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: email@example.com. To register please use the online registration link in each class description or call the Finnish American Heritage Center at 906-487-7549.
COVID-19 Policies (1/14/22)
The FAFS requires that all instructors and participants be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. If you wish to submit proof of vaccination before an event you may email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may show a photo of your vaccine card with a photo ID when you arrive at the event.
All attendees must wear a well-fitted mask at all times during FAFS events. High-filtration masks such as N95s, KN95s, or KF94s are strongly recommended.
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.
Upcoming Events – 2022
Beginning/Intermediate Wheel Throwing
8 sessions – Tuesdays + Thursdays, June 7-30, 6-8pm EDT
Instructor: Kenyon Hansen
Jutila Center Ceramic Studio
Fee: $200, includes materials
Have you ever wanted to learn how to spin clay on a pottery wheel? This class is designed for intro level students to learn the basics of wheel throwing & glazing. In the first 6 classes students will learn how to wedge, center, form, and trim a range of functional pottery shapes. Including cups, mugs, bowls, plates, and vases. Class 7 will cover glazing, & class 8 we will unload the kiln and discuss the results! Throwing clay on a pottery wheel is physically demanding; it can be heavy (depending on the amount) and wedging clay puts stress on your wrists. This class is open to students ages 16 and up (younger if accompanied by a parent). Registration is open until June 6 or when the class is sold out. Fee is $200. Click here to register.
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.
Saturdays, June 11 + 18, 10am-12pm EDT
Instructor: Clare Zuraw
Jutila Center Fiber Studio Room 105
Learn to knit socks! In two sessions we’ll cover sock knitting from the cuff down, focusing on tricks for knitting with double-pointed needles, creating and turning the heel, and finishing the toe. Students should have some knitting experience and be comfortable with knit and purl stitches. Open to ages 12 and up. Fee: $50. Registration closes June 3rd or when sold out. Students may choose to borrow needles and use yarn from the studio or bring their own. Please contact the instructor by email to discuss specific material choices: email@example.com. Click here to register.
Song Workshop with Sara Pajunen
Saturday, June 25th, 1-3pm
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. Click here to register.
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.
Finnish-Style Cotton Rug Weaving Workshop *SOLD OUT*
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.com
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.
Participants should bring to workshop:
- Workshop handouts emailed to you.
- For the warp we will use Swedish 12/9 seine twine or Finnish 15-ply seine twine. Sources will be included in the materials list from Wynne which will be sent 5 weeks before the beginning of the workshop. A bulk order can be made. Wynne says typically weavers like to buy a full cone which gives them the chance to make another rug at home.
- Prepped fabric (washed and dried, sewn, ironed)—total of approx. 10 1/2 yards of 44” wide quilters’ cotton fabric will be used in the rug. Minimum 3 fabrics required; more preferred for design possibilities. Do not cut the fabric prior to the workshop.
- Temple (stretcher) to accommodate the 27” wide project—metal Toika-type preferred.
- Scrap knit fabric for the header—an old cotton t-shirt will work.
- Approx. 2 ounces of scrap wool rug yarn for the header, any color, will be removed when finishing ends.
- Stick shuttles (approx. 21” long), need 1 per fabric.
- Remaining seine twine warp on cone for weaving the hem.
- Tape measure.
- Rotary cutter, plastic cutting guide, and mat–if you already own these items.
- Graph paper and colored pencils to record as you weave.
Previous Events 2022
Fall 2021 Classes + Workshops
Weavers’ Open Studio
Dye Studio Foundations
5-String Kantele for Beginners
Jouhikko for Beginners Online
Patchwork Birchbark Sewing Kit
Nordic Wood Shaving Ornaments
Beginning Broom Making
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.