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).

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.

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COVID-19 Policies (updated 8/1/22)

All attendees must wear a well-fitted mask at all times during indoor FAFS events. High-filtration masks such as N95s, KN95s, or KF94s are strongly recommended. Masks are not required for outdoor events.

If you feel sick before a class or concert, 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.


Juhannus 2022 at the Folk School 


This year the Finnish American Folk School will host two visiting artists to help us celebrate midsummer in Hancock thanks to generous support from the American Scandinavian Foundation. Weaver Wynne Mattila will be teaching a 5-day rug weaving workshop in the Folk School Fiber Studio. Violinist and composer Sara Pajunen will debut new work in the Finlandia University Gallery, perform, and teach. We hope you’ll be able to join us to celebrate summer! For more information, see below to register online or call 906-487-7549.

Folk School at Midsummer at Finlandia University Gallery

Sara Pajunen

Opening Reception with Presentations by Sara Pajunen and Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen
Wednesday, June 22nd 7pm
Finlandia University Gallery
Admission: Free, no registration required

The Finnish American Folk School celebrates the work of the instructors and students with The Folk School at Midsummer, an exhibition in the Finlandia University Gallery at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.  The work of guest artist-instructors Sara Pajunen, Wynne Mattila, Anita Salminen Jain, Liv Aanrud and local instructors Karen Tembruell, Phyllis Fredendall, Clare Zuraw, Alice Margerum, Lindsey Heiden, Kenyon Hansen and their students fills the gallery with the inspirations and results of folk school programming. The opening reception will highlight a new composition by Sara Pajunen, commissioned by the Folk School. On Wednesday, June 22 during the opening reception, folklorist Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen will join Sara to present and contextualize this new installation.

Folk School Juhannus Dance

Thimbleberry Band: Oren Tikkanen, Tom Collins, Matthew Durocher, Dave Bezotte

Join violinist Sara Pajunen and Thimbleberry Band for an evening of traditional music and dance.
Friday, June 24th 7:30-9:30pm
Finnish American Heritage Center
Admission: $10 in advance by 6/23, $15 at the door
Masks required
Click here to purchase advance tickets.

Song Workshop with Sara Pajunen

Saturday, June 25th, 1-3pm
Quincy Green
Admission: $20, advanced registration required
Click here to register

Learn to sing Finnish songs with Sara Pajunen. Participants will learn the words, melodies, and stories of a handful of Finnish songs and sing them together as a group. Sara will help with Finnish pronunciation and provide English translations. No singing or Finnish language experience is necessary.

Artist Bio: Sara Pajunen is a violinist and composer who has received music degrees in both the United States and Finland and holds a Master of Music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory (Boston). Centering projects on themes of culture, immigration, home, and progress, she has released six albums in connection with her Finnish ancestry – including the most recent Aallotar recording on German label Nordic Notes. In 2018, Pajunen launched ‘Mine Songs,’ a long-term project that explores the altered landscape of the Mesabi Iron Range (her childhood and ancestral home) through sound and image. She was the 2015-16 Finlandia Foundation Performer of the Year and her work has received funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Koneen Säätiö, and the Arts Council of Finland.

Cotton Rug Weaving Workshop *SOLD OUT*

Wynne Mattila Weaving Studio

Monday-Friday, June 20-24, 2022, 10am-5pm EDT
Instructor:  Wynne Mattila
Jutila Center Room 105

This workshop is currently sold out. If you’d like to be added to the waiting list in case of a cancellation, please email and include “Waiting List” in the subject line.

In this workshop, color artist and weaver Wynne Mattila will lead students in weaving a Finnish-style cotton rug. Participants will weave a 27 inch wide by 62 inch long rug with cotton fabric weft, 15-ply Finnish seine twine warp, and the alternating 3-shuttle technique.  Color, design, and craftsmanship will be emphasized, and participants are challenged to use color beyond their comfort level.  Practical topics include lashing on, cutting fabric in one continuous strip, tension, using a temple, floating selvedges, end finishes and more.

Handouts include color and design ideas and inspiration, photos and fabric samples, information on calculating the quantity of fabric needed, and selecting and preparing fabric.  Handouts will be emailed before the start of the workshop.  Participants provide their own fabric for weft and specified warp.  Participants will warp floor looms in plain weave and sett at 5 epi in a 10 dent reed.  Looms need to be warped to the point the reed is sleyed before the start of the workshop. The studio will be open to participants the weekend before the workshop to allow them to warp their looms.

Red Landscape by Wynne Mattila

Cost: $350 in advance plus $20 non-refundable materials fee paid to the instructor on first day of class.

If you have questions about the class or would like information about on-campus housing available during this workshop, please contact Phyllis Fredendall

Skill level:  This workshop is open to students with prior weaving experience.  Participants must be able to wind a warp, read a draft, and warp a floor loom independently.



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.