Meet The Instructors
2018 MASTER ARTISAN INSTRUCTORS
Living in Norway and studying Art Metals at the University of Wisconsin prepared Norma Refsal for her second career as a jewelry designer. Norma creates 21st century jewelry in Neo-Nordic styles. She specializes in Sami inspired jewelry, a Scandinavian traditional art she became familiar with while spending time north of the Arctic Circle with the indigenous Sami people. She has also studied Scandinavian folk arts with American and Norwegian artists at a variety of locations. She works in multiple mediums including metal, wood, leather, horn and bone. She and her husband, Harley, are in high demand as Scandinavian folk art teachers. They travel year-round throughout the United States and to Scandinavian countries teaching classes in their areas of specialty. Now in her third year teaching at Høstfest University, Norma Refsal has developed a word-of-mouth following that resulted in sold-out classes last year and a mailing list for notification of this year's classes.
Google flat plane woodcarving and you'll find that Harley Refsal's name is synonymous with this Norwegian art that was dying until the American-born Harley revived it. His efforts earned him a private audience with the King of Norway, who awarded Harley the prestigious St. Olav's Medal for reinvigorating and popularizing Scandinavian figure carving in North America and Norway. Harley lived in Norway on two separate occasions and speaks fluent Norwegian. Named Woodcarver of the Year in 2012 by Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine, Harley is the author of several books, including Scandinavian Style Woodcarving, Whittling Little Folk and Carving Trolls and other Scandinavian-Style Characters. He is also an excellent teacher, having taught on the college level at Luther College in Decorah, IA, where he is still a Professor Emeritus in Scandinavian Folk Art.
Vesterheim Gold Medal Award winner Nancy Schmidt is an accomplished rosemaler in various rosemaling styles, including Telemark, Gudbrandsdal, Rogaland, Os, Hallingdal and Valdres. Her work has received Best of Show awards in national competitions, she has taught classes throughout the United States, and she serves as a judge for rosemaling competitions. During a trip to Japan in 1999, she kindled an interest in this Norwegian art form among the Japanese. She has since returned to Japan several times to teach rosemaling classes, as well as across the US. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a degree in art education.
FEATURED GUEST ARTIST
Selected as the featured designer in both the summer 2018 and fall 2017 issues of the national fiber arts magazine Wool Works, Bonnie Josephson Lundorff is a well-recognized fiber artist, inspiring teacher, creative designer and successful business owner. She has taught classes in quilting, rug hooking, wool applique and needle felting for over 20 years. Making her first appearance last year as a Høstfest University instructor, Bonnie quickly developed a following that requested her return this year. Bonnie creates and shares her Scandinavian designs in wool applique and needle felting techniques with customers and students all over the upper Midwest. At home in the Minnesota woods, Bonnie owns and operates Willow Wood Market, a quilt shop/wool studio. Her original design patterns and hand dyed wool are also available at quilt shops in Wisconsin and other Minnesota locations. She is passionate about designing and working with wools and cottons, and eager to share the old-time Scandinavian arts of needle felting and wool applique with enthusiastic students.
INSTRUCTORS WITH PROVEN EXPERIENCE
Since 2006, Tammy Barclay has come from her home in Wisconsin every year to Norsk Høstfest to demonstrate Nordic knitting in Copenhagen Hall. Last year she joined Høstfest University as a first-time instructor. This year she returns to share her expertise in knitting and knowledge about the Nordic history from which her knitting projects evolve. Tammy was only 5 when she learned to knit and purl stitch at her grandmother's knee. It was the impetus for her lifelong love of fiber arts, particularly knitting. She still remembers the excitement of knitting her first Norwegian sweater as a college student, and subsequent and even more complicated Nordic designs that followed. As she teaches, she shares Nordic history and knitting projects that are of Scandinavian origin.
Teaching at Høstfest University for the first time, Cameron Christian-Weir is familiar with Norsk Høstfest in his role as a Viking Age re-enactor in the Høstfest Viking Village. In real life, Cameron is the founder and owner of Grey Goose Bows in St. Paul, MN, where he is head bowyer and teaches classes in bow making and fletching. He has taught classes and given lectures on medieval history through the nation and internationally. His students range from retired professionals to experienced craftspeople and random students like young women who became interested because of Katniss in The Hunger Game movie series. Cameron has a bachelor of arts degree in Medieval Studies and a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Augsburg University with a focus in the 100 Years War and Human Social Systems. He is a Lifelong Member of the Society of Creative Anachronism, one of the oldest Medieval Re-Creation societies in the world.
Darlene Fossum-Martin is a third-generation Norwegian who grew up on a small farm near Spring Grove, MN, the first Norwegian settlement in the state. She is a woodworker and Norwegian food specialist who has extensive experience teaching traditional Scandinavian immigrant food and kolrosing classes. She has always had a passion for the folk arts and the way her Norwegian forefathers expressed themselves through their work with their hands and hearts. She is an avid kolroser and has carved with several recognized Scandinavian carvers, including Hostfest University Instructor Harley Refsal. Her cooking style is shaped by the Norwegian foodways of her ancestors. She learned Norwegian cooking from the women in her family and expanded her interest and skills during the years she lived in Norway. Darlene, who has a degree in home economics and education, is Education Specialist at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, IA.
When she is not teaching her class, you will find Katherine Kretchmar in the Viking Village demonstrating a variety of Viking era arts and actitivities. She has been a Viking Age re-enactor for more than 25 years, teaching classes in Viking era jewelry, coin making, weaving and textiles. She also makes Viking costumes and cooks Viking food specialties. Katherine, who lives in East Bethel, MN, has a bachelor’s degree in Folklore with a minor in Anthropology from Indiana University. The married mother of two teenagers enjoys stepping back in time to days when life was, oh, so much different!
New to Høstfest University this year, Ashlyn Noble is an experienced glass and jewelry artist who has the firm belief that, with enough practice, anyone can make beautiful and functional pieces! Under her guidance in this glass, you will make your first beautiful, functional bracelet as you learn the ancient Viking technique known as trichonopoly or wireweaving. Ashlyn has been making jewelry for more than 15 years, and parlayed her talents into her thriving business, Noble & Whimsical in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she creates and sells lampwork glass and metal items. Her love of history influences her work - from Viking age wireweaving and medieval-style beads to modern glassware for display or function. Ashlyn has taught classes in Canada and the United States. Outside of class time, you will find Ashlyn demonstrating in the Viking Village at Norsk Høstfest.
At home in rural Nebraska, Kelsey Patton raises Icelandic sheep for the quality wool they produce. She sells yarns, wool, weaving supplies, patterns, designs and historical costumes at Spindle, Shuttle and Needle, the shop she owns and operates. She shears her sheep, dyes her own yarn, and uses her Viking Age spindle for spinning. On the road, she teaches Viking era classes. She has taught every year at Høstfest University and students rate her an A+ instructor! Kelsey grew up on a small farm near the Swedish town of Stromsburg, Nebraska, and began sewing for her dolls at age 6, learned to knit (incorrectly) at 8, began quilting at 9, crocheting at 10, sewing clothing at 12, and knitting (correctly, in the Scandinavian style) at 13. When Kelsey was 15, she and her mother bought their first Icelandic sheep and spinning wheel and a loom shortly after that. When Kelsey is not teaching at Høstfest University, look for her and her husband, Philip, in the Viking Village.