Posted by: Kath Usitalo | February 8, 2012

Homemade: Michigan Goods At Naka

Michigan, the night light state

Michiganians have a lot to appreciate in the Great Lakes State: Woods, water, sports teams, pasties, fudge, night lights.

When I saw locally made stained glass night lights aglow with the shapes of the Upper and Lower Peninsulas I wondered whether people in other parts of the country—say, Colorado, Wyoming or North Dakota—have the pleasure of their states lighting the way as they stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

In terms of decorative charm Michigan’s outline outshines most states.

Great Lakes State necklaces by Glass Action!

Then I learned that Carey Gustafson, the Glass Action! artist who makes the pretty darn cute Michigan night lights, also crafts two-part stained glass Michigan pendant jewelry.

And she will replicate any “solid” state (aka not Hawaii). Even the (yawn) rectangle that is Colorado.

(Check out her Facebook page to see the Conan O’Brien “portrait night light” she made for the late show host.)

You can buy the Glass Action! Michigan night lights ($40), the pendant necklace Upper Peninsula ($22), Lower Peninsula ($24) or get a deal on the set ($40) at Naka, an Indie Boutique in Ferndale, just north of the Detroit city limits.

Naka, in the heart of Ferndale

Kelly Pettibone LaPointe opened Naka in 2005 and named it for the word “beautiful” in Shona, a language spoken in Zimbabwe where she studied for a year.

Naka is a bright and beautiful little shop filled with tasty home and personal accessories, stationery items, art prints, T-shirts (including Kelly’s own “Day-twa” clothing), baby items, and jewelry handcrafted by Michigan and other artists or made by small companies.

Petite, pretty Petoskey stone jewelry

The simple Petoskey stone jewelry by April Francene is the prettiest I’ve seen.

Unlike most pieces featuring large, highly polished specimens of the official state stone (which is really fossilized coral), these necklaces incorporate small, natural-looking stones.

Birch cuff bracelets by Bettula are also naturally pretty.

Not really pretty, but very Motor City: Cool keychains made of individual numbers trimmed from old license plates ($5).

Naka’s online store carries a sampling of what you’ll find at the sweet boutique in beautiful downtown Ferndale.

The shop is open seven days and is located west of Woodward Avenue, across Nine Mile Road from the weekends-only Rust Belt Market where you’ll find more Michigan arts and crafts as well as vintage goods and local specialty food makers.



  1. Kath…thank you so much for the lovely compliment on my I Love Michigan™ petsokey stone jewelry. 🙂 I am proud to have my creations at Naka…it is a wonderful store!

    • I meant it! Thanks for checking in at Great Lakes Gazette…

  2. Thanks for the Bettula mention! Great piece featuring Naka and other local artists.

    • You’re welcome. You make beautiful wearable art.

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