Sun streams in the window. The café cat, Luna, sprawls across a polygon of light, licking her paws. An espresso machine purrs as customers of Mind's Eye Coffee Lounge line up for a mid-morning hot beverage fix.

A door in the back of the coffee machine and counter opens into a shop with works in progress, including a hand built kayak. This working space for local crafters is called the Manufactory and it existed before the coffee shop.

"We hoped to become the creative hub of a creative community," says Mind's Eye founder and co-owner Marc Daniels. Daniels crafts custom Alaskan and Greenlandic sea qayaqs, the traditional skin-on-frame sea boats of the Arctic Inuit tribes, and leads boat-making workshops at the Manufactory.

click to enlarge JILLIAN BUTOLPH
  • Jillian Butolph

Partner Leah Daniels grinds chai leaves and bakes for the café, stocking the case with a changing menu of pastries and muffins. Today it's snickerdoodles, muffins and rich, lightly sweet Cream City scones.

I hunker down at the front of the café, at a redwood bar "salvaged from the 2008 Candystone Fire," as noted on a small brass plaque. I slather blueberry spreadable fruit from Ferndale's Centerville Farms on one of the scones ($4). I intend to try only a bite or two, but consume the entire scone.

The Mind's Eye brews organic espresso and coffees from beans roasted by Humboldt Bay Coffee Co. I'm drinking a spicy chai latte ($4.25) with Leah's house-ground leaves and organic Humboldt milk. It's served in a stoneware cup by Ferndale potter Conrad Calimpong, fired in his wood-fueled kiln. Calimpong's mugs are some of the local items sold at the Mind's Eye. So are the crocheted "bralettes" crafted by local artisan Amelia Armas of Ethereal Faerie.

Boat-making apprentices now travel to Ferndale to hone their practice with Daniels, he says. During one recent workshop, attendees built an iqyax in the style of the Unangax people of the Aleutian Islands. Other workshops can range from block printing to paddle carving, and are offered based on demand. They're listed on the Mind's Eye Manufactory website.

The creative hub thing? It's happening.

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