Høstfest University Opens For Enrollment

August 19, 2014

Few things are more fascinating at Norsk Høstfest than watching the talented artisans doing their work inside Copenhagen Hall. Encountering such a wide range of artwork and skill—all on display simultaneously—is a uniquely enriching element of the festival enjoyed by artisans and Høstfest attendees alike.


Thanks to the vision of one of those artisans, the 2014 festival experience can be elevated by enrolling in Høstfest University (HU), a series of hands-on classes taught by the artists themselves.


Woodcarver Cooper Ternes says his idea for the university was born of a simple goal. “I want to give people a chance to do some of the things they get to watch,” he said. “I know from my own experience people want to get more involved if you give them the opportunity, so I wanted to set it up so people could take part in something that a lot of us get a lot of enjoyment out of doing.”


And the classes that will be offered as part of HU are as varied as the artists themselves. From woodcarving with masters of the trade, to embroidery projects with skilled Bunad makers, to Sami bracelet making with expert crafters, students will be given the chance to literally try their hand at simple projects under the instruction of the artisans. Ternes says having the opportunity to try out the tools and techniques the experts will not only be a learning experience, but one that produces a tangible benefit as well.


“People will be coming to learn, but they’ll be leaving with a product they made,” he said. “Someone will be able to take that and say, ‘You know I can do this!’ ”


Ternes says sharing the passion for traditional Nordic handiwork is something the artisans truly enjoy, and Høstfest itself provides a perfect vehicle for that cultural exchange.


“Høstfest has traditional music and dancing and food that everyone can experience for themselves every year, but this year we’re adding the material culture to that, to be able to make things that are quintessentially Scandinavian,” he said.


Anyone looking to enhance their Høstfest experience — regardless of skill level — is encouraged to enroll in one of the many classes being offered. Class sizes are being kept purposefully small — limited to just eight students per class — in order to provide students with intimate instruction and interaction with the artisans and their trade. There are both half-day and full-day sessions available, with festival admission included in fees.


Ternes, who’s has attended Høstfest as an artisan several times, says it’s the zeal for Scandinavian culture that keeps him coming back and inspired him to organize Høstfest University. “I just love seeing all these people excited about the same culture and aesthetic that I’m excited about,” he said. “I think it’s pretty much that simple.”


Enrollment in Høstfest University is open to all Høstfest guests, and requires preregistration by calling the Høstfest office at (701) 852-2368. A list of classes and descriptions can be found at