Wisconsin Life #207: “Homegrown Teamwork”

October 20, 2014


A surfer who rides the waves of Lake Michigan, a pair of uniquely tied weavers and a skilled glider pilot take center stage in this collection of stories. 

Our first story features Sandra and Wence Martinez, a pair of artists who share a two-story studio in Sturgeon Bay.  This intimate portrait describes how their work and lives became intertwined.

Meanwhile, as a child, Judy Ruprecht dreamt she could fly like a bird.  As a teenager, she went for a flight in a glider.  When the pilot turned over the controls to her, assuring her that indeed she could fly, Ruprecht was hooked.  She has since flown gliders for over forty years.  The sport is called “Soaring” and it involves much more than being pulled up high in the sky and gliding downward.  Experienced pilots like Ruprecht read the clouds and landscape to find where warm air is rising and use those updrafts to keep flying for a surprisingly long time.  Click here to learn a bit more about the science behind staying aloft on a glider.

Also… Photographer/counselor Ben Thwaits takes kids from the Northwest Passages treatment center into the wild armed with cameras, thru a nationally-recognized program called “In a New Light.”  Located in Spooner, Wis., Thwaits got the idea that it might be therapeutic for teens to express themselves through nature photography.  His idea would be awarded a National Parks Service grant from the “America’s Best Ideas of 2010” program.  For more information on the program and to see some of the incredible photographs produced by Thwaits and his students visit In a New Light’s website

Our next story features Alex Marks – who lives to catch waves.  Ordinarily you’d find such hardcore surfers in California or Hawaii… but Marks loves to surf the Great Lakes.  Sheboygan is home to his beaches of choice, winter is his optimum time to surf, and on a good day, he only needs a board and a five-millimeter thick rubber suit to hit the surf – and dodge the ice chunks in Lake Michigan.

Finally, Dave Cieslewicz’s family introduced him as a young boy to the game of Sheepshead.  The complicated card game bonded the men in his family together; and years later, Cieslewicz carries on the card game tradition with his Wisconsin friends.


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