MINNEAPOLIS— This summer, the American Swedish Institute (ASI) and the North House Folk School will host a delegation of four lead instructors and the director from Sätergläntan, one of Sweden’s most preeminent institutions for the practice and preservation of handcrafting.
The visitors will host a series of special workshops and intimate classes at ASI and North House Folk School in celebration of Sätergläntan’s 100thanniversary.
“We have had a strong connection with Sätergläntan, and we’re thrilled to host several of their instructors here at North House,” shared North House Folk School program director Jessa Frost.
“Again and again, Americans have looked to Sätergläntan for its network of incredible instructors and students to learn about practicing Swedish handcraft in both new and old ways—there simply is nowhere else like it in the US (or even Sweden!), so it will remain an important resource for ASI,” said Erin Swenson-Klatt, Food and Handcraft Programs Coordinator at ASI.
Since 2017, North House’s Artisan Development Program participants have traveled to Sätergläntan to build connections and learn from the leading masters in the Swedish Craft tradition. North House formalized this relationship in 2019 with the Swedish school to facilitate further regular exchanges of instructors and emerging artisans.
“We are excited to have our friends and neighbors connect with Sätergläntan during their visit to Minnesota,” shared Greg Wright, Executive Director at North House Folk School. “It is my hope that as a result of this trip new connections will emerge, the relationships between North House and Sätergläntan will be strengthened, and the imagination of craftspeople will be sparked!”
After hosting coursework on North House’s campus, the delegation will join North House for the annual Wooden Boat Show on June 16-18 in Grand Marais, MN. The community is invited to share in the celebration of Sätergläntan’s 100th birthday with a pie social on June 16 and craft demonstrations by the instructors on June 17.
Following the visit to Grand Marais, the delegation will visit Minneapolis to teach five courses in partnership with the American Swedish Institute. The partnerships with Fireweed, the Minnesota Weavers’ Guild, and the Chicago Arts Fire Arts Center allow handcraft enthusiasts to meet and learn from these experts in-person. ASI will also host a free Makers Night on June 22, where the public can bring a project to work on and meet the Sätergläntan delegation. In concert with the delegation visit, ASI’s newest exhibition, “Leaving your Mark: Stories in Wood,” (Opening June 14) will feature pieces made by Sätergläntan instructors while showcasing some of Sweden’s most celebrated handcraft practitioners next to the newest generation of woodcarvers.
Located in the culturally rich region of Dalarna, Sweden, Sätergläntan is a modern-day meeting place where artists from around the globe travel to share ideas and learn from some of the world’s best artisans. Many icons of Swedish culture have roots in this region, including the Dala horse and the Mora knife. Today, Sätergläntan’s core programs include woodworking, weaving, sewing, and metalwork. By focusing on preservation and education, students learn the complete process of their craft from start to finish. Sätergläntan’s students start with the raw materials, whether that’s harvesting trees to be used for woodworking or making coal to be used in the blacksmith shop.
“We from Sätergläntan are deeply grateful to share our 100-year celebration at North House and ASI. Some years ago, we started talking about celebrating 100 years of crafting. Then came a pandemic and it was hard to imagine what our collaboration would be like,” said Monika Jönsson, Operations Manager of Sätergläntan. “And now, we can celebrate both the fact that we can meet and the 100 years of crafts. We are so grateful for the help of North House and ASI for all the support with funding and practical support.”
- Beth Moen – Woodcarving
- Johanna Runbäck – Sewing
- Susanna Ayton – Weaving
- Johan Säfström – Blacksmith
More information about the Sätergläntan visit can be found at northhouse.org and asimn.org. This visit is possible thanks to the support from the American Scandinavian Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board.
American Swedish Institute (ASI), designated to the National Register for Historic Places, home of the Turnblad Mansion, a historic castle-like mansion, museum and cultural center, and a gathering place for all people to explore diverse experiences of migration, identity, belonging, and the environment through arts and culture, informed by enduring links to Sweden. ASI, which received the Best Practices Award from the Association of Midwest Museums, is an organization The Wall Street Journal calls “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming,” is located at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis.
North House Folk School enriches lives and builds community by teaching traditional northern crafts in a student-centered learning environment that inspires the hands, the heart, and the mind. Established by a team of community volunteers in 1997, North House is located on the Grand Marais Harbor on the North Shore of Lake Superior and teaches everything from blacksmithing and basketry to timber framing and sailing. North House has grown to host 400+ craft courses in typical years, connecting approximately 3,000 enrolled students of all ages, ability levels, and backgrounds with hands-on learning each year.