Fall brings fresh Finnish arts, university exhibits, fond farewells
Art's Corner by Miriam Pickens
Summer is winding down. The apples are ripening and there is a tinge of red in the maple trees. Classrooms across the UP are opening up amid concerns, and once again the global pandemic reminds us that we are all connected.
Since 2017, the Finnish American Folk School has offered our community a unique learning experience in traditional Finnish arts, crafts, and culture as a part of Festival Ruska, an autumn celebration of Finlandia’s Finnish roots. This fall, Phyllis Fredendall, emeritus professor of fiber and fashion design at Finlandia, will be leading the school in a series of fiber-related classes along with Karen Tembreull, Gini Gesler, Clare Zuraw, and Jenny Szubielak.
Tembreull is a nationally recognized mixed media basket weaver focused on natural materials such as bark and roots. Szubielak will teach a class on spinning your own yarn, while Gesler and Zuraw will teach advanced techniques in knitting. Fredendall will be teaching an assortment of classes ranging from wool felting and fabric dying to techniques of weaving. These classes will take place in the amazing Fiber Studio at the Jutila Center in Hancock on various evenings and weekends from September through early November.
Fredendall is really enthusiastic about this offering.
“We have such beautiful facilities and wonderful equipment,” she said, “And I am delighted to share this with the community.”
Registration is already underway, and you can register online here or email email@example.com for more information. Additional folk classes will be announced in the months to come, such as log sauna building, knife making, and more.
There is a wonderful art show at the Finlandia University Gallery in the Finnish American Heritage Center called “Copper Planted Seeds” by Ashanté Kindle and Khari Turner. Kindle is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) at the University of Connecticut, and Turner is pursuing his MFA at Columbia University in New York. With this work, they are exploring what it means to be a Black American. Finlandia University Gallery Director Carrie Flaspohler told me that when she contacted these artists about displaying their work at the Finlandia Gallery, they asked her to tell them a bit about the Copper Country. She told them about our copper mining history and about sisu. The artists actually created new work for the show which found conceptual bridges between the themes of their work and our local area. Flecks of copper and Sisu are incorporated into these highly textural pieces.
Khari Turner presents four stunning portraits in an abstracted figurative style. Passionate about the struggles of Black Americans, the issue of water is very important in Turner’s work. He utilizes water from the Coast of Senegal, the Manhattan Docks, the Milwaukee River, Lake Michigan, and the Pacific Ocean in his work, either as a liquid for painting or sprayed onto the work.
My favorite of his paintings is called “A Moment to Rest”, which looks like a student taking a momentary break from studying, and had me thinking about the upcoming semester.
Kindle’s work consists of very textural pieces that play with color and blackness, inspired by the natural waves and textures in Black hair. “Infinitely Flowing in the Truth Of My Existence” is a large acrylic painting on canvas that has a dynamic rhythm that moves and changes as it reflects the ambient light. These works form a beautiful collection and complement each other perfectly in the gallery space.
This exhibit opened on July 28 and will run until Oct. 5. The in-person closing reception with the artists will be on Thursday, Sept. 30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The artist talk will begin at 7:20 p.m.
At Michigan Tech there are two art exhibits opening this month. Michigan Tech’s College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences and Department of Visual and Performing Arts collaborated with Project Coyote on a multimedia art exhibit, “The Spirit of the Hunt”.
The exhibit focuses on the beauty of wolves and natural carnivores. It will run through Oct. 17 in the U.J. Noblet Forestry Building. Catherine Plank, a graduate student in ecosystem science and management at the University of Michigan and curator of the exhibit, spoke at the opening event on Friday, along with John Vucetich, Ph.D., professor of animal ecology at Michigan Tech, and co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project. Local artist Joyce Koskenmaki and Kalamazoo artist Ladislav Hanka are featured in this exhibit. Their works are for sale, proceeds going to Project Coyote.
There will be a new exhibit by artist Tiffany Lange, who currently resides and works in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area, in Gallery A-Space at the Rosza with an installation in the lobby.
“Hyperconnection” is a multimedia exhibit of abstract works that examine the overstimulation and stress of working through the quarantine; always plugged in online instead of having “genuine interaction”. The opening will be Friday, Sept. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m., and the exhibit will run through Nov. 7.
Ed Gray (Jikiwe) was an incredible ceramic artist and a principal founder of the Calumet Art District. He developed the Vertin Gallery, The Ed Gray Gallery which is now known as The Gallery on 5th, as well as the Calumet Arts Center where he was the executive director until 2018. The arts community is saddened to hear about his passing on Aug. 27, in Traverse City.