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August Newsletter

Join in Community
Learn Something New
There is a lot to look forward to at the Ely Folk School. I can feel the seasons changing when I read the upcoming class list. It’s foraging season! This month you can learn to forage for wild medicinal plants, mushrooms, furniture wood, wild rice, and pitch. Come out to enjoy live music following the potluck on Sunday, August 22nd. Superior Siren will play music in the Folk School pocket park on Thursday, August 26th. 

Looking ahead, in September, there is a busy lineup of classes and events planned during Harvest Moon Festival. Plan ahead and sign up for class early to guarantee there is space for yourself and/or others. I encourage you to take a look at one of our newest online classes “Introduction to Tapestry Weaving”with Laura Berlage. The class is beginner friendly and takes place over six consecutive weeks. On a simple frame loom, you will learn how to create a peaceful sunset landscape, measuring about 10×10 inches.Alexia Springer, MediaView full list of classes online.

Instructor Spotlight: Laura Berlage

What is currently your favorite class to teach and why?Goodness, that is hard to pick because I love them all!  Currently, I am especially thrilled to be offering introduction to tapestry weaving classes.  Tapestry weaving is one of my first loves in fiber arts, as I began my earnest study of this technique with my mentor Fran Potter when I was just 13 years old.  Tapestry is so expressive and meditative, and it’s a world I always enjoy sharing with my students so they can unlock its mystery and being their own journey with this most ancient artform.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?I never grow tired of the magic of fiber arts.  We take very humble and readily available materials—yarn, thread, wool, etc.—and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful.  The tools are very simple, but the options for creative expression with those tools and materials are endless.  I also love how working with fibers connects us with the work of our ancestors, and I often weave their stories into the class experience.

How long have you been involved at EFS?
I became connected with EFS in 2020 as part of the pandemic.  Transitioning my teaching methods to Zoom meant that I could still live and work full-time on our family’s homestead farm east of Hayward Wisconsin yet connect with schools and students from all over.  It’s completely transformed my teaching possibilities, and this year expanding the types of classes I offer has been especially exciting.

What’s a fun fact about you?
As well as a fiber artist, farmer, and musician (students often have the fun of a song somewhere in class), I’m also a writer.  My weekly column “Down on the Farm” is featured in several local and regional newspapers, as well as online.  The series is now in its 10th year, with thousands of readers enjoying stories from the farm as well as thoughts about sustainability, stewardship, and wellness.

Monthly Sisu

The World Needs More Hobbies
Written by Sue Remes

“….Besides a killer brush stroke, what I learned at the Ely Folk School that day is that having a hobby is not just about the hobby but is also about the community that comes with the hobby. Learning together is fun and people who create together form a bond. Right then and there I decided the world needs more hobbies. As we went through 16 months of isolation during the pandemic, I was so grateful for my hobby, my fellow aspiring artists and our shared experiences – a sentiment that was echoed by many of my friends.

I often think of how the women from my class at the Folk School inspired me that day. I am grateful for their kindness and for encouraging me to keep painting. Thanks to them and to the Folk School, painting is now the thing I look most forward to doing…no matter how successful the outcome.”  Read more

Class Spotlight

Coiled Basket Workshop: 

Live Online

Saturday, August 21 at 9:00 am

Registration closes on August 11, to ensure timely shipment of material kits. 

In this class, students will learn the technique of coiled basketry and will create a small basket of their own. The baskets we will create in this class are made with sisal rope, although in Indigenous traditions, coiled baskets are usually made with pine needles, sweetgrass, oatstraw, or other natural materials. After class, use the instructional booklet to create more baskets using materials of your choice!

This class uses a provided basket making kit which includes a handmade wooden basket bottom, an instructional booklet, rope, linen thread, and a large sewing needle.

Betty Firth is a do-it-yourself person; a Jill-of-all-trades.


“What’s that saying?” Betty wonders aloud. “If you get a kid to volunteer, you’ve got a volunteer for life.” This value came from her mother, who was a leader in their church community. Betty began volunteering as a candy striper and working on other church projects as a child. Although Betty’s conversational skills and abundant stories would compel me to a coffee date any old time, we are here to reflect upon her career in honor of her recent retirement from the Ely Folk School, where she worked for nearly five years. Nowhere are her skills as a generalist more evident than in her legacy at the Ely Folk School. In her tenure Betty recruited and trained volunteers, hosted events, coordinated nearly 1000 classes, and served as her own technology services department — a list which pales in comparison to the magnitude of the tasks completed and the tender loving care offered to the persistence of the institution. Persist, it did! The Ely Folk School weathered the challenges of pandemic-related closures with Betty at the helm. We even served a record number of students in 2020. Continue reading.
August Class List
Minnesota Medicinal Foraging with Allie Austin
  August 10 at 1:00 pm

Elevate Your At-Home Cooking with Hudson Ledeen
  August 11 at 5:30 pm

Learn to Make Monterey Jack: Live Online with Gary Colles
  August 12 at 2:00 pm

Painting Watercolors Outdoors with Holly Meeker Rom
  August 13 at 10:00 am

Create a One-of-a-Kind Garnet and Dragon Blood Necklace with Kay Vandervort
  August 13 at 1:00 pm

Bent Willow Rustic Furniture with John Bajda
  August 13 at 6:00pm and August 28 at 8:00 am

Quiet Hunt for Forest Gold: Mushroom Foraging with Olena Johnson
  August 14 at 9:00 am

Get Ready for Wild Rice Harvesting with LynnAnne Vesper
  August 14 at 6:00 pm

Intro to Stained Glass with Betty Firth
  August 16 at 2:00 pm *Class Full

Pupusas with Slaw and Salsa with Lacey Squier
  August 20 at 4:00 pm

Pupusas with Slaw and SalsaLive Online with Lacey Squier
  August 20 at 4:00 pm

Embroidered Wildflowers with Nora Rickey
  August 20 at 3:00 pm

Hammer & Tongs & More: Making Basic Tools with Paul Webster
  August 20 at 5:00 pm and August 21 at 9:00 am

Coiled Basket Workshop: Live Online with Teresa Audet
  August 21 at 9:00 am

Weaving on an Inkle Loom with Diane Thomson
  August 21 at 9:00 am

Introduction to Lightroom Classic with Les Conrad
  August 25 and September 1 at 9:00 am

Make an Amazonite Necklace with Kay Vandervort
  August 28 at 1:00 pm

Stained Glass Next Steps with Betty Firth
  Monday’s August 30, September 13, 20, 27 at 2:00 pm
September Class List
Gyotaku: Fish Printing with Lyn Reed
  September 3 at 1:00 pm

Papermaking with Sarah Elkins
  September 8 at 5:00 pm

Make a Semi-Precious Gem Necklace with Kay Vandervort
  September 9 at 1:00 pm

Learn to Make Butter Cheese:  Live Online with Gary Colles
  September 9 at 2:00 pm

Build a Custom Blouse with Candace Bischoff
  September 10 at 12:30 pm

Forge Demonstration with Phil Leino
  September 10 at 2:00 pm

Mushroom Cultivation: Three Ways to Grow Gourmet Mushrooms at Home with Nik Prenevost
  September 11 at 11:00 am

Mead Making: Let’s Ferment Some Honey! with Nik Prenevost
  September 12 at 11:00 am

Introduction to Tapestry Weaving: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  Sunday’s September 12 – October 17 at 2:00 pm

Glowing Skin & Hair for Ages 11 and under with Jaime Brennan & Megan Olson
  September 15 at 3:00 pm

Hammer & Tongs and More: Making Basic Tools with Paul Webster
  September 17 at 5:00 pm and September 18 at 9:00 am

Invasive Color: Using Invasive Species as Natural Dyes with Theresa Hornstein
  September 18 at 9:00 am

Needle Felt a Chickadee: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  September 18 at 2:00 pm

Glowing Skin & Hair for Ages 12-15 with Jaime Brennan & Megan Olson
  September 22 at 3:00 pm

Capturing Fall Colors with Ken Hupila
  September 25 at 9:00 am

Glowing Skin & Hair for Ages 15- 18  with Jaime Brennan & Megan Olson
  September 29 at 3:00 pm
October Class List
Glowing Skin & Hair for Ages 19 – 40 with Jaime Brennan & Megan Olson
  October 6 at 3:00 pm

Linoleum Print Patches with Nora Rickey
  October 2 at 1:00 pm

Intro to Stained Glass with Betty Firth
  Mondays, October 4 and 11 at 3:00 pm

Starting Your Novel and “After Francesco” Reading with Brian Malloy
  October 6 at 6:00 pm   *FREE

Sustainable Living with Andy Hill
  October 6 at 6:00 pm   *FREE

Hammer & Tongs and More: Making Basic Tools with Paul Webster
  October 8 at 5:00 pm and October 9 at 9:00 am

Nature Writing for Women: Honor Autumn: Live Online with DyAnne Korda
  October 9 at 10:00 am

Glowing Skin & Hair for Ages 40+ with Jaime Brennan & Megan Olson
  October 13 at 3:00 pm

Learn to Make Paneer: Live Online with Gary Colles
  October 14 at 2:00 pm

Accessorizing your Pottery with Sandy Brandley 
  October 14 and 21 at 2:00 pm

Writing With Your Child, For Your Child with John Kopp
  Thursdays, October 14, 21, 28 & November 4, 11, & 18, 2021 at 6:30 pm

Needle Felt a Pumpkin: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  October 15 at 2:00 pm

Needle-Tat a Pair of Lace Earrings with Nora Rickey
  October 16 at 10:00 am

Glowing Skin and Hair for Men with Jaime Brennan and Megan Olson
  October 20 at 3:00 pm

Snowshoe Lacing Workshop with Peta Barrett
  October 24 and 25 at 9:00 am

Stained Glass: Next Steps with Betty Firth
  Mondays, October 25, November 1, 8, 15 at 3:00 pm
  
We welcomed visiting instructor Martha Buche to the Ely Folk School and enjoyed basket making and shibori dying with indigo. You can view a basket and a dyed hand towel made in class at the Ely Folk School, in the display window. Martha regularly teaches classes at the Driftless Folk School in Wisconsin.
Do you have a skill or craft you’re interested in sharing?Propose a class and become an instructor here.
The Ely Folk School is made possible by: Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, Lake Country Power, Minnesota State Arts Board, Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, and Rotary International. 
We invite you to become a Friend of Ely Folk School through your donation. Thank you so much for helping us accomplish our mission of building community by providing learning experiences that celebrate the wilderness heritage, art, history, culture, and craft of the people of northern Minnesota.