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Step into a vibrant world of creativity at the Artisan Market of Norsk Høstfest. Festival-goers are immersed in a bustling marketplace filled with exquisite handcrafted treasures from skilled artisans. Wander through rows of booths showcasing a diverse array of crafts, from intricate woodwork and delicate textiles to stunning jewelry and unique ceramics. Engage with the artisans themselves, learning about their craft techniques and stories behind each creation. With live demonstrations and interactive experiences, the Artisan Market offers a sensory journey into the heart of Scandinavian craftsmanship. Discover one-of-a-kind treasures and immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of Norsk Høstfest.

Don Karsky and his wife, Julie, own Scandinavian Flag Weaving from St. Croix Falls, Wis. The couple has been a vendor at Norsk Høstfest since 1988, selling hand-woven Nordic flags, placemats and table runners. “We bought an antique loom for $2.50 in 1972,” says Karsky. “We started collecting string and set-up the loom about 10 years later.”

He notes one of his first customers wanted a placemat in yellow and blue, because they were Swedish. It was Julie who had the idea to weave the Swedish flag and took it to a show. “At that show, Pam Davy, who was associated with the Norsk Høstfest at the time, invited us to the Norsk Høstfest. The rest is history! We haven’t missed a year until COVID-19.”

It takes the Karskys about seven hours to set up their booth at Norsk Høstfest. “Our selling point is that we bring a loom, and we weave live wherever we go,” he says. “We make some of the weaving on location right before your eyes. If we don’t weave, it isn’t believable that one person could weave all the products. People love their Scandinavian heritage.”

“We keep coming back to Norsk Høstfest because of the people,” adds Karsky. “The road family, some of which we have been at shows with since 1988, and the customers. Not just people who purchase from us, but people who come by and visit. We appreciate people stopping and visiting just the same as a customer.” Karsky notes it is fun to be part of something that is bigger than themselves at the festival. “We hope there is another generation of volunteers, vendors and the people who attend the Høstfest.” The Karsky’s booth will be located in Copenhagen Hall, along with the other demonstrators.

Phil Holtan grew up in the woods along the Winnebago River, north of Forest City, Iowa, one of 8 children of Stan and Ruth Holtan, farmers, weavers and carvers.  He worked with his hands and became a craftsman and woodworker. Now a retired Lutheran pastor, Phil Holtan is an award-winning woodturner often inspired by his Scandinavian heritage.

He believes that his calling is to explore the gifts we have from God and use them for the service of others. For Phil, that means making beauty with wood and making joy, justice and community with other people. From hunting his own burls to selling his bowls, Phil is truly a Man of the Word and a Man of the Wood.

Working with wood is his passion.

  • – the wood itself, especially in its most humble and distressed forms,
  • – the energizing burst of a new idea and the painstaking pace of problem solving,
  • – the challenge of mastering tools to bring into being what I had only imagined,
  • – the community formed of loggers and clients and fellow turners, And when all goes well,
  • – the serendipitous harmony of color and curve, touch and translucence.

For Phil, turning a bowl is an act of both faith and imagination. Some artists use wood as a mute vehicle for their vision.  He aims to be a partner, to work with the wood to show off its beauty and tell a story. Often those stories reflect his Norwegian tradition and its deep reverence for wood.

In his callings both as a pastor and an artist, he is reminded that God doesn’t work with perfect materials either. He trusts that in this distressed and unlikely wood, burled, decayed, worm eaten, twisted, bird-pecked, in this least likely looking material, most of all, there is the promise of beauty.

For over 40 years, he has been a part of thousands of woodturners’ journeys in helping to deepen their craft, often for the very first time. It’s one of his favourite things about woodturning – sharing his vocation with others.

I’m Rachael Koppendrayer—artist, illustrator, writer, and lover of stories.

Raised on the small dairy farm in central Minnesota that my great-grandfather established when he emigrated from Sweden, I grew up surrounded by field and pasture, woods and swamp—all ripe for exploration and inspiration. Though I have traveled the world since, it is the images of my home and heritage that continue to inspire my artwork most.

Originally from the magic city of Minot, North Dakota, I moved to Upstate NY after high school. That’s where I fell in love with printmaking, paper, and graphic design. After college I went into graphic design, but missed the handmade element. When we moved back to ND, I got to focus more on making for myself. I love learning new processes and forms of making art. Outside of art, I love nachos, hip hop (but real like Tribe, Nas, Big), and a good political satire podcast. I listen to a lot of audio things because my hands are busy. But on occasion I do get some Netflix and Quill time. Hanging with my tiny humans having dance parties.

See Lang Design was born out of a desire to make gifts for friends, then they would order gifts for their friends and it kept growing from there. The name “See Lang Design” comes from my last name and the fact that I didn’t want to limit the name to just one media (although we all know I love a good quilling pun). See Lang Design felt right, because you can see me design but also draw, paint, and quill. And a play-off of the See Jane Run —but let’s be honest the only thing I’m running is to a cupcake or away from a zombie. I’ve done a lot of hand-lettering, paper cutting, painting, and quilling. I like to call myself a Rebel Quiller because I don’t use it in the traditional form. Traditionally, Quilling is under glass or on paper (think greeting cards). I like to quill on wood mixing the fragile with the strong surface.  Like myself, it’s a little bit extra. I love to fill the surface with lots of details and texture. For me it’s more like a medium… painting with paper, I like to say. Chillin and Quillin year-round.

a look back at the 2023 festival artisans

Urweg-Nordic Tribal Jewelry

Lindauer Fine art

David Susag

Bacic Woodworking

Karen Hanke Rosemaling

Skanderna Wood Works

Phil Holtan Wood Turning

Larsen Hardanger Fiddles

Scandinavian Weaving

Coffee Art

Rosemaling By Teresa

Ossian Kidholm

Lusk Scandia Woodworks