Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't miss this fun time - Northern Wefts ' Chassell Tour

We still have some seats available for the Chassell tour. So we are extending the deadline until it is full or registration ends April 25th. We have enough seats sold to make this trip possible, so if you are still thinking of joining this fun tour, it is still possible. I think this is going to be a fun day for conference attendees.

The Chassell tour will take you a short distance from Hancock Michigan to the town of Chassell, the Strawberry Capital of the UP. There may even be some fresh strawberries for sale by road side vendors if we have a warm spring. Our first stop will be an amazing shop in such a small town.

‘Einerlei’ is a unique shopping experience, a little of everything plus a beautiful garden and greenhouse. They also sell work of local artists and jewelers, There will be a fiber exhibit on display for our group. To be announced, but I have a feeling it might be clothing. Einerlei carries classy clothing, the latest in Flip Flops with changeable bands (really cool!), cards, tableware, and just about every gourmet cooking utensils you could want. You might even be able to pick up a few herb plants for your kitchen.

The next stop will be The Chassell Historical Museum which is opening especially for us. The Friends of Fashion have agreed to put on a special Vintage Fashion Show for our group. The title of this year’s event is ‘Textiles over the Years’.

I have been told the fashion show will feature silks, white cottons, and net lace. You will see elegant clothing worn by the ladies of Copper
Country. During a short intermission they will have a table of local hand woven items for you to inspect. I made a special trip over two years ago for their ‘Italian’s of Copper Country’ fashion show and also to experience the annual Chassell Strawberry Festival. Not only did they have beautiful clothing but they gave the history of the local Italian Immigrant families and even some of their special recipes.

Here is a peek at the Friends of Fashion's vintage collection of garments. Much more to see at the fashion show on June 23, 2011. Sign up for Northern Wefts 2011 - Chassell Tour to see more.

The Chassell Heritage Center is in an old building, I believe it was once a school. It houses two exhibits this year, Vintage Wedding Gowns: 100 Years of Bridal Treasures. The collection has grown over the years and the group has received many gorgeous as well as simplistically plain wedding gowns and associated apparel and accessories. This new exhibit showcases some of those gowns and the personal history that accompanies many of them.

Another interesting exhibit is entitled “Lumber Kings to Strawberry Kings” opened for the 2005 season. Chassell Historical Organization members worked diligently for almost two years on this permanent exhibit showcasing the strawberry industry, the Chassell Lions Club, and the strawberry festival, all vitally important to the Chassell community.

There is something for everyone in another exhibit. Featured is a collection of historical photographs that were originally taken by Angus Ward and recently reproduced from the original glass negatives. Other facets of the exhibit include a history of strawberry farming from the turn of the last century to the present and the story of how a group of industrious farmers determined how to successfully market their berries. Learn about what it takes to grow a strawberry, and the how the strawberry industry profoundly affected our community. Check out their website for more information about the Chassell Heritage Center.

Next we are off to Tapiola which was settled by Finns in the early 1890s and named "Tapiola," which means "home of the forest king". Here you will have a special lunch at The Feed Mill Cafe. A trip to this tidy four-corners in an area of Finnish and French farms feels like a time trip to the early 1950s and the country was still country, characterized here by dairying and other working family farms (Strawberry’s ). Tapiola's center consists of the school (now a senior center), an Apostolic church, the Feed Mill restaurant in the onetime cooperative store, and Karvakko's general store and gas station. "If we don't have it, you don't need it!" used to be their motto, Kathy Timonen informs us, adding that the store is "now offering great sub sandwiches!" Karvakko's and the Feed Mill are real community services in a small rural place 15 minutes from anywhere—enough to bring neighbors together. Lunch will be the UP staple Cornish Pasty coleslaw a dessert and a beverage. Expect to learn a little about Finnish foods and their proper names at this restaurant. For an added weavers’ delight beautiful woven rugs are for sale in the restaurant.

Last of all we will be stopping at Tree Hugger Lumber here you will meet Pekka Olson and his lovely wife Gail. Pekka has agreed to give us a demonstration of his Finnish style wood carving, whether it is the shaved tree, the fan tail bird or the love birds you will be amazed what he can do in minutes. You will be able see his workshop (see pictures) his Finnish baskets and wooden spoons and maybe even his large lumber tools.

Pekka is a delight and his quote on his website says it all.

“I was born and reared on a small farm in Tapiola, Michigan – a rural farming community.

It was a wonderful childhood, the woods and fields were my playground. The poem by John Greenleaf Whittier “The Barefoot Boy” sums it up well.

Only now that I’m a little older I have had the time to learn these old crafts I’ve heard of and seen from times past.”

A few years back Pekka with help of a grant went to Finland to learn this special style of carving. This last year he received a grant to teach his craft to young people in his community. We met his apprentice when we stopped for our visit.

Come Join Gail Mandli our Tour Chair and others for this tour of rural UP of Michigan and learn a little Finnish along the way.

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Thanks for sharing!