Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum to Teach Woodworking, Jewelry Classes at In the Chips


Are you interested in Scandinavian folk art? Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum is offering folk-art classes in figure carving and Sámi-style jewelry making in Moorhead this weekend!

The classes are taught by well-known artists Harley and Norma Refsal and will be held at In the Chips, 303 21st Street North in Moorhead, the primary location where Partner Red River Valley Woodcarvers connect.

Harley’s three-day class, “Scandinavian Style Flat-Plane Figure Carving” takes place April 27-29 and celebrates one of the most cherished traditions in the Nordic countries—working in wood. Primarily using a simple carving knife, students will learn to tell a story in wood by carving a flat-plane figure from start to finish. To register for this class, click here.

Norma is teaching two one-day classes.“Sámi Inspired Bracelets—An Introduction” will be on April 28 and “Sámi Inspired Bracelets—A Continuation” will be on April 29. (Saturday’s introduction class, or some experience in making a Sámi bracelet, is required to take the continuation class on Sunday.) Register for the Sami bracelet class here.

The Sámi are the indigenous people of the far north in Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Sámi handwork, or duodji, features both materials and design inspiration from their native lands. In each class students will make a Sámi-inspired leather bracelet with pewter thread, using traditional Sámi design, and a reindeer-antler button.

Photo courtesy of In the Chips.

Harley Refsal is a Vesterheim Gold Medalist who has taught Scandinavian figure carving throughout the United States and Norway. He was honored by H. M. Harald V, King of Norway, with the St. Olav Medal of Honor for his efforts in reinvigorating Scandinavian figure carving in both the United States and Norway.

A retired professor of Scandinavian folk art at Luther College in Decorah, he also regularly demonstrates and gives many presentations about Norwegian folk art and traditions. He is the author of several books. Harley was named the 2012 Woodcarver of the Year by the magazine “Wood Carving Illustrated.”

Norma Refsal’s passion for metal-smithing began when her family lived in Telemark, Norway, in the late 1980s.

After gaining experience, she began creating jewelry for the 21st century based on traditional Scandinavian-inspired, or neo-Nordic, designs. She creates jewelry for daily wear out of silver, leather, wood, and enamel, finding the simplicity of the design to be both timeless and elegant.

At Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum’s Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa, students and instructors create a community of learning by sharing through hands-on example. Classes include painting and rosemaling, fiber arts, woodworking, knife-making, blacksmithing, food traditions, jewelry making, Scandinavian music, and Norwegian language and culture. Instructors come from all over the country and Norway and there are one- to five-day classes and After School Programs for kids.

Find more information on Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, a complete list of classes, and registration options at vesterheim.org. More information on In the Chips is available at inthechips.weebly.com.