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The Living Tradition of Ryijy – Finnish Rugs and their Makers

May 31, 2014 to Nov 02, 2014

2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Modern Finnish Immigration movement to North America and celebrations will take place across Minneapolis this summer, culminating in FinnFest, North America’s largest gathering of Finnish and Finnish-American communities, in August. 

The Living Tradition of Ryijy – Finnish Rugs and their Makers showcases the development of the ryijy rug in Finland over the course of 300 years - from its origin as a utilitarian cloth woven for use as coverlets and bedding into today’s expressive bright and modern designs used as textile art, often involving innovative techniques and experimental fabrics.   The Living Tradition of Ryijy comes to ASI from the Savaria Museum in Budapest, Hungary and is culled from the private collection of Dr. Tuomas Sopanen, the largest collector of ryiy in Finland.

The Living Tradition of Ryijy – Finnish Rugs and their Makers is presented with the generous support from the Finnish Honorary Consulate and with production support from Anita Jain, Common Strands.



ASI After Hours Curator Cocktail Tour: Love & Rugs (SOLD OUT)

Friday, May 30 – 6:30 p.m. 

Be the first to see The Living Tradition of Ryijy in this tour with ASI Curator Curt Pederson and world renowned Finnish textile expert and collector Dr. Tuomas Sopanen. Tour also includes Love Norway X. Includes three specialty wines curated by FIKA. $45 ASI members; $50 nonmembers. Register by May 23.

Exhibit Opening Talk: The Living Tradition of Ryijy with Dr. Tuomas Sopanen (SOLD OUT)

Saturday, May 31 – 10 - 11 a.m. 

Dr. Tuomas Sopanen speaks to the history and future of the ryijy tradition and craft in this one hour lecture. $5 ASI members, $14 nonmembers (includes museum admission). Co-sponsored by Textile Center. Space limited. Register by May 23.

Nordic Encounters: Gallery Talks with Dr. Tuomas Sopanen

Sunday, June 1– 12:30 & 2:30 p.m. 

Dr. Sopanen leads two exhibit opening gallery talks of The Living Tradition of Ryijy. Included with museum admission.

2014 Midsommar Celebration

Saturday, June 14 – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Enjoy The Living Tradition of Ryijy and Finnish artists Diane Jarvi (kantele player), the Kaze Quartet (saxophone quartet) and Kisarit Dancers (Finnish dancers) at ASI’s best summer tradition. $10 adults, $5 ages 5-18; free ASI members & kids under 2.

ASI andTönöSauna at NorthernSpark 2014

Saturday, June 14 – 9:01 p.m. – Sunrise

With Futures North art collective, ASI brings the Finnish sauna tradition to NorthernSpark, Minneapolis' all-night arts festival. The five person artist team - including Daniel Dean, John Kim, John Moore, Molly Reichert, Emily Stover – will repurpose TönöSauna, a mobile sauna unit built from a salvaged 1966 Avion travel trailer to project conversations  that take place inside the sauna outside, to the larger world.  Social geographer and artist/activist blogger, Bill Lindeke, will facilitate conversations in the sauna about our shared dreams for the city. Free. Visit for more information.


Film Screening: “Steam of Life”

Wednesday, June 25 – 6:30 p.m.

A candid and thoughtful look at one of Finland’s most time honored traditions: the sauna. Mika Hotakainen, Joonas Berghäll. In Finnish with English subtitles. 84 min.  $7 ASI members, $10 nonmembers. Reservations recommended.

Saturday, Aug. 2– 2 p.m.

Siiri Korhonen is a Finnish weaver and an Artist-in-Residence at the American Swedish Institute from August 6th-16th. During her stay, she will be weaving a contemporary ryijy in the galleries of the Turnblad mansion, complementing the current exhibit, The Living Tradition of Ryijy—Finnish Rugs and their Makers.  In this lecture, Siiri will introduce four iconic Finnish woven interior products: Raanu, Ryijy, Täkänä and Käspaikka. She will survey their function, technique, design, and contemporary status.

Tickets: $9/nonmembers, free for ASI and Weavers Guild Members. Ticket includes admission to the museum, including The Living Tradition of Ryijy—Finnish Rugs and their Makers

Advance registration recommended but not required. Call (612) 871-4907 or register online here. 

Sponsored by the Weavers Guild of Minnesota in partnership with the American Swedish Institute.


Nordic Encounters – The Art of the Ryijy with ASI Artist in Residence Siiri Korhonen

Wednesday, Aug. 6 – 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 16 – 10:30 a.m.

Some museums bring you recorded voice overs of artists talking about their work on an exhibit audio guide.  ASI brings you the real thing – the artist.  Nordic Encounters are new frameworks that allow visitors to ASI to interact directly with the artists and curators whose work is on display by inviting you to for an intimate walking tour with the artist. Hear about their art work first hand. Ask questions about their processes and inspiration.   ASI Artist-in-Residence Siiri Korhonen leads a 45-minute walking tour of The Living Tradition of Ryijy, sharing her own insight - as a practicing textile artist - about the processes, history and composition of the rugs on display.  $5 in addition to museum admission. Space limited. Reservations recommended.



Siiri Korhonen will serve as ASI Artist-In-Residence from August 6-17, 2014. Korhonen is a Finnish textile artist and will offer on-site demonstrations of the process of ryijy rug making in the ASI galleries. A current student of the University of Helsinki’s Department of Teacher Education, Korhonen will share her insight and skills as a young, emerging textile artist with a focus on composition and innovative designs.

Korhonen will lead two “Nordic Encounters” (ASI’s exciting new program which puts local audiences together with leading contemporary artists or scholars from Sweden and the Nordic region) on Wednesday, August 6 (6:30 p.m.) and Saturday, August 16 (10:30 a.m.) 



Introduction to Finnish (SOLD OUT)

Wednesdays, July 9-Aug. 13 6–8 p.m.
Puhutko suomea? Gain a solid introduction in the Finnish language. The course focuses on speaking and using Finnish in practical situations, but we’ll also work on reading and writing skills. By the end of six sessions, you’ll be able to have a basic conversation in Finnish with a native speaker, and you’ll also be able to conduct simple transactions such as ordering food at a  restaurant and buying a train ticket. All class materials included. Instructor: Dan Karvonen, Senior Lecturer at the University of Minnesota



Explore & Weave Finnish Patterns on the Rigid Heddle Loom Workshop

Saturday & Sunday, June 28 & 29 12-5pm

Over, under, over! Start your weaving exploration in this two-day workshop and weave your own Finnish fabric. Learn the basics of warping and weaving cloth on a portable and versatile rigid heddle loom. We’ll explore traditional Finnish techniques to create delicate borders and accents with leno, embellish with inlay, or add bold texture with ‘rya’. If available, bring a rigid heddle frame loom in good working condition and a 12 dent heddle. Looms are available, if needed, please indicate when registering. Workshop is intended for all levels, including beginners. Instructor:Carol Johnson, Weavers Guild of Minnesota. Location: ASI. $90 ASI and WGM members / $110 nonmembers. Yarn included. A $10 handout fee will be collected in class, payable to the instructor. Registration required by June 20, space is limited.


Rya Weaving Workshop

Monday –Thursday, July 14–17 10am-3pm at WGM

Rya is fun and offers something different from throwing the shuttle! The Swedish term ‘rya’ means ‘long-pile rug’ in English and is a traditional weft-faced pile technique that was originally used for warm bed coverings. Explore this creative, centuries-old process by selecting a yarn palette, and learning how to warp a floor loom. We will be weaving a plain weave backing with a sett of six ends per inch and then build upon rows of colorful knotting for a wall hanging or cushion cover. Workshop in intended for all levels, including beginners.  $10 materials fee for handouts and warp will be collected in class, payable to the instructor. Scandinavian weft yarn will be available, estimated $60 or more, depending on student’s color choices. Other wool yarns are available for purchase at WGM. If you have wool or linen yarns bring them along to use. Instructor: Jan Mostrom.

Location: Weavers Guild of Minnesota, located in the Textile Center at 3000 University Ave SE, Minneapolis.

Cost: $165 ASI & WGM members / $200 nonmembers. $10 materials fee for handouts and warp will be collected in class, payable to the instructor. Registration is required by July 11 through ASI, space is limited.

Smorgasbord of Scandinavian Weave Structures Workshop

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, August 15, 16 & 17  9am-5pm at WGM

Scandinavian weaving patterns are fascinating and true treasures to explore! Create something beautiful as you learn to read and follow a weaving draft, warp a floor loom, and weave a variety of structures in this “round robin” collaborative participation class. Participants will circulate to one another's looms and weave small, individual cotton woven pieces in traditional twills, laces, monk's belt and raanu styles that hail from Finland, Sweden and Norway. This workshop is intended for all levels, including beginners. Instructor: Carol Johnson, Weavers Guild of Minnesota.  Location: Weavers Guild of Minnesota, $240 ASI, WGM members / $280 nonmembers. $10 handout fee to be collected in class, payable to instructor. Registration required by Aug. 7 through ASI, space limited. 

Ticket Info

All admission requires advanced registration.
Admission is free for members, but registration still required.
Admission & Registration

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