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Stories from the Blacksmith Shop at Sätergläntan Lecture

Meet Johan Säfström, lead instructor at Sätergläntan Institute for Craft in Dalarna, Sweden and 2023 guest instructor with North House Folk School and the American Swedish Institute. As Sweden’s leading school for traditional craft, Sätergläntan has taught the next generation of handcraft artisans for a century. Johan, a lead blacksmithing instructor, will discuss Sätergläntan’s blacksmithing program. Hear how he ended up at Sätergläntan, his approach to teaching traditional craft to black smithing students, and how he sees Sätergläntan’s students contributing to Sweden’s craft scene today and into the future. 

Sätergläntan specializes in traditional Swedish craft education for adults and welcomes both yearlong students and short-term summer classes. Year long students may choose from four disciplines: hand sewing, weaving, wood, and blacksmithing, and attend between 1 and 3 years. With some of Sweden’s foremost handcraft instructors as the program leaders, students explore their medium from the raw form all the way through the finished object, including working with raw wool, harvesting green wood, and making their own coal. Founded in 1922 by sisters Elsa and Wilma Långbers, Sätergläntan was originally envisioned to both support traditional Swedish weaving techniques as well as provide occupational training. This year, North House Folk School and the American Swedish Institute join Sätergläntan in celebrating its 100th year through webinars and in hosting visiting instructors in June 2023.  

Johan is teaching three classes in Minnesota in June 2023 as a part of an exchange funded by the American Scandinavian Foundation. Become a member at North House or ASI to get the first chance to sign up for Johan’s June classes in Minnesota. A special thanks goes to the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, who will co-present Johan’s Minneapolis’ classes.  

This is a live virtual program led over Zoom. Students need a strong internet connection and a device with video capabilities. 

The last weekend in June, four instructors from the four core programs (hand sewing, weaving, woodworking and blacksmithing) at Sätergläntan will teach across Minneapolis over one weekend. On the final day of class, all classes will gather at ASI, to meet the other instructors and students and share what they have learned. Limited full scholarships are available to cover this class’s tuition with a priority deadline of March 19, 2023; learn more and apply here.