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The Finlandia Art Gallery and the Finnish American Folk School Present The Folk School at Midsummer 2023

June 22 – September 13, 2023

The Folk School at Midsummer Exhibition, Kimberly Cook Ceramic work (background)

HANCOCK, MI – The Finlandia Gallery, in collaboration with the Finnish American Folk School will present, The Folk School at Midsummer, a group exhibit presenting the work of the folk school instructors and students.

The exhibit will be held at The Finlandia Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC), Hancock from June 22  to September 13, 2023. 

A reception for the artists will take place at the gallery, Thursday, August 31, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.  The reception is free and open to the public, refreshments will be served.

The Finnish American Folk School has had a remarkable year of instruction.  18 instructors shared their craft with workshops filled to capacity.  Folk school instructors and the classes they presented are listed below.

Anita Jain nuno felting; Wynne Mattila rug weaving; Alice Margerum himmeli; Lindsey Heiden handbuilding: clay tiles; Kenyon Hansen ceramics on the wheel; Clare Zuraw knitting, drop spindle and jouhikko playing; Terri Jo Frew natural inks; Jennifer Szubielak spinning; Karen Tembruell birchbark journal; Ginger Alberti laudelinna sewing; Anna Dijkstra sock mending; Sandy Lindblom broom making; Phyllis Fredendall beginning weaving, inkle weaving, dyeing, garment design; Jim and Harri Kurtti cookie baking; Elizabeth Brauer, Finnish language; Charlotta Hagfors, rekilaulu; Emmi Kuittinen, folk songs from Karelia.

Foreground: Ceramics by Kenyon Hansen

Background: Dishtowel Round-Robin
Five Looms Five Weavers: Clare Zuraw, Marci Schneider, Sue Ellen Kingsley, John Gale, Phyllis Fredendall

The Folk School at Midsummer exhibition will feature the work of seven of these Folk School instructors, as well as the work by students produced in their workshops. 

Students exhibiting work include Melissa Lewis, Mat Moore, Mary Markham, Carol Johnson Pfefferkorn, Nathan Ryckman, Marci Schneider, Monica Maki, John Gale, Stephanie Carpenter, Sue Ellen Kingsley, Hannah Lowney, Emma Wuepper, Kristiina Vanhala, Amanda Moyer Rogers, Jimalee Jones, Linda Lohmann, Kimberly Cook, Tiff DeGroot, and Clare Zuraw.

This past year the Finnish American Folk School studio was full of new and returning weavers. Wynne Mattila returned in the fall to teach the “Over the Waves” workshop to an enthusiastic group. Over the Waves is a traditional Finnish weave structure that has been passed on to Finnish-American weavers. It is called Over the Waves in the Upper Peninsula and Love’s Path in northern Minnesota.

Folk School Co-Director Phyllis Fredendall taught several inkle band weaving workshops, beginning weaving and an intermediate block weaving workshop. Enthusiasm for the weaving process and results filled the studio. The dish towel round robin idea came as a way to continue weaving through the holidays and to explore color and structure in a group. Each weaver designed and set up a warp, allowing weavers to rotate between looms to weave a towel from each of the five different designs. The results hang together for us all to enjoy.

In the fall Anita Salminen Jain taught two nuno felting workshops and led a group in the creation of the Finnish American Folk School Banner inspired by fiber equipment, plants of the dye garden and pollinators. This process combines two protein-based fibers, silk and wool wet felted together.

Anita Jain leading the FAFS community banner felting project

Nationally recognized Dollar Bay-based artists Kenyon Hansen and Lindsey Heiden taught workshops in the clay studio. Students made functional wheel spun work and whimsical hand built and mold cast tiles.

Lindsey Heiden is exhibiting clay sculptures of modified animals specifically chosen to represent what she sees and feels daily.  Heiden manifests these feelings and moments of nostalgia and recollection into animal characteristics.  Her resulting clay hybrid creatures tell a visual story.

Hansen is exhibiting soda fired porcelain clay pieces inspired by the everyday experience, patch work quilts, and the structure and patterns found in nature.  His hope is that the pots he makes will contribute to the field of craft and elevate the everyday experience. 

Lindsey Heiden Earthenware clay sculpture installation

Terri Jo Frew, a practicing contemporary artist and professor with the Visual & Performing Arts Department at Michigan Technological University, created two pieces for the exhibit, one using an alcohol-based black walnut ink and the other, a dye made from madder root grown in the Folk School garden.  The black walnut ink was made by the students of the Natural Ink Making Workshop that Frew led for the Finnish American Folk School in the fall of 2022.

Terri Jo Frew teaching students how to make natural inks

Terri Jo Frew, Red Flags, 2023, Reclaimed wool and cotton dyed with madder root

Phyllis Fredendall and Sue Ellen Kingsley removing an Over the Waves runner from the loom following a class taught by weaver Wynne Mattila

L’Anse-based basketry artist, Karen Tembruell who teaches nationally led students in birchbark journal making this year. In September the Folk School will host Barks and Willow, a basketry symposium led by Karen and Marquette area basket artist, Poppy Hatinger. Tembruell is exhibiting a Foraging Basket made of Birchbark bias double woven with a leather rim and cross body strap, cotton cord, and brass fittings. She is also exhibiting a willow bark, cedar bark, birchbark and cotton cord basket.

Karen Tembreull, Spaced and Laced, 2020, Willow bark, Cedar bark, birch bark and cotton cord.

Around the Baltic, many cultures create mobiles using straw. In Finland these are called “himmeli”. Folk School instructor Alice Margerum presented a himmeli workshop, and then created a sculpture that combined the himmeli structure with an octahedron shaped paper sculpture. The octahedron is covered in  a series of drawings representing the four seasons and  featuring the colors associated with those seasons.

The Vörå Neckwarmer is a cowl designed and knit by Clare Zuraw as a sample for a FAFS class she taught during Heikinpäivä 2023. The pattern is inspired by traditional sweater patterns from the island of Vörå /Vöyri in western Finland.

The Folk School at Midsummerwill be on display at The Finlandia Gallery through September 13, 2023.

The Finlandia Gallery is located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm. Please call 906-487-7500 or email for more information.

Foreground: Sue Ellen Kingsley, Inkle Band Innovations, Cotton warp and weft

Wall: Sue Ellen Kingsley, Over the Waves Rug, Cotton warp and weft

Kenyon Hansen teaching students wheel throwing techniques

Foreground: Kenyon Hansen ceramics

Background: Weavings by Marci Schneider, Carol Johnson Pfefferkorn and Melissa Lewis