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Friday, November 21, 2008

Updated: Visit Guatemalan Christmas markets Nov. 22, Nov. 29, Dec. 7, Dec. 12*

Sue Ellen Kingsley, executive director of the Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project (CCGAP) assists a customer purchasing handicrafts from Guatemala during the World Market held at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on Nov. 22. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project (CCGAP) will be offering a variety of gift possibilities at local holiday markets. In addition to their colorful Arte Maya calendars, CCGAP will be selling hand-made items such as textiles, clothing, jewelry, ornaments, bags, wall decorations mirrors and more.

At the Gloria Dei World Market, Mary Wright, local community artist, who recently returned from Guatemala, was one of several CCGAP volunteers helping to sell handmade items to benefit human rights work in Guatemala. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Visit the holiday markets on Nov. 22 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock, Nov. 29 in the Rozsa Center Lobby, Dec. 7 at Michigan Tech's SDC and Dec. 12 at Finlandia University, Portage Campus (old hospital) lobby.

Colorful jewelry, cloth and baskets from Guatemala are among the items for sale at several local holiday markets. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Proceeds from the sales support the human rights work of CCGAP and the national organization NISGUA (Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala). The groups support accompaniers to serve as human rights observers and a deterrent to the violence that threatens people in Guatemala who are struggling for justice and an end to impunity.

Visit the CCGAP Web site to read their November 2008 newsletter.

*Update -- Editor's Note: Arte Maya calendars may also be purchased for $15 apiece ($5 goes to CCGAP) online at

Finnish comedy, music to entertain Nov. 21

HANCOCK – An Evening of Finnish Comedy and Music will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

The benefit event features the Finnish-American comedy trio, "Nyt Naura – Now Laugh" with the Suomalainen Sisters: Upper Peninsula natives Linda Kyro, Sherry Saarinen, and Kris Kyro.

The hilarious comedy, Finnish music and poetry of Nyt Naura has been featured at many Finnish and Scandinavian festivals, including performances at several annual FinnFest events. These three sisters share the funny side of growing up Finnish in the Upper Peninsula, while acknowledging that sorrow can sometimes be found nipping at the heels of happiness.

Local musician Melvin Kangas will present a kantele performance at the event, followed by music for dancing and listening from Oren Tikkanen, Pasi Lautala, David Bezotte and friends.

Tickets for the event are $10 per person, $5 for students. They are available at the door or in advance.

Refreshments will be available for purchase, including fish soup, homemade bread, bakery items, and coffee. Handicrafts and artwork will also be available for purchase.

Event proceeds will help Finlandia nursing and human services students travel to Helsinki this spring to learn about health care and social services in Finland. To obtain additional information or to purchase tickets, please call the Nursing Department office at 906-487-7305.

The Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center is at 435 Quincy Street, Hancock.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Finlandia Gallery to exhibit Finnish-American fiber artist Desiree Koslin

HANCOCK -- An opening reception for the 18th Annual Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, at he Finlandia University Gallery. An artist talk will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The exhibit features New York fiber artist Desiree Koslin, a Finnish-American. Using Finnish fiber techniques including ryiji, transparency weave and double/triple cloth in unexpected ways, Koslin interprets the Finnish landscape in a series of woven and constructed textiles.

The artist Desiree Koslin at her loom. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Koslin’s exhibit, "InSight: Views of the Finnish Landscape," features 13 ryiji pieces, six sculptural objects and four 7-foot hanging pieces. It will be on display through Jan. 6, 2009.

Koslin manipulates, transforms and exaggerates textile traditions. Her 13 ryiji pieces have a thick textural quality. Checkerboard fields of color illuminate their symbolic and cultural underpinnings.

"In so many cultures, the subdivided square has important symbolic value, as it is seen to represent a microcosm of the universe in perfect equipoise of contrasting values or colors," Koslin says.

Ryiji Weaving by Desiree Koslin.(Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

A perfect balance of rich colors and textures, Koslin’s textile constructions make one marvel at the thread’s density and weight, how it bends to the forces of gravity and how its interplay with light resonates with significance. Koslin’s Sami cultural heritage also informs her work. When viewed as a whole, echoes of the Finnish Sami landscape emerge, taking the form of very reduced and non-figurative glimpses of nature’s essence.

Koslin has been involved with fibers throughout her career. Her work in the design profession includes authoring books and publications with topics ranging from Medieval Textiles and Dress to Sami Embroidery. She presently teaches World Textiles and Dress for the Bard Graduate Center in New York and graduate courses for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

"The interaction of threads and yarns has been a constant in my life, although this involvement has brought me to many different places and occupations," Koslin notes. "I’ve worked in women’s cottage industries, in noisy weaving mills, in edgy design studios, in classrooms and in museums -- producing, handling and caring for fabrics."

Koslin has recently exhibited her work in several solo exhibits in New York City at the SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery and has participated in the Annual Open Studios for YoHo Artist Studios in New York.

Koslin will work with Finlandia art and design students Nov. 19-20.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street , Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; or by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.