A blog sponsored by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sharing news and information about the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Quilt Index, the MSU Museum's traditional arts activities, Great Lakes traditional artists and arts resources, and much more. Development of content for this blog supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ceremony to Honor Michigan Heritage Awardee Ronald Ahrens

Michigan Heritage Award winner Ronald Ahrens will be honored at a special ceremony at the Region of the Three Oaks Museum, where he has been teaching workshops and classes in lacemaking and fiber arts for many years. 

From the Region of the three Oaks Museum website:
"The Region of Three Oaks Museum is holding a reception for his receiving the state’s highest distinction, on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at the museum.  Ron will be demonstrating his skills from noon to 2pm.  From 2–4pm, there will be a special recognition ceremony in his honor.  Please join us at The Region of Three Oaks Museum to congratulate Ron on his being awarded the Michigan Heritage Award for 2015."
Ron Ahrens at the 2015 Great Lakes Folk Festival

Ronald Ahrens (b. 1941) was born in Wisconsin and moved to Michigan later in life. Ronald first began to learn lacemaking from his grandmother at age five. Several members of his family practiced other fiber art techniques and Ronald was able to learn from them as well. He became proficient in knitting, crocheting, bobbin lacemaking, tatting, broderet, and filet netting.

Ronald has enthusiastically shared his skills and knowledge with his own family, friends, and community members and can often be found teaching fiber art techniques and doing demonstrations at community functions. As Joan Nelson, one of the individuals who nominated Ahrens for the award stated, “Adults and children alike are fascinated by watching and listening to Ron, and though few are willing to take on this intricate craft of lacemaking, they will long remember actually seeing this lace being made and will have a new respect for this craft.”  As his daughter observed, Ronald has cultivated among many individuals a deep appreciation for the handmade, rather than machine made, mass-produced object. He has also stimulated interest among those he has taught to pass on the skills they have learned to others.

In addition to serving his community as a pastor of The Gathering, a Dutch Reformed Church in Three Oaks, Michigan, Ronald also supports his community through teaching his art and even giving gifts of his art to support local causes.  One piece of filet net work he donated to an auction took him over sixty hours to make. 
To watch Ron work and learn more about lacemaking and fiber arts, visit the Region of the Three Oaks Museum on October 3rd from 12-4pm!