Knowing Your Neighbors: Brian’s Workshop

Craftsman constructs handmade coasters and trivets while battling Cerebral Palsy.

DULUTH, Minn.- Many people can turn a hobby into a business, but not quite like Brian Bentley has.

“I don’t consider it work. Most would say it’s a job, but I don’t consider it work. I enjoy what I do.”

You may have seen Bentley at markets or outdoor festivals. Though he may be more recognizable by his products. “People stop me on the streets wherever I am. ‘Do you have a trivet or a coaster?’ No,” he said.

“Basically I feel naked without them.”

Bentley makes coasters and trivets out of tile and wood.

“It’s quite a process to do them, to grout them, we do them basically on an assembly line fashion where I’ll do like 30, 40, 50, 60 in a day.”

He buys his own supplies, and dedicates a room in his Denfeld home as his workshop.

“I line them up, and we go to town.”

And Brian doesn’t let his Cerebral Palsy get in the way of his passion.

“It gives me a sense of something fun to do besides doctors and medical appointments.”

For him, his condition is just like any other obstacle in life. “I do have help with certain parts of it,” said Bentley.”So, I mean it does have it’s challenges, sure.”

“But everything in life has a challenge to it it seems.”

It’s his customers’ love for his products that keeps Brian’s coaster business going.

“Makes me feel great inside, or I should say wonderful inside, because I know I’m giving something, selling something, that people enjoy and want.”

If you’d like to order one of Brian’s coasters or trivets, you can give him a call at 218-591-5216, or catch him at Sidewalk Days later this month. He charges $10 a coaster, and $20 a trivet, and he accepts donations.

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