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“Perfection is an illusion, but beauty is worth the chase.  And, when it comes to anything I make, build, or do, function will always be part of that beauty; for me, the two are mutually inclusive."

~ Fred Livesay

Fred Livesay made his first spoon at age seven and has focused his life and career on traditional handwork ever since.  Forty years of teaching and study in the United States, Sweden and Europe, has given him a clear understanding of the joy handmade objects bring to everyday life, the healing art of craft and the meditative connection between head, hands and heart.


He trained formally as a wheelwright and carriage-builder and then went on to study Scandinavian folk art, decorative arts, and art history, eventually receiving an M. A. in history museum studies.   Since 1999, Fred has been known for his work as a Restoration Carpenter and Finish Carpenter across Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota and beyond. 

Using his museum studies background in historic preservation, he has been active in restoring houses and buildings from 1856 through the 1930s, which includes exterior and interior work, as well as very specialized historic paint research.



A longtime member of the international craft community, in 2018, Fred conceived of and directed  "A Year of Craft," a group exhibition for the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. He was recently made an Associate Professor of Fine Handcrafts, Luther College.

In 2021, he was the recipient of the prestigious American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship and traveled to Sweden and Finland as well as The Netherlands over the summer of 2022 to study, collaborate and teach. A widely-respected sought-after teacher of craft nationally and internationally, Fred is a member of the founding group that started the annual Milan Village Arts School Spoon Gathering in Milan, Minnesota.

He teaches regularly at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, where he is a founding instructor. 


White Bear Lake Area High School

May 29, 1984


B.A., Art History

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Emphasis on American Material Culture, Decorative Arts & Scandinavian Folk Arts

March 21, 1992


M.A., History Museum Studies

State University of New York

Oneonta, New York

Cooperstown Program

Snow Foundation Fellowship

December 19, 1994

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