Finnish American Folk School

The Finnish American Heritage Center and the Jutila Center are the primary sites of the Finnish American Folk School (FAFS).

Through the creation of an inter-generational, multi-national Finnish folk school at the Heritage Center (and nearby satellite sites) we’re developing a sustainable system through which Finnish cultural traditions are learned by folk school attendees and subsequently taught by those attendees to future generations.

The activities take place at times when the Copper Country traditionally hosts Finnish culturally-themed festivals: Heikinpäivä (January), Juhannus/Midsummer (June), and Ruska (September).

2021-22 Programming

Juhannus

2021 Juhannus festivities were suspended due to the public health concerns surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak. This included all planned Finnish American Folk School activities.

For more information about future Juhannus celebrations, or the Finnish American Folk School, visit the Finnish American Heritage Center at 435 Quincy Street in Hancock, call (906) 487-7549, or email phyllis.fredendall@finlandia.edu.

Juhannus is an annual celebration at Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center, incorporating Finnish American Folk School (FAFS) workshops into a festival atmosphere. The FAFS, which is made possible by a grant from Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, is designed to provide instruction in Finnish folk arts, with a goal of creating a new generation of tradition bearers in Michigan’s Copper Country and beyond.

 

Festival Ruska

Finlandia University’s roots are in Finland, and the university celebrates those roots with an eclectic event appropriately named Festival Ruska. Festival Ruska typically includes an abundance of Finnish American Folk School programming, with classes in traditional music and handicrafts. A printable class schedule for Festival Ruska 2021 can be found here: 2021 FAFS Ruska Class Schedule . For more information about any aspect of Festival Ruska, contact the Finnish American Heritage Center at (906) 487-7549 or (906) 487-7347, or email phyllis.fredendall@finlandia.edu.
Please Note:  All FAFS students are required to wear a proper mask for all Folk School classes, regardless of vaccination status, effective through December 31, 2021.
Inkle Weaving class

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Wednesday, Sept. 8 and 15, 5 pm-8 pm
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Design and weave a colorful belt, strap, or band on a simple loom.  All levels.  Class fee: $60, includes supplies.  Click here to register.

 

Inkle Weaving class

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Monday, Sept. 20 and 27, 2 pm-5 pm
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Design and weave a colorful belt, strap, or band on a simple loom.  All levels.  Class fee: $60, includes supplies.  Click here to register.

 

Weavers’ Open Studio with technical assistance

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Wednesdays, 1 pm-4 pm – Sept. 8-Nov. 3
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

$50/week maximum studio access, or $20/4 hours access to the studio per week. 2, 4, 8, and 16 harness floor looms available. Instructor permission required.

 

Beginning Weaving class

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
5 weeks – Tuesdays, 6 pm-8:30 pm – Sept. 14-Oct. 12
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Learn to weave 2 and 4 harness structures – loom dressing, draft reading, project planning, and weaving!  Supplies for samples provided.  Maximum 8 students.  Class fee: $150. Click here to register.

 

Beginning Weaving class

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
5 weeks – Wednesdays, 10 am-12:30 pm – Sept. 1-Oct. 13
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Learn to weave 2 and 4 harness structures – loom dressing, draft reading, project planning, and weaving!  Supplies for samples provided.  Maximum 8 students.  Class fee: $150. Click here to register.

 

Dye Studio Foundations workshop

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Wednesday, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 5 pm-7:30 pm
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Learn to use the FAFS studio facilities to dye cotton, linen, silk, and wool.  Dyes, sample fabrics, and yarn provided.  Students bring their own rubber gloves and dust masks.  After completing the course students may sign up to rent the dye studio by the week.  Maximum 6 students.  Class fee: $80. Click here to register.

 

Beginning Spinning

Instructor: Jenny Szubielak
6 weeks – Mondays 6 pm-8:00 pm – Sept. 20-Oct. 25
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Learn to spin your own yarn!  Wool provided. Maximum 7 students.  Class fee: $100. Click here to register.

 

5-String Kantele for Beginners

Instructor: Kay Seppala
5 weeks – Tuesdays, 6:30-7:30 pm – starting Oct. 12

Finnish American Heritage Center – Community Hall

Learn the basics of the Kantele, a traditional Finnish plucked string instrument.  Bring your own instrument, or kanteles are available for use with a $120 fully refundable deposit.  Maximum 10 students.  Registration deadline by Oct. 10.  Class fee: $50.  Email Kay with questions: seppala@up.net  Click here to register.

 

Intermediate/Advanced Colorwork Knitting techniques

Instructor: Clare Zuraw
Thursday, 5 pm-7 pm – Oct. 21 and 28
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Maximum 10 students.  Class fee: $40 (students bring materials). Click here to register. Click here to register.

 

Sock Knitting for in-the-round

Instructor: Gini Gesler
Saturday, 2 pm-4 pm – Oct. 23, 30, and Nov. 6
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Maximum 12 students.  Class fee: $60, plus materials. Click here to register.

 

Buellwood Weavers and Fiber Artists guild retreat

Saturday, Oct. 2 – 9 am-5 pm
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

 

Patchwork Birchbark Sewing Kit workshop

Instructor: Karen Tembreull
Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-4 pm (with lunch break) – Oct 9 and 10
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Maximum 12 students.  Class fee: $85 ($45 materials/$40 fee).  Click here to register.

 

Wool Feltmaking

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-4 pm – Oct. 16 and 17
Jutila Center, Room 105 – 200 Michigan St., Hancock, MI

Learn various surface design techniques and then make a seamless wallpocket, pouch, tea cozy, or bag using methods Phyllis learned in Finland.  Maximum 12 students.  Class fee: $75, materials included.  Click here to register.

 

Nordic Wood Shaving Ornaments

Instructor: Alice Margerum
Saturday, 10 am-noon – Nov. 6
Jutila Center, Model shop – 1st floor (basement level)

Students will build at least one ornament during the class and leave with supplies to make more at home.  Open to all ages. Class fee: $20.  Click here to register.

 

Beginning Broom Making

Instructor: Sandy Lindblom
Saturday, 10 am-1 pm – Dec. 4

Make a decorative, functional whisk broom.  All broom materials provided with many color options.  Students can bring trinkets, dried flowers, or herbs for additional decorations if they like.  Make a Christmas broom!  Maximum 6 students.  Class fee: $40.  Click here to register.

 

We welcome workshop requests or proposals.  Scholarships or assistantships available – one per class.  With all questions and suggestions please email: phyllis.fredendall@finlandia.edu with FAFS in the subject line.  Call the Finnish American Heritage Center to register at 906-487-7549 or use the online registration link in each class description.

 

Heikinpäivä

In 1999, the Finnish Theme Committee of the City of Hancock created a new Finnish-American celebration – Heikinpäivä. The celebration’s themes are taken from Finnish folk saying associated with the name day for Heikki (Henrik’s day — 19 January). By far, the Finns make up the largest ethnic group of Michigan’s Copper Country. In Hancock approximately 40 percent of the population claimed Finnish ancestry in the most recent federal census.

Finnish speaking residents of the Copper Country still recall the proverbs their parents and grandparents brought with them from Finland. In particular, the weather proverbs connected with St. Henrik’s Day have been retained in the Hancock area, where huge amounts of winter snow are the norm. “Karhu kylkeänsä kääntää” (The bear rolls onto his other side), “Heikki heinät jakaa” (Heikki divides the hay) and ultimately, “Talven selkä poikki” (winter’s back is broken). The bear – an ancient Finnish and Saame symbol — figures well in the celebration.

There’s something for everyone. Follow the links to next annual Heikinpäivä and plan to be there!