelry.
Glanzer has participated in 40 of the 50 Uptown Art Fairs. Her husband, Duke Klassen, has joined her at the majority of the events, selling his own jewelry designs.
The pair molds, files and saws jewelry in their home studio, which they created especially for their craft. Trophies and awards from art fairs across the country are scattered around their workspace. Music drowns out the buzzing of sanding machines while they work.
Their designs are known for having texture inspired by nature with natural metals, such as silver, copper and gold. Some designs are so popular that Glanzer has been making them since the '70s. But she adds designs to her collection every year, she said.
The couple has made so much jewelry - they've lost count.
"Basically, we've been making a living" with jewelry, said Klassen, 69. "We put three kids through college. You know, you have to sell a fair amount of jewelry to do that."
Glanzer studied visual arts in college, as well as biological sciences. Klassen has a checkered past that includes seminary studies, as well as construction and security jobs.
In 1964, Glanzer only paid $15 to participate in the art fair. Back then, Uptown was a "seedy" neighborhood with "leather shops and head shops," she said. Today, the event has become more selective when it comes to what artists can participate, the couple said.
"People are getting better and better," Glanzer said. "Only the best people get in."
Glanzer and Klassen travel across the world, including several countries in Asia, to look for inspiration for their art. In 2005, Glanzer was diagnosed with tongue cancer.
But not even that stopped her from continuing to design her destiny.
Now, the couple's adult daughter is making jewelry, too. She'll be selling her artwork for the first time this year at the Uptown Art Fair. With the tradition continuing, the couple said they don't ever imagine retiring.
"We love it," Glanzer said.
"I think we've sort of been doing it for so long that we're having a hard time thinking about how we would even stop," Klassen said. "We don't even think about retiring. We love it so much."
Glanzer and Klassen at the Uptown Art Fair
- You can find the couple's jewelry at Booth No. 2113.
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