Old and new. The friction and relationship between the two is something we talk about a lot at Wilson & Willy’s – how do we maintain the principles and quality of the past while adhering to our modern tastes and interests? How do we celebrate what has been while also elevating what could and will be? How do we do this in a way that feels genuine, and most importantly, makes sense and creates something you would want (and should want) to bring into your home and use regularly? This season, a prime example of this relationship is our collaboration with Beka Block and Wind & Willow Home.
Beka Block is 40 year old family owned and operated wood manufacturer in St.Paul. The family initially opened a yarn store in the 60s, selling unique natural yarn and weaving materials, and started to produce weaving equipment to sell with the yarn in 1973. The family recently sold the yarn store to the employees that had run it for the last several, but continues to produce weaving equipment – and educational, thoughtful children’s toys – out of their workshop in St. Paul.
The Beka workshop is amazing – behind a nondescript door on one of St. Paul’s prettiest streets (almost exactly between our favorite St. Paul shops Black Blue and Idun) is an entire wood working shop, with more tools – and sawdust – than we could have ever imagined. Beka is a manufacturing company, and focuses solely on developing and making the best quality products.
We loved Beka’s products and were excited to carry them in our shop, but they were also an incredible blank canvas that we knew we needed to work with. We’ve long admired Araya Jensen’s collection of dipped wooden bowls and accessories, Wind & Willow Home, and decided to bring the two brands together to see what we could come up with.
Araya is an interior designer by trade and created Wind & Willow as a creative endeavor after losing her job during the housing market crash. Araya’s collection of simple, modern housewares quickly took off and has become a recognizable brand – known particularly for Araya’s use of bright, joyful colors.
We brought Araya a set of Beka Blocks to play with in her Minneapolis Studio, just about ten minutes from our shop. And we couldn't be more excited about the final product. These blocks are technically meant for kids - and the kids we know adore them - but we find that we love them just as much. It's fun to play with blocks during the more mundane moments of the day - it's something we should probably all do a little more often.
Photography by Ashley Sullivan for Wilson & Willy's.