Finnish American Rag Rugs: Art, Tradition and Ethnic Community
Yvonne Lockwood, Ph.D., Curator Emeritus of Folklife at Michigan State University
Material culture is made up of tangible things crafted, shaped, altered, and used across time and across space. It comes from one’s hands and is shared with others in a community, reflecting one’s learned ideas, and connecting persons and groups. Material culture “tells” a story about its relationship to people, both the ones that create them and the ones who use them, and to the culture and history in which it is embedded.
In the late 19th century Finns shared skills within their local North American communities and regions about the production and use of traditional material culture. Their knowledge included weaving, knitting, spinning, woodworking, construction, and many more skills needed to sustain their lives in new environments. With time and subsequent generations, some of these skills were maintained, some are only memories, some have been lost, and some have been revived and relearned.
The lecture examines the role material traditions play in Finnish America today and what we can learn about Finnish American culture from objects. It also addresses the issue of cultural continuity. Why are some material culture traditions maintained while others are lost? How have traditions changed in form and function?
Yvonne R. Lockwood is Curator of Folklife at the Michigan State University Museum and Associate Coordinator of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program. She is co-editor of the Michigan Folklife Annual and of Michigan Folklife Reader. She received 2012 America Folklore Society Köngäs-Maranda Award and was selected as 2013 Lecturer of the Year (LOY) for Finlandia Foundation National
Café Botanique is a program within the School of Botanical Art and Illustration and is open for everybody. The 30-40 minute talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is followed by a discussion. Café Botanique generally meets on selected Wednesdays, each time with a different topic relating to Denver Botanic Gardens’ Botanical Illustration curriculum. Pre-registration is not required, but encouraged (required for SBAI-school credit). Suggested donation: $5.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall
6:30 – 8 p.m.