Dustling & Hart Creates Fantastical Books

by | Jan 2024

Kaia Bakken of Dustling & Hart

Kaia Bakken. Photos: Kaia Bakken and Rachel Desjardins

Local artist weaves stories and nature in her handmade works.

White Bear Lake resident Kaia Bakken was enchanted with fantastical worlds throughout her childhood. While her three older siblings did their homeschool lessons, Bakken would spend hours drawing, cartooning and immersing herself in the classics of Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. She let her imagination soar.

Decades later, Bakken creates earth-inspired handmade books and jewelry through her White Bear Lake studio, Dustling & Hart.

In her intricate creations, fantasy symbolism is embedded into each element, telling a story with Old World colors and textures. Her leather-bound books are one-of-a-kind with a romantic, vintage feel. She often collaborates with couples looking for a distinct wedding guest book. “I like bringing romantic elements into books and being able to tell hidden stories,” Bakken says. The addition of pressed flowers, plants and curiosities from nature further evokes a sense of adventure.

Bakken gathers many of the materials she uses in her art from country roads or around their land. On walks through her parents’ 10-acre property in Hugo, she also collects mushrooms that she casts in clear resin to make earrings. And with a first name, Kaia, that is Greek for “from the earth,” this layer of her business couldn’t be more fitting.

Dustling & Hart is an allegory of Bakken’s faith. “We are all made of dust and to dust shall we return,” Bakken says. Hart, referring to a stag, is representative of her husband’s support in her artistic endeavors. The name is “a way to remind me that my work should always be intentional and full of purpose,” she says.

Bakken donates a portion of each sale to local charities that support single parents, including Emerge Mothers Academy. As a mother of four, Bakken hopes to provide strength to parents who need help. “A lot of the time, it’s lonely and defeating, especially if you don’t have a village of support around you,” she says.

Last summer, Bakken introduced a new layer to her business. Fablewood Goods brings tales of mermaids, dragons, apothecaries, royal castles and enchanted woods to life through story-related and North Shore-inspired, wholesale products. Each theme features playful, fantasy-oriented treasures, including candles, stickers, coffee beans, books and bookmarks to lead the customer to a land of imagination and wonder.

Dustling & Hart
Facebook: Dustling and Hart
Instagram: @dustlingandhart

Fablewood Goods
Instagram: @fablewoodgoods
TikTok: @intothefablewood


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