DIY ‘Call to Artists’ Winner: Paul Weideman & Mirror Lake Organics

By: Michael Fossbakk | October 19, 2018

Photo Courtesy of DIY Street Fair

This year, as part of the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers’ continued support of the DIY Street Fair in Ferndale, we decided to run a contest. We called it a “Call to Artists.” All artists participating in the festival this year were welcome to enter a work of art based on this prompt: “What do ‘Chevy Drives the Motor City’ and ‘Put It In D’ mean to you?”

We loved all of the entries we received, but one piece of artwork really stood out to us. That piece was a painting of a 1956 purple Chevy Bel Air by Paul Weideman of Mirror Lake Organics.

“I thought I’d head down to the Gratiot Cruise,” Weideman said. “It was going on about the time the [DIY Call to Artists contest] email came out and I would see what I could find. I thought it would be kind of interesting to do an iconic Chevy…I found this ‘56 Bel Air in the corner in the parking lot and just fell in love…”

Chevy-Bel-Air-Weideman

The ’56 Chevy Bel Air that inspired Weideman’s winning painting. Photo courtesy of Paul Weideman.

The piece beautifully shows this classic car up close and contrasts its striking purple color with a warm sunset orange background. If you pay close attention, you can even see a few callouts to Detroit landmarks, like the Spirit of Detroit and Hart Plaza.

When Weideman isn’t producing beautiful paintings like that one, he is running his organic product company, Mirror Lake Organics. Not only does he run the company, but he produces the products himself through his farm in Imlay City, Michigan.

“When the economy took a dive in 2008, I gave up advertising at that point and said, ‘I’m going to see if I can make the farm pay for itself,’” Weideman said.

After quitting his 25-year career in advertising, Weideman invested all of his time and energy into his farm. He created a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and provided 54 families with produce in the first year.

“In that time, I learned a lot about herbs. I bought a stack of herb books that were four feet high,” Weideman said. “I started reading about the health benefits of it and I was riding the lawnmower one day and put two and two together and thought, ‘Why don’t I make organic body care products?’”

From there, Weideman wanted to do some research on customers to find out what kinds of body care products are popular and how customers shop. He and his wife had the idea of selling his products at local markets and fairs to get a first-hand account of the shopper’s opinion. That naturally led Weideman to the folks at the DIY Street Fair.

Mirror-Lake-Organics-product-line

Products available from Mirror Lake Organics. Photo courtesy of Paul Weideman.

“[The DIY Street Fair] is intense,” Weideman said. “You’re talking 12, 14-hour days, not counting the drive time it takes to get here from Imlay City. But, it’s our favorite festival of the whole year.”

What started as a few different natural soaps has become an entire line of organic body care products that includes lotion, laundry detergent, shampoo and more. Some of the more unique products include a line of products made from avocado oil that is great for people with sensitive skin, eczema or cirrhosis and a black “detox” bar made from black lava salt, wildflower honey, aloe vera and activated charcoal.

“I wanted to take everything I learned…and put it in one bar,” Weideman said. “It’s my most expensive bar, but it’s a fantastic bar for acne, skin irritations–even [one of the organizers] at DIY, she loves it.”

You can see everything Mirror Lake Organics has to offer at mirrorlakeorganics.com.