Finnish American Folk School

The Finnish American Folk School (FAFS) at Finlandia University was founded in 2017 to promote knowledge of 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. Classes, workshops, and performances are scheduled throughout the year, with many activities centered around the Copper Country’s Finnish festivals: Heikinpäivä (January), Juhannus/Midsummer (June), and Ruska (September).

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Winter 2023 Schedule


We welcome workshop requests or proposals. Scholarships or assistantships are available. Please contact FAFS director Phyllis Fredendall with all questions, suggestions, or scholarship requests: To register please use the online registration link in each class description or call the Finnish American Heritage Center at 906-487-7549. If you have problems with our online registration system, please email

COVID-19 Policies (updated 11/28/22)

All attendees must wear a well-fitted mask at all times during FAFS events in the Jutila Center Fiber Studio.  For FAFS events in other locations, we strongly recommend masks and instructors may require participants to mask at any time.

If you feel sick 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.

Thank you for helping us to continue offering programs as safely as possible.

Intermediate Wheel Throwing

Instructor: Kenyon Hansen
Jutila Center Ceramic Studio
8 weeks – Tuesdays + Thursdays, January 10-March 2, 6-8pm
Class fee: $400
Materials fee: $25 payable directly to instructor
Registration is now closed

This 8-week class is designed for people with at least some prior throwing experience. We will cover advanced throwing & glazing techniques to create a range of objects such as, cream & sugar sets, teapots, pitchers, and a range of covered jars. Each week will cover a different topic. This class will include two firings, one gas firing at the Jutila Center and one soda firing at Dogwood Ave Studios in Dollar Bay, MI.

Kenyon Hansen is a full-time studio potter in Dollar Bay, Michigan. He has been a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.  In 2013 he was selected as an Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly. Kenyon has taught at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Crafts, Penland School of Crafts, and Greenwich House Pottery in New York City. He has led workshops at numerous universities and art centers throughout the country.  His pottery has been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in homes all over the world.

Open Studio for Weavers

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
Jutila Center Fiber Studio

Weavers may sign up for Open Studio time, which includes the use of the studio space and equipment and 3 hours per week of project support from Phyllis Fredendall. Instructor permission is required to register for Open Studio. Please contact for more information.

Heikinpäivä returns in January 2023! This year the Finnish American Folk School will help to celebrate Hancock’s annual winter festival with a month of classes that celebrate the season and Finnish American traditions: Inkle Band Weaving, Sew a Laudeliina, Straw Himmeli, Knit a Neckwarmer, and Finnish Cookie Baking.

Inkle Band Weaving *SOLD OUT*

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
2 sessions: Wednesdays, January 11 5:30-8:30pm + January 18, 5:30-7pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio room 105 (Masks are required in the fiber studio)
Class fee: $60
Optional pick up project fee: $40 (paid directly to instructor)
Registration is now closed
Last day to register: 1/6/23 or when sold out

Design and weave a colorful strap using an inkle loom. Class one includes design work, loom dressing and how to weave.  In the second class 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. In the second session, experienced weavers inspired to work in a more complex structure will learn the pick-up technique to weave words and patterns and keep the looms for an additional week.  Looms are available for use at home with a refundable deposit. No experience necessary.

Sew a Laudeliina or Placemats

Instructor: Ginger Alberti
Saturday, January 14, 2023 – 11am-1:30pm
Location: Sew Cranky– 322 Quincy St. Hancock, MI
Class fee: $35
Materials fee: $10 (paid directly to the instructor)
Registration is now closed

Sew a linen laudeliina (sauna bench mat) or two placemats using antique hand crank sewing machines which are easy to control and operate. Sewing experience is not needed. For the advanced sewist, these machines offer a “Hands-on-History” experience. Linen is pre-washed and machine washable. Trim decoration is 100% cotton, and detailed stitching is created on an applique patch – using the excellent control that you have when sewing with a hand operated machine.

Ginger has been a clothing and craft designer for 40 years.  In the early years she was focused on ethnic design wearable/washable clothing and custom garments.  Later this branched into clothing and accessories of the 1800’s, and finally included the fascinating world of sewing with antique hand crank sewing machines.  Ginger Alberti and Mike Sabo now own a storefront in Hancock, Michigan, “Sew Cranky” where they sell antique hand crank machines, and repair all sewing machines and antique appliances.  Ginger creates delightful and original sewn items, (wearable, useful and gift) and offers classes to teach the skills of sewing many of these items at Sew Cranky — always using antique hand crank sewing machines.

Traditional Straw Himmeli Mobile

Image from: Finnish Heritage Agency Helka Mäkelä tarkastelee sisarensa tekemää himmeliä Yli-Vakkuri, Yrjö, kuvaaja 1936

Instructor: Alice Margerum
Thursday, January 19, 2023 – 5-8pm
Finnish American Heritage Center
Class fee: $30
Materials fee: $12 (paid directly to instructor)
Registration is now closed

Larger himmeli mobiles were traditionally hung above dining tables in Finland to help ensure a good harvest for the next year. In Lithuania, they were hung over cradles and used at weddings to help circulate happiness and good fortune. The delicateness of natural straw, means that these large ornaments, move in the lightest of breezes. Each student will make one approximately 12-inch-high himmeli mobile in natural straw. There will be a choice of patterns, including one based on the gigantic “himmeli” sculpture hanging in the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. The class will include instructions on the traditional method of making himmeli and working with natural straw, as well as some tips related to cutting the straw to length quickly and replacing broken straws. This class is suitable for absolute beginners. There are no special skills required, but students will need patience and must be old enough to use scissors safely.

Knit a Neckwarmer **DATE CHANGE**

Instructor: Clare Zuraw
2 sessions: Tuesdays, January 31 + February 7, 5:30-7:30pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio room 105 (Masks are required in the fiber studio)
Class fee: $50
Advanced registration required: register online or by phone 906-487-7549
Last day to register: 1/22/23 or when sold out

Knit a neckwarmer based on traditional sweater patterns from Vörå in western Finland. The class will focus on techniques used to knit stranded colorwork in the round on circular needles: yarn tension, catching floats, color dominance, reading and adapting a pattern, finishing, and more. Anyone who is able to knit and purl is welcome to register. No experience with colorwork knitting required. The class fee includes instruction and the neckwarmer pattern designed exclusively for this class. Students must bring their own circular needles and yarn. The pattern sample was knit on US7 9” circumference circular needles with two colors of worsted weight yarn. For more information about materials to bring, contact the instructor directly:

Finnish Cookie Workshop *SOLD OUT*

Instructors: Harri Kurtti and Jim Kurtti
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 – 5:30-7:30pm
Finnish American Heritage Center
Class fee: $20
This class is now sold out and registration is closed. 
Registration closes 1/22/23 or when sold out.

Learn to bake a variety of Finnish cookies. This workshop includes hands-on cookie making as well as the opportunity to taste different types of cookies.


Beginning Weaving (Evenings, Jan/Feb 2023) *SOLD OUT*

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
5 weeks: Wednesdays Jan 25, Feb 1, 8, 15, 22, 2023
Cost: $150 (includes all yarns and equipment)
This class is currently sold out. If you’d like to be added to a waiting list or sign up for a future session, please email

Students will learn to design and weave beautiful cloth on 4 and 8 harness floor and table looms.  Loom preparation, yarn selection, color choices, an

d pattern drafting will be covered.  For all levels.  Students should be motivated to create! Weaving requires manual dexterity, ability to see small objects up close, and when operating floor looms the ability to use your feet and legs. Open to ages 15 and up. Registration closes January 23 or when sold out.

Intermediate Spinning

Instructor: Jennifer Szubielak
4 weeks – Thursdays, Feb 2-23, 2023
Jutila Center Fiber Studio
Class fee: $80
Materials fee: $10 payable directly to instructor
Click here to register

This is a class for those that have basic spinning skills, as in drafting to get yarn. We will work toward intentional drafting for desired yarn thickness. Plying techniques will also be explored and practiced. Wheels are available, but if you have your own, it will be advantageous to bring it, so any project you start can be continued at home. Registration closes 1/30/23 or when sold out.

Folk Songs from Karelia Workshop (ONLINE) with Emmi Kuittinen

Photo by Sini Suomi

Folk Songs from Karelia Workshop [ONLINE]
Instructor: Emmi Kuittinen
Saturday + Sunday, February 4-5, 2023
11am-1pm EST (Please check your own local timezone.)
Class fee: $50
Click here to register
Online – video link provided to students after registration. Students should have a reliable internet connection and a device that can support Zoom. Questions? Email

Karelia is a wide area situated in Finland and Russia and it has a very rich and diverse singing culture. In this workshop you’ll get to know more about different parts of Karelia and learn some folk songs in Karelian and Finnish. We will sing old Runolaulu (like those in Kalevala) and more “modern” songs like rekilaulu and chastushka. No knowledge of Finnish or Karelian or singing is required. You are welcome as you are! Registration closes February 1 or when sold out.

Emmi Kuittinen is a folk musician, singer and songwriter, who specializes in the Karelian and Ingrian singing styles and also laments. Emmi’s main instrument is her voice and she also plays keyboard instruments, accordion, ukulele and the Finnish-Karelian instrument kantele. She performs both solo and with various ensembles. She also teaches and offers courses on lamenting and folk singing. Emmi is educated as a Master of Music and Music Educator, and has trained extensively as a Community Musician, concentrating primarily on making music in hospitals and care taking environments. She has instructed and worked with people from all ages ranging from small babies to senior citizens.

Snow Dyeing

Instructor: Phyllis Fredendall
2 sessions: Monday February 6, 5:30-7:30pm + Wednesday February 8, 5:30-6:30pm
Jutila Center Fiber Studio
Class fee: $35
Click here to register

Students will dye cotton fabric taking advantage of the plentiful snow we love, to make beautiful, surprising results.  1 yard of quilt weight cotton fabric and MX dyes will be provided.  Students must bring their own rubber gloves and dust mask to cover their COVID mask during the dye application process.  Day one is fabric prep and dye day.  Day two is rinse and discover day. Open to ages 14 and up. Registration closes 2/1/23 or when sold out.


Previous Events 2022











Fall 2021 Classes + Workshops
Inkle Weaving
Beginning Weaving
Weavers’ Open Studio
Dye Studio Foundations
Beginning Spinning
5-String Kantele for Beginners
Jouhikko for Beginners Online
Colorwork Knitting
Patchwork Birchbark Sewing Kit
Wool Feltmaking
Nordic Wood Shaving Ornaments
Beginning Broom Making 

About Us

Phyllis Fredendall is Director of the FAFS and emeritus professor of fiber and fashion design at Finlandia University.  From 1993 to 2020 she taught weaving, spinning, felt-making and off-loom structures, garment design, jacquard design, dyeing, printing, and design fundamentals. She has studied, taught, and exhibited her art work in Finland. In addition to leading the Folk School, Phyllis teaches a variety of fiber arts classes including weaving, felting, and dyeing.

Clare Zuraw is Assistant Director of the FAFS.  Clare comes to this position with a background in music, fiber arts, and education and has spent time in Finland studying the jouhikko, a Finnish bowed lyre. In addition to teaching music and fiber classes for the FAFS, Clare provides administrative support for our programs.