Høstfest attendees will learn about Nordic Folk Art at Høstfest University
Early registrations are being taken for Høstfest University.
“We take registrations all the way through (up to the event but) … we have two classes that are sold out already,” said Candi Helseth, chairwoman of Høstfest University. “The longer you wait, the more you take the chance that the one you really want will be filled.”
Helseth said people who pre-register for a class will also get $20 off the price of admission to the Norsk Høstfest on the day they attend the class.
This is the third year that Helseth has run the Høstfest University classes, which will be offered during the Norsk Høstfest at the State Fair Center from Sept. 27, 28, 29 and 30.
“It’s definitely growing,” said Helseth. “We have nine instructors this year and they are each offering two classes.”
Helseth said most of the classes are offered for $75, plus the cost of materials, and are three hours long. One of the classes is $150, plus materials, and is offered all day. The teachers are experts in different areas of the Scandinavian folk arts.
Some of the instructors this year are new. Tammy Barclay will teach courses in Nordic knitting. One class is on knitting a Nordic headband, the kind of headband that Scandinavians wear for ear protection. She will also teach a class on knitting a Nordic beret.
Helseth said Barclay will incorporate the history of knitting in Norway into her classes. According to the promotional information at høstfest.com, the art of knitting got its start in Selbu, Norway and is enjoying a revival.
Bonnie Lundorff is also a new instructor this year. She will teach a course on Nordic Wool Applique and another class on needle felting with wool. Students in the needle felting class will make a a liten tomte, a Norwegian domestic spirit.
Lundorff teaches folk art and quilting classes throughout the Midwest. She was recommended to the Høstfest by the Minot Quilters Guild, according to Helseth.
Debi Feyh, in her second year as an instructor, is teaching Sami mica embroidery. The embroidery, practiced by the Sami people of the Nordic lands, incorporates chips of the shiny mica. Students will complete a triple layer wall hanging in the Sami colors of red, green, blue and yellow. Feyh will also discuss the history of the art and display some of her own mica embroidery art. Feyh will also teach a class on Swedish birch bark embroidery. The class will include four stitches, including darning, diagonal, goose-eye and ground. The stitching is done from the backside of the fabric. Class participants can either make a bell pull or a candle wrap.
Feyh learned the Swedish birch bark technique in Sweden.
Helseth said surveys show that some of the classes most in demand at Høstfest University are those related to jewelry making, carving and rosemaling.
“We have classes in all of those with instructors that are extremely well qualified,” said Helseth.
A Swedish class in binding with a needle is taught by Kelsey Patton. The craft goes back to the Viking era. It is similar to knitting and crocheting but is 1,000 years older than those techniques. Students in the class will make a heavy duty coaster.
Norma Refsal will teach a class in custom making a Sami ring and another in making a Sami bracelet. One class in making a Sami bracelet is already filled up. Students will craft the jewelry out of leather, reindeer antler and pewter thread, using materials from Sweden. Refsal learned the technique when she lived in Norway and visited Sami people.
Harley Refsal will teach a course in carving a nisse or tomte out of wood. According to the promotional material, he said he can teach anyone who can peel a carrot to carve the little man out of wood. He will also teach another class in kolrosing (coal rosing) carving. The technique is basically wood tattooing. Scandinavians traditionally made kitchen utensils, which they decorated using coal dust or pine bark sawdust to highlight or darken detail. Students in the class will use a whittling knife to make the utensil and then create designs.
Refsal will also teach a full day class on “carving a wooden companion.” Students in the class will learn wood carving techniques and learn how to carve a folk art character that they design. While all of the other classes are $75, plus varying fees for materials, this class will be $150, plus materials fees of $15 per figure, per student.
Nancy Schmidt will teach a class in Os-Style Rosemaling. The style from Norway’s west coast uses bright colors, stylized flowers, leaves, scrolls and geometric shapes. Students in the class will use oil paints to create their own rosemaling designs.
Teresa McCue-Thompson is teaching a class in the popular technique of Telemark rosemaling, which is also sold out.
Helseth said the classes will be taught in new rooms at the State Fair Center that will offer better lighting and a more comfortable space for people to work.
The classes are intended for adults, but children 12 and over will be permitted to enroll if they sign up with a parent.