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Finnish American Folk School

The Finnish American Folk School (FAFS) was founded in 2017 to promote Finnish folk arts and traditional skills and ensure that they thrive for generations to come. The Folk School is based in the Jutila Center Fiber Studio and the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, Michigan. Following the announcement of the closure of Finlandia University in March 2023 the board of Finlandia Foundation National (FFN), a non-profit supporting Finnish culture in the United States, acted to assume responsibility for the many cultural assets of the university. The organization is now the caretaker of the Finnish American Heritage Center and its extensive archives and artifacts, the monthly Finnish American Reporter, the Finnish American Folk School, the Art Gallery, War Museum and North Wind Books store.

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We welcome workshop requests or proposals. Scholarships or assistantships are available. Please contact FAFS director Clare Zuraw with all questions, suggestions, or scholarship requests:  clare.zuraw@finlandiafoundation.org To register please use the online registration link in each class description. If you have problems with our online registration system, please call 906-370-3722 or email.

If you feel sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 before a class or other event, please stay at home and contact us to arrange a refund. If the FAFS must cancel an event, registrants will be notified, and refunds will be issued. While masks are no longer required at all FAFS events, instructors may require participants to mask during their classes. Thank you for helping us to continue offering programs as safely as possible.

Spring Events 2024

Beginning Kantele

6 Thursdays: March 14, 21 and April 4, 11, 18, 25, 2024
5:30-6:45pm
Finnish American Heritage Center
Instructor: Kay Seppala
Class fee: $60, advanced registration required
Refundable instrument deposit: $135
Registration closes March 12 or when sold out
Click here to register
Call the Finnish American Folk School at 906-370-3722 or email clare.zuraw@finlandiafoundation.org for more information

If you can count to 5 you can play the 5-string kantele! Join Kay Seppala for a 6 week introduction to playing the kantele, a plucked string instrument (lap harp) that is the national instrument of Finland. Instruments will be provided for the duration of the class, with a refundable deposit payable by check at the first session. Open to students ages 12 years and up. Younger students can attend if accompanied by a participating adult. No experience necessary.

Fun with Color

Saturday, March 16, 2024 10am-12pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio
Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Class fee: $20
Registration closes March 15 or when sold out
Click here to register
Call 906-370-3722 or email clare.zuraw@finlandiafoundation.org for more information

Who doesn’t need some color play this time of year?  Learn the basics of color theory using yarn and fabric.  Students will create their own optically blended color studies through various yarn-winding exercises. Fabric scraps will be used in the illumination of the three dimensions of color: hue, brightness and saturation. The magic of simultaneous contrast can be applied to all media and will be demonstrated. Supplies will be provided. Students should bring their own scissors. Open to students ages 15 years and up. Younger students can attend if accompanied by a participating adult. No experience necessary.

Beginning Knitting I

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
5:30-7:30pm
Instructor: Clare Zuraw
Class fee: $25
Click here to register
Registration closes March 24 or when sold out

This introduction to knitting workshop is open to total beginners. Students will learn about knitting yarn, how to hold knitting needles, and how to do basic knit and purl stitches. Yarn and needles for use during class will be provided for all participants. If you have your own materials you’d like to use, feel free to bring them along. Open to students ages 12 and up. Younger students are welcome if accompanied by a participating adult.

Students must bring:

12″ ruler

journal for note taking and favorite pen

small sharp embroidery scissors (instructor likes the small Fiskars micro-tip)

headlamp or small table lamp and extension cord if you like light close at hand

any favorite embroidery threads and tools such a thimble etc. that you already have, you do not need to purchase any

Introduction to Contemporary Embroidery and Stitching

Saturday-Sunday, April 13-14, 2024
10am-5pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio
Instructor: Heather Hietala
Class fee: $200
Materials fee: $35
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Registration closes: March 25 or when sold out

This class will introduce traditional embroidery stitches and innovative ways of using them in a contemporary approach, much akin to drawing or mark making. This class is about learning and exploring stitching/embroidery. Stitches will be learned, practiced, and personalized. Embroidery and stitching can add a sense of the physical, of the decorative, the narrative or simply be marks that are intentional and capture a sense of time. Using a variety of cloth, we will embroider sampler pages where you will begin to develop a personal stitch vocabulary. These pages will be bound into a book at the end of the workshop. These techniques demand some hand strength and coordination. This class is open to adult students only.

The $35 materials fee for this class includes: fabrics for pages and book cover, felt, embroidery needles, needle grabbers, embroidery threads, embroidery winders, waxed linen, photocopies, floss. Prismacolor pencils and book needles will also be available for use during workshop.

Call 906-370-3722 or email clare.zuraw@finlandiafoundation.org for more information

Students must bring:

journal for note taking and favorite pen

wear work clothes or an apron

safety glasses if you do not wear glasses

6″ and/or 8″ vice grips if you have them

any other wire tools you already have

optional – odd bits of wire that you have collected and odds and ends of things to experiment with, time permitting

Textile Techniques in Wire

Tuesday-Wednesday, April 16-17, 2024
10am-5pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio
Instructor: Heather Hietala
Class fee: $200
Materials fee: $20
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Registration closes: March 25 or when sold out

Students must have an up-to-date tetanus shot to participate in this workshop.

This class will introduce wire as an artistic as well as a practical medium. You will learn how to work with wire and explore its linear qualities as well as creating three-dimensional forms. Using your hands, pliers, and cold connections you will discover the wonderful immediacy of wire working. Basic tinkering and fiber construction techniques, including coiling, stitching, and twining will be covered. Wire is a very versatile material and can be incorporated or combined with other materials. We will begin by making small studies and then explore larger forms time permitting. The workshop will cover the properties and qualities of different gauges of wire. I will supply the materials you will need and a set of pliers with built-in wire cutters. Feel free to bring any pliers and vice grips that you already have. These techniques demand some hand strength and coordination. This class is open to adult students only.

The $20 materials fee includes: an ergonomic pair of pliers, a variety of wire, handouts, pumice soap, masking tape, sharpies, rags. There will also be vice grips and other tools available for use during workshop.

Call 906-370-3722 or email clare.zuraw@finlandiafoundation.org for more information

Heather Allen Hietala is a studio artist is Asheville, NC. Heather’s architectural wall textiles have been exhibited internationally and published in Fiberarts Magazine, Surface Design Journal, American Craft Magazine, Fiberart Design Book 5,6 & 7 and International Textile Design among others. Her work has been exhibited internationally and she has taught and lectured throughout the US, Canada, Japan, Nepal and Thailand. She has published numerous articles on textiles, textile artist and creative journaling and wrote Weaving Contemporary Rag Rugs. Her work is numerous public and private collections including the Racine Art Museum, Asheville Art Museum, and Greg Museum of art and Design among others. Momentum Gallery, Asheville, NC and Oeno Gallery, Bloomfield, Ontario represents her work.

Beginning Knitting II

Tuesday, April 23, 2024
5:30-7:30pm
Instructor: Clare Zuraw
Class fee: $25
Registration closes April 21 or when sold out
Click here to register

This workshop is for students who took Beginning Knitting I in January or March as well as anyone who already knows basic knit and purl stitches and are ready for review and some new skills. The workshop will briefly review the basics of casting on, casting off, knit stitch, and purl stitch. Then we will focus on troubleshooting, the basics of reading a simple knitting pattern, and resources for learning new skills. Yarn and needles for use during class will be provided for all participants. If you have your own materials you’d like to use, feel free to bring them along. Open to students ages 12 and up. Younger students are welcome if accompanied by a participating adult.

Knitting Lunch Hour

Tuesdays 12pm-1pm
Jutila Fiber Studio
Call 906-370-3722 or email clare.zuraw@finlandiafoundation.org for more information

Do you like to knit? Need feedback on your yarn choices? Want to learn new knitting tips and tricks socially from other knitters while on your lunch break? Join Finnish American Folk School director Clare Zuraw for a weekly knitting circle in our fiber studio. This is not a workshop! We’ll knit together, and Clare will be available for some light feedback during the hour, but there’s no lesson plan. Registration isn’t required – just show up with your knitting, a lunch, and maybe a friend. There’s no fee to participate, though if you find this to be an enriching experience donations the Folk School are always appreciated.

Creative Coiling

Sunday, February 18, 2024- 1-4pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio
Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Class fee: $35, advanced registration required
Materials fee: $4
Registration closes February 16 or when sold out
SOLD OUT
Coiling is an internationally practiced craft and art form. This class introduces coiling variations so that students will have samples from which to build larger pieces. Functional objects that can be made using this technique include containers, table and floor mats, hats, jewelry, purses, even garments, armor, and masks!  Supplies can include yarn, string, rope, fabric strips, any flexible material: tubes, hoses, wire, grasses, shoelaces and more. Coiling requires a single simple tool, minimal hand strength and dexterity and offers limitless possibilities for functional and sculptural object-making. A range of sampling supplies will be provided.  A tool fee of $4 will be collected at the beginning of class. Open to students ages 15 years and up. Younger students can attend if accompanied by a participating adult. No experience necessary.

Heikinpäivä Workshops
January 2024

Inkle Band Weaving

2 sessions: Wednesdays, January 10 – 5:30-8:30pm + January 17 – 5:30-8pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio
Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Class fee: $60, advanced registration required
Optional pick up project fee: $40 (paid directly to instructor)
Registration closes January 8 or when sold out
SOLD OUT
Call 906-370-3722 for more information

Design and weave a colorful strap using a small portable inkle loom. Class one includes design work, loom dressing and how to weave.  In the second session students will take their bands off the loom and finish them for the end use: belt, hat band, bag strap garment trim – even an instrument strap with prearranged fittings. Also in the second session, weavers inspired to work in a more complex structure will learn the pick-up technique to weave words or patterns and keep the looms for an additional week. All materials are included. Looms are available for use at home with a refundable deposit.  No experience necessary. Open to students ages 16 and up.

Beginning Kantele

Thursday, January 11, 2024 – 6-8pm
Finnish American Heritage Center
Instructor: Kay Seppala
Class fee: $15, advanced registration required
Registration closes January 8 or when sold out
SOLD OUT
Call 906-370-3722 for more information

If you can count to 5 you can play the 5-string kantele! Join Kay Seppala for an introduction to playing the kantele, a plucked string instrument (lap harp) that is the national instrument of Finland. In addition to learning the basics of playing, this workshop will introduce students to kantele lore. Instruments will be provided. Open to anyone ages 12 and up, no experience necessary. Younger children with some musical experience are welcome if accompanied by an adult.

Beginning Knitting

Saturday, January 13, 2024 – 1-3pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio
Instructor: Clare Zuraw
Class fee: $25, advanced registration required
Registration closes January 10 or when sold out
SOLD OUT
Call 906-370-3722 for more information

This introduction to knitting workshop is open to total beginners. Students will learn about knitting yarn, how to hold knitting needles, and how to do basic knit and purl stitches. Yarn and needles for use during class will be provided for all participants. If you have your own materials you’d like to use, feel free to bring them along. Open to students ages 12 and up. Younger students are welcome if accompanied by an adult.

Learn to Make Karelian Pies (karjalanpiirakka)

Tuesday, January 16, 2024 – 5:30-7:30pm
Finnish American Heritage Center
Instructor: Riikka Hepokoski
Class fee: $20, advanced registration required
Registration closes January 12 or when sold out
SOLD OUT
Call 906-370-3722 for more information

Learn to make Karelian Pies (karjalanpiirakka). These small savory pies are made with rye flour and rice porridge and are a staple throughout Finland. Students will get hands-on experience making the pies and can taste them at the end of the workshop. Please bring a rolling pin to use during the workshop. No experience necessary. Open to students ages 12 and up. Younger children may attend if accompanied by an adult.

Finn Horse at Sew Cranky

Sunday, January 21, 2024 – 2-5pm
Sew Cranky – 322 Quincy St. Hancock
Instructor: Ginger Alberti
Class fee: $35, advanced registration required
Materials fee: $5, paid directly to instructor
Registration closes January 18 or when sold out
SOLD OUT
Call 906-370-3722 for more information

Learn basic quilting skills to make a pieced horse quilt block that is finished and ready to hang. The mini quilt block will be approximately 8.5 inches square. Students will use hand crank sewing machines that are easy to control and a fun step back into our past of pre-electric days! Blocks can be embellished with decorative stitching if desired. People work at different paces, so if students are not finished with the project after the initial 3 hour session they are welcome to attend a follow up session at a time to be determined with the instructor.  All materials provided. Open to ages 12 and up.

August & September Events 2023

Barks & Willow Symposium

September 8-13, 2023

Join us for a week of barks and willow basketry led by artists Karen Tembreull and Poppy Hatinger. This community partnership brings together FAFS with Copper Country Community Arts Center and Ryan Street and Pewabic Street Community Gardens to host a series of workshops and free demonstrations about growing, harvesting, and making with willow and barks of all kinds. See below for specific program details and registration information. This activity is supported by the Michigan Arts and Culture Council. Please contact clare.zuraw@finlandiafoundation.org with questions. We will use a single form for online registrations, so click here to sign up for classes.

Willow Harvesting Demonstration Field Trip
Friday, September 8, 2023
10am-12pm
Calumet (address to be shared with registered participants)
SOLD OUT

Come to the beautiful town of Calumet to learn how to harvest fresh willow withes from a local grower. September is a bit too early to fully harvest fresh willow, so this event will simply be an introduction to willow growing and a demonstration. Participants should expect to leave with information and inspiration rather than willow itself. Bring your pruning shears and loppers if you have them, wear outdoor work clothes, and bring work gloves. This activity will demand some hand and upper body strength. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to the site.

Keynote Lecture: Willow in the Garden
Friday, September 8, 2023
7-8:30pm
Finnish American Heritage Center
435 Quincy St. Hancock, MI
Free admission, no registration requirement

Explore the possibilities of willow in the garden and jumpstart your creative process for working with willow as a sustainable resource. Experienced gardener and basket maker Poppy Hatinger will present the process from planting to harvest and construction of projects. Willow can be used to make garden structures both useful and whimsical. This amazing plant can thrive with little care even in our extreme climate and is sure to find a use in the home garden.

Garden Towers Workshop
Saturday, September 9, 2023
10am-4pm
Ryan Street Community Garden 
416 Ryan St. Hancock, MI
Cost: $65
SOLD OUT

Build a beautiful and useful garden structure with locally grown willow. Students will learn a three rod chase weave using a pail and an empty pizza box for a jig supplied by the instructor. Please dress in outdoor work clothes and bring a pair of gloves and a sharp pair of hand held bypass pruners. Students may also wish to pack a lunch for themselves to save time during the lunch break. Some physical agility and strength is required. It can be beneficial to have a weaving partner for an extra pair of hands, so you are welcome to bring a friend to assist you with your garden tower. Open to students 16 years or older. Younger participants welcome with an adult partner.

Cedar Bark Frogs
Saturday, September 9, 2023
5-7pm
Finnish American Heritage Center
435 Quincy St. Hancock, MI
Cost: $20
Materials fee: $10 paid directly to instructor
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

Weave and braid a sweet little frog from finely prepared cedar bark. Tools will be available to use during the workshop. This work requires some hand dexterity. Open to students 16 years and older.

Wattle Fencing Hands-On Demonstration
Sunday, September 10, 2023
1-3pm
Pewabic Street Community Garden
204 E. Houghton Ave. Houghton, MI
Free admission, no registration requirements

Come out to learn the basics of a wattle fence to edge your garden or construct a push back. Using willow both dried and fresh, we will construct a low fence at the community garden. This will be a hands-on demonstration so participants can understand and try the construction of an eco-friendly fence.

Cordage Making
Sunday, September 10, 2023
4-5:30pm
Finnish American Folk School Fiber Studio
200 Michigan St. Hancock, MI (Jutila Room 105)
Cost: $18
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

Learn to make cordage (handmade rope) with a variety of barks, stems and leaves. Students will create samples using the materials supplied. Instructors will also teach students how to make a small heart ornament with the cordage you make.

Birch Bark Journal
Monday, September 11, 2023
9am-5pm
Finnish American Folk School Fiber Studio
200 Michigan St. Hancock, MI (Jutila Room 105)
Cost: $95
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

Make a birch bark journal beginning with stitching your unique design onto the cover with a variety of yarns. Next, edge the covers with repurposed felt. The eco-printed pages will be bound with the Coptic bookbinding stitch. This is a fun class with lots to learn. Be ready to stitch the day away! Hand strength and dexterity are required. Open to adult students. Students may wish to pack a lunch for themselves to save time during the lunch break.

Willow Beads
Monday, September 11, 2023
6-8pm
Finnish American Folk School Fiber Studio
200 Michigan St. Hancock, MI (Jutila Room 105)
Cost: $25
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

Learn to use different colors of willow rods to design and create small beads. Students will make beads and string them together for a naturally beautiful bracelet to take home. Students should bring a small carving knife or pocket knife for use during class. Open to students ages 12 and up. Must be comfortable safely using a knife.

Birch Bark Seed Gathering & Winnowing Tray
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Finnish American Folk School Fiber Studio
200 Michigan St. Hancock, MI (Jutila Room 105)
9am-3pm
Cost: $70
SOLD OUT

Learn to heat and fold a basic birch bark tray. We will stitch with artificial sinew. A willow rim with a leather side handle makes for a friendly and functional piece. Tools will be available for use. Open to students ages 16 and up.

Willow Tension Tray
Wednesday, September 13
Finnish American Folk School Fiber Studio
200 Michigan St. Hancock, MI (Jutila Room 105)
9am-1pm
Cost: $50
SOLD OUT

Using dried and re-soaked willow, make a basic tension tray. Learn to make a willow hoop, and how to handle and weave willow. The weaving is secured with a fitched or twined border and wrappings are used to secure the spokes. Hand strength required. Students should bring a good pair of hand held bypass pruners, utility scissors and an apron or work shirt. Open to students ages 16 and up.

Scandinavian Birch Stars
Wednesday, September 13
Finnish American Heritage Center
435 Quincy St. Hancock, MI
2-5pm
Cost: $35
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

Learn to fold a traditional Scandinavian Birch Bark Star with flat pinwheel curls. Enough material will be provided to make two stars. Hand dexterity is needed. Open to students ages 16 and up.

Closing Gathering
Wednesday, September 13
Finnish American Heritage Center
435 Quincy St. Hancock, MI
5:30-7pm
Free, no registration requirement

Gather together with Barks and Willow Symposium students and instructors to share your work and experiences during the workshops and demonstrations of the previous week.

About the Instructors
Karen Tembreull is a fiber artist focused on basketry, with her medium derived primarily from
her environment. Her work combines traditional basketry applications with other historical fiber
arts and metalworking techniques such as piecework, lace making, and fabrication. Her basketry forms
are a celebration of the harmony that is intertwined between these materials and traditional methods.
Karen has been learning basketry since the 1980s and teaching since the early 1990s. Teaching
has continued to be a primary focus, and she has been an instructor at conferences and guilds
nationwide, with her work featured in multiple publications. She has work included in the MSU
Heritage Program traveling exhibit archives and recently wove a lifetime achievement award for
willow basket maker and teacher Joanna Schanz.

Poppy Hatinger has been making baskets since 1985, focusing on willow basketry including
growing and harvesting willow since 1990. This work with willow combines her love of both
weaving and gardening. She has studied willow techniques with German, English, Welsh,
Danish, Spanish, and American teachers. Her style combines traditional functional techniques
with experimentation in more sculptural art pieces using willow in garden structures. Poppy’s
work has been selected for the National Basketry Organization’s juried show All Things
Considered and her work has received awards from the Association of Michigan Basket
Weavers. She has been spreading her love of willow through presentations to gardening groups
for the past 15 years, presenting to the Delta County Master Gardeners, the Upper Peninsula
Master Gardeners and teaching classes for the Porcupine Mountain Folk School and the
Association of Michigan Basket Weavers.

Saturday, August 26, 2023
Finnish American Heritage Center

2pm – Introduction to Shape Note Singing Workshop
Free, no registration or experience required

7:30pm – Holy Manna Concert
This concert is come as you are, pay what you can; there are no ticket sales

This year’s Beethoven and Banjos residency will present HOLY MANNA. This program invites the audience into the practice of Sacred Harp (shape note) singing through listening and participation in this musical tradition of communal singing, and through reflections on its history and the way it resonates in the contemporary world.  The Sacred Harp is a collection of 100s of years of American hymnody (the tradition of hymn composition and performance).  Its songs include among the oldest American compositions (dating from the mid 18th-century), through the 19th-century up to 1980s.  In HOLY MANNA, we present reflections upon the different threads of music history that come together in The Sacred Harp music, and welcome you into its tradition of instrumental music and singing.

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