In 1969 Tom and Julie Bielman left Ann Arbor, the college culture, and the town they were raised. Tom out of the Navy plus a degree in Electrical Engineering under his arm. Julie left her Art classroom with the Public schools. Moving to the wilds of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, they owned and operated an Antique and Art gallery (Tom was an early adopter of the Maker/Reclaimed artist movement). With the arrival of their son Karl and then daughter Kathryn, they were compelled to move to a more stable area to raise them. They ended their journey in the Grand Traverse Region on the Shores of Michigan's Fossil Coast. In the Mid 1980's the families interest for the history of the 18th Centuries Great Lakes bead trade grew. By 1990 they had filled a small room in their house with beads and other historical artifacts. So this family of Artists backed by their love of Nature, Exotic cultures, History and Mythology decided In 1991 to create a shop. Nawbin found its first storefront in 1992. A space to house and fuel their needs for craft and rock supplies. As well as a ever changing showplace for the great items they have made and found.
Nawbin : to look, to see around you, to be aware of your suroundings, to become one with what you are gazing at. -Ancient Great Lakes First People's word
(A word that described how Tom felt about this world. Tom's thought was, People in general do not take the time to see what is around them. He hoped that the shop could help expose the public to the beauty of different cultures, eras and ideas by way of art and objects. Exploring the Earth's history and it''s people is his family's passion. As hard as they tried to down play it, they were hooked. Upon deciding on this most perfect word back in 1991. He took his idea to Local Tribal Elders and Linguistic leaders, that not only agreed but encouraged Tom to Name the Shop "NAWBIN". )
Nawbin started in a 200sqft, turn of the century livery stable, and has grown in to a 2200sqft all encompassing storefront, classes, bead Museum, and website. The best part about us is we never stop changing the direction or the objects we carry. We have ethnic artifacts from all over the world, more beads then any one shop should, jewelry from far and wide to inhouse designs of silver set local stones, Michigan stones are also made by the shop into carvings and necklaces. Plus every kind of bit and piece of things we like can be found with in our walls (a family collection of global finds).
After nearly 30 years we have a network of collectors, explorers, traders and artists almost anywhere. that help us achieve our goal of offering a World thru time and space here in Northern Michigan.
Nawbin is always trying to be a better place to visit, shop, and explore at your leisure. Or just come in and look around, that is what it means and is all about.
After a life of adventures, art classes and the ever needed trial and error experimenting in new techniques. Karl is always moving his art and skills forward to make something new and exciting.For not only himself but for you.
Karl a third generation metal/lapidary crafter. He's been making and selling beach rock art since the age of three. Gluing eyes on rocks he found and peddling his wares to customers that stopped by his parents' shop in Big Bay, Michigan back in the 70s.
Nawbin is sometimes truly a one man design house.
Karl designs and makes a myriad of items here at Nawbin from beads & jewelry of all materials. A few other things are some stone carvings plus the logos and the Graphic Designs represented here at Nawbin.(even a little screen printing).
But the Jewelry Karl envisions is where he shines. Having a hand in every aspect of the stone's transformation in to wearable art.
Jewelry Starts its life as a rough Beach Rock, a found object or just an idea. Karl can start with cutting and shaping that rock with his Lapidary knowledge. Second stage is Metalworking were little Scraps Copper and Silver are shaped and formed with flame and hammer into the finished pieces before you.
"Michigan's treasures are the center of my Artistic Endeavors.
I've lived on Four of the Five Great Lakes.
Born on the desolate wooded shores of Lake Superior to my current home near the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. over the years my love of Michigan Fossils and Rocks has only grown. My designs are tempered by my love of history and myth.
- I just like doodling with Water, Fire, Earth & Air. "-Karl
After giving a life to the public Tom and Julie are stepping aside to let the next generation shine.
They have stepped down from day to day operations but will continue Art and Trading on their own. Karl has stepped up to take the command and make sure the legacy of Nawbin stays true.
'History and Art can live side by side. I will make sure that Nature and Global Cultures are at the forefront of the shop. Nawbin's focus on Earth Arts be them Crystals, Fossils or Worldwide People's Curios will remain well stocked. With a Michigan Centric Collection as our focus. Nawbin has and always will be a place of Exploration in Art and Education.." -Karl