January 2023 Nordic Events

Godt nytt år! Happy New Year! For Nordic enthusiasts in the Los Angeles area, there are big in-person events happening this month. For those around the country, virtual events continue to be on the program.

Online Nordic book clubs continue to be popular. Visit Online Nordic Book Club Meetings to see reading selections and meeting dates for January and upcoming months.

Los Angeles Area In-Person Events

The Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo @SFFLA is around the corner. After two virtual years, the festival is back at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills on January 14 and 15 and January 21 and 22 with films from Scandinavia and their Nordic neighbors. View the festival program. Festival goers can purchase a festival pass which includes access to all screenings as well as the opening reception or individual tickets. Buy passes and tickets here.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980, will close February 5. It is the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) during the 20th century. See it before it closes!

Save the date! The Nordic Spirit Symposium returns February 10 and 11 in Thousand Oaks, CA. This year’s theme is Scandinavian Design: Simple and Beautiful. In the middle of the 20th century, Danish Modern and, more generally, Scandinavian Modern Design, gained popularity in the United States. This symposium will examine the reasons for this popularity, will delve into different design media for two countries, Finland and Norway, and will treat the long-term history of ceramic and glass design in Denmark and Sweden. The theme of Scandinavian design applied to architecture and interior design will be addressed in the opening talk February 10 by an Icelandic American architect. Visit Scandinavian Design: Simple and Beautiful to see details on the program. The February symposium is in-person. However, the initial January presentation on Danish Modern will be virtual (see below for details).


Danish Modern: Design for Living (Nordic Classics’ Second Friday Series) (Wednesday, Jan. 11, 12:30 p.m. PT live or Friday, Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m. PT pre-recorded, Free)

Join Tova Brandt, Executive Director of Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa, for a presentation on Danish Modern design. Brandt will show the wonderful furniture designs that came out of Denmark in the 1950s and 1960s, and explain why so many pieces are known by descriptive names like the Ant Chair, Peacock Chair, and Artichoke Lamp. She will discuss the iconic designs and designers of the period, such as Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, and Arne Jacobsen. She will also discuss the strategies through which American consumers developed a taste for Danish Modern, and how that legacy continues into the 21st century. Participation is free but registration is required. The program is  hosted by The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Family Handcraft at Home: Carving a Dala Horse (Enrollment Deadline: Jan. 18)

This February, Vesterheim invites you to try your hand at the historical handcraft of figure carving. Folk artist and art educator Charles Banks will inspire you to be creative in unexpected ways through a warm video demonstration. The best thing about this class is that you can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore carving whenever it is most convenient for you and your family members! Your registration provides you with a kit that includes everything you need to explore this handcraft as a family at home! On the first of the month, you will receive an email with the links and information about how to access.

Demo: Scandinavian Pea Soup Supper with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Jan. 19, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a low-effort, high reward wintery supper of vegetarian Split Pea Soup with Barley, simple salad with Lingonberry Vinaigrette, and Swedish Oat Crackers. Each of these recipes work well to make ahead and have on hand for a satisfying cold weather meal but make a tasty meal for entertaining too. As always, Kristi is sure to share lots of inspired tips and tricks for cooking Nordic food simply at home.

Workshop: Needle Felted Chickadee (Friday, Jan. 20, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Create a sweet felted chickadee inspired by Minnesota’s northwoods in this afternoon-long class. Led by instructor Laura Berlage, students will follow step-by-step instructions to transform hand-dyed wool from the instructor’s own sheep into a felted chickadee that will fit in the palm of your hand. Needle felting is fun, easy and therapeutic, and as your wooly friend comes to life, you’ll enjoy conversation with other students and learning more about wool and the sheep who produced your kit materials! Your kit even contains enough wool to make a second chickadee, perfect for continuing with this craft beyond class.

Knit a Norwegian-Inspired Pot-Holder (Saturday, Jan. 21, 1:00 p.m. CT and Sunday, Jan. 22, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Add Norwegian beauty to your home by knitting a kitchen accessory! In this class, you will use a circular needle to cast on and knit a beautiful pot holder using the two stranded colorwork technique. With the aid of live Zoom interactions and prerecorded demonstration videos, class instruction will include Norwegian knitting techniques, reading charts, knitting with two colors, tips for color changes, finishing, blocking, and more. You choose one of two patterns. Enrollment Deadline: January 13.

The Fantastic Art of Paper Cutting with Danish Paper Cut Artist Torben Jarlstrøm Clausen (Sunday, Jan. 22, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Back by popular demand, celebrated Danish paper-cutting artist Torben Jarlstrøm Clausen returns for a workshop on creating wonderful paper-cut beings! In this online workshop held via Zoom, Clausen will share his techniques and guide viewers through creating their own paper-cut magic. Participants will also explore the paper-cut artwork of renowned storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, and hear about Clausen’s own journey to becoming a paper-cutting artist. The class will be limited to 30 participants to allow for audience interaction.

Virtual Nordic Language Café with The Scandinavian School in San Francisco (Sunday, Jan. 22, 5:00 p.m. PT)

Get ready to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking and listening skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. Are you a beginner? No worries! All levels are welcome. The Cafés are very relaxed and friendly, and if you feel more comfortable listening rather than speaking there is a spot for you in the Café too. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language. You don’t have to be a student at The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center to join.

Virtual Book Talk – Collected Works with Lydia Sandgren & Emily Temple (Saturday, Jan. 28, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

This January, join Scandinavia House for a virtual book talk with Swedish author and psychologist Lydia Sandgren on her new book Collected Works. With moderator Emily Temple, she’ll discuss her compelling mystery and poignant bildungsroman about love, power, and art—and what leads us to make the pivotal decisions that change the course of our lives.

Meet the Author: Ann-Helén Laestadius, Stolen (Tuesday, Jan. 31, 11:00 a.m. PT)

Join Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma (DeNoma Literary Services) in virtual conversation with Ann-Helén Laestadius, author of the spellbinding Swedish novel Stolen. Louise Erdrich meets Jo Nesbø in this spellbinding Swedish novel that follows a young indigenous woman as she struggles to defend her family’s reindeer herd and culture amidst xenophobia, climate change, and a devious hunter whose targeted kills are considered mere theft in the eyes of the law.


Scandinavian Loom Beading (Thursdays, Feb. 2, 9, 16 & 23, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Explore the beauty and fun of beading on a loom in the Scandinavian tradition! Inspired by designs from Nordic bandweaving, this class will take you from start to finish for making your own sparkly beaded bookmark. Learn about the historic use of loom beading and how a remarkably simple process can transform seed beads into delightful designs. The class kit includes a handmade loom designed by the instructor and enough beads, silk thread, needles, and patterns to make two projects, if you wish.

Tropical Aquavit Cocktails with Emily Vikre (Friday, Feb. 3, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Although you may not expect it, aquavit pairs deliciously with tropical fruits! Whether or not you have taken a class with us already, you will enjoy learning some new cocktail recipes in this new class featuring aquavit, the traditional Scandinavian spirit with centuries of tradition and celebration. Emily Vikre of Vikre Distillery will inspire you with her Nordic twist on classic tropical cocktails and her storytelling about the history of aquavit, as well as her contemporary lifestyle as a dual Norwegian citizen living in Duluth, Minnesota. Be prepared to concoct delicious tropical aquavit drinks while engaging with Emily and other cocktail enthusiasts during this fun evening class.

Meet the Author: Nicklas Brendborg, Jellyfish Age Backwards (Sunday, Feb. 5, 10:00 a.m. PT)

Join Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma (DeNoma Literary Services) in virtual conversation with Nicklas Brendborg, author of the international bestseller Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature’s Secrets to Longevity. This eye-opening work offers a revelatory scientific deep dive into how plants and animals have already unlocked the secrets to immortality–and the lessons they hold for us all.

Introduction to North Sámi (Sunday, Feb. 5, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families welcome!

Workshop: Four Band Color Braid Bracelet (Wednesday, Feb. 8, 5:30 p.m. CT, Registration closes Jan. 29)

Braid and finish a beautiful bracelet inspired by the Sámi art of tenntråd, or pewter wire art, led by instructor Liz Bucheit. Students will receive a kit with all the materials to make a bracelet out of natural materials including pewter wire, reindeer leather, and an antler button, plus a reusable clamp for future braiding projects. Kits ($35 value) are included in the class fee. Registration for this kit-based class closes January 29.

Demo: Baking Swedish Semlor with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Feb. 9, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Pick up tricks for making a sweet winter treat by watching Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen bake and fill a batch of cardamom and almond flavored semlor in this virtual demonstration. Traditionally served on Fat Tuesday and now enjoyed throughout the winter, semlor are an indulgent winter treat across Scandinavia. Kristi will use multiple batches of dough to demonstrate how to make the Swedish version of these buns, from mixing and kneading the cardamom flavored dough, to preparing the almond paste and whipped cream filling, to baking and assembling the finished buns. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of semlor at home!

Sámi Film Fest (February 9-12)

The 5th Annual Sámi Film Festival explores Sámi stories through film in a hybrid event taking place both in-personal and virtually. The Festival is organized by the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in New York and presented in partnership with Pacific Sámi Searvi. Attendees can screen films online on February 9-12 and in person at both venues on February 11. The program will include a variety of contemporary Sámi documentaries, short films, and panel discussions with the filmmakers. In 2023, the Sámi Film Festival will feature the selections of this year’s guest curator of film and acclaimed Skolt Sámi director Katja Gauriloff.

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

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