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Carrie Snyder, Published June 07 2010

Portraits: Mindy Stratton

For Mindy Stratton, painting handcrafted children’s furniture is a way to keep in touch with her artistic side and her family. The West Fargo resident tries to head back home to East Grand Forks, Minn., at least once a month from March through October to help her dad, Curt Hearn, produce kid-friendly furniture. “My dad's been doing woodwork all his life, and I’ve painted, so we combined the two,” Stratton said. “I did a lot of artwork in high school but didn't pursue it after.” Stratton uses acrylic paint to draw different themes from animals, construction, princess and sports on the oak tables, chairs, doll cradles, toy boxes and other furniture. “I figure out what I want and freehand it; then I come up with a pattern,” she said. “For me, it’s all about doing it for little kids.” The family sells the crafts under the name “Hearn Oaks” at the East Grand Forks Arts and Crafts Fair with the goal of someday being able to participate in craft fairs in Fargo. “I’m making a good product with my dad,” Stratton said. “Kids now can have stuff that they can hand down.”