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Deb Spencer uses a router while working on one of her woodworking creations. Spencer owns Stolarz Signs and makes custom signs for people who can hang them at their business, home, cottage or camp.


ALPENA — Deb Spencer has always had a knack for utilizing her artistic talent to create items that serve a purpose and share a message.

Because of her love for woodworking and painting, she decided to start her own business called Stolarz Signs. The word Stolarz means woodworker or carpenter in Polish.

Spencer handmakes custom wood signs for businesses, homes, cottages, and hunting camps. Her craftiness can be seen all over the state, but especially in Northeast Michigan.

She said she has been making signs of all sizes, colors and shapes for about two years and her signs can be seen gracing the front of places like Birch Hill Grocery in Grand Lake, The Kauffman Homestead in Presque Isle, and many residences.

Spencer said she has always been handy with a paint brush and learned how to use a router thanks to watching YouTube and through trial and error.

Now, she said she has a shop with everything she needs in her garage and she spends many hours filling orders.

She said taking images people have in their head, and transitioning them onto wood, is fulfilling and a way to showcase her creativity.

“No matter what I’m doing in life, I always revert back to my creative side,” she said. “I’ve always just been into things that allow me to create and now, I get to customize things for other people.”

Even though Spencer is using her woodworking and painting skills more often and for others, she said the enjoyment and satisfaction of the process hasn’t waned. She said seeing the final product always gives her a sense of accomplishment and seeing the reaction when her customers see their sign for the first time is always a thrill.

“I still do it, and will always do it, because it is fun and I enjoy it,” she said.

Spencer said the amount of support she has received from the people in Northeast Michigan has been strong and she hopes as more signs are displayed, the likelihood of more people wanting to purchase their own will increase. She said expanding the themes of her work is also in the cards.

“I want to venture out even more into the rustic, outdoor feel because I really like the live-edge look and feel,” she said.

Live-edge is a style where the designer or craftsperson incorporates the natural edge of the wood into the design of the piece.

Spencer said anyone who has questions about her products can contact her at 734-644-1944 or email her at stolarzsigns@gmail.com.

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