Exciting New Updates

It’s October and we’re on the other side of peak colors up here in the northwoods of Minnesota. In fact, an Ojibway name for this month is Binaakwe-Giizis which means Falling Leaves Moon. The Ely Folk School is celebrating seasonal turnover by launching a new Ely Folk School website. On the homepage of our new site you’ll find an Ely Folk School promotional video produced by local media maker, Ten80 North. Please, check out the website and share it with your friends! Special shout out to our Marketing Coordinator, Alexia, for all she did to make this vision a reality. 

Another exciting development here at the Ely Folk School is our ceramics studio, which is now open to the public via studio memberships. Our studio provides the space and equipment for aspiring and established clay artists to expand their skills and inventory. More information about ceramics studio membership is available on the website. 

I personally encourage you all to attend the meat raffle on November 12th, from 5pm-7pm at Zaverl’s Bar. Keep scrolling for more information about upcoming events and classes. 

Chris Clemens


View full list of classes online.


Learn to transform hand-dyed wool from the instructor’s flock of sheep into your very own adorable little pumpkin, just in time for Halloween! No previous experience is necessary – this is a perfect class for the family to take together! Register


Instructor Spotlight: Wade Pharr

What is currently your favorite class to teach and why? 
I always look forward to teaching beginner classes, and helping people get used to working with clay. It is enjoyable to answer questions and help push students beyond where they are at. I find that classes give people inspiration for projects through working with others. My classes will be pretty broad in the beginning. 

What do you enjoy most about your craft? 
I value the ability to turn dirt into something beautiful. My favorite things to make are my more intricate sculpture pieces.

How long have you been making pottery?
I’ve been doing clay work for 29 years, and for 21 of those years I didn’t have my own space. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to help get the studio membership going for people that don’t have a space to use. I understand the hardships of yearning to work with clay more often, but having limited access. We know it is important to offer as much access to the space as possible for studio members. 

What’s a fun fact about you?
I create and problem solve. I’ve done stone carving and painting. I’ve also done my own wild game butchering and hide tanning. I went to one year of college to do ad-design, but was ultimately drawn to continue pursuing pottery.

Sign up for Wade’s class!


Paneer Cheese

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

Join Master Cheesemaker Gary Colles and the Ely Folk School as we make a new cheese from scratch each month. 

Paneer is a key ingredient in many of your favorite Indian dishes, but how much do you know about this mild cheese? Traditionally eaten fresh and cubed, although paneer has a variety of uses. Paneer is unique as you don’t make it with rennet – instead you curdle an acid to make a soft and fluffy cheese. 

Join us in the rewarding practice of making cheese from scratch under excellent tutelage with fine company. You will certainly learn something new and although you will not leave the Zoom class with a final product, the end results will wow you! 

Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer: In-person or Online

October 19 at 5:30 pm

Are you taking the paneer cheese making class and looking for a recipe to use your cheese? Do you like simple, healthy meals and are interested in trying something different? This class is for you!

Saag Paneer, aka Sarson ka Saag, is a traditional Punjab dish of Northern India. Mustard greens are the celebrated ingredient in this dish as the Punjab region is known for growing them in abundance. However, bitter greens such as arugula, dandelion, or even kale can be used in conjunction with spinach. This dish is served best with fresh naan (flat bread) and mint chutney (a spicy dipping sauce).


October Class List


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

Glowing Skin & Hair for Ages 19 – 40 with Jaime Brennan & Megan Olson
  October 6 at 3:00 pm – $60

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

Create a Herringbone Bracelet with Kay Vandervort
  October 7 at 1:00 pm – $39

Hammer & Tongs and More: Making Basic Tools with Paul Webster
  October 8 at 5:00 pm & October 9 at 9:00 am – $135

Nature Writing for Women: Honor Autumn: Live Online with DyAnne Korda
  October 9 at 10:00 am – $26

Introduction to Clay with Wade Pharr
  Tuesdays & Thursdays October 12 – November 4 at 6:00 pm – $330

Glowing Skin & Hair for Ages 40+ with Jaime Brennan & Megan Olson
  October 13 at 3:00 pm – $60

Learn to Make Paneer: Live Online with Gary Colles
  October 14 at 2:00 pm – $40

Accessorizing your Pottery with Sandy Brandley 
  October 14 & 21 at 2:00 pm – $70

Writing With Your Child, For Your Child with John Kopp
  Thursday, October 14, 21, 28 & November 4, 11, & 18, 2021 at 6:30 pm – $80

Beginner Needle Tatted Flowers with Nora Rickey
  October 15 at 10:00 am – $50

Needle Felt a Pumpkin: Live Online with Laura Berlage   October 15 at 2:00 pm – $76

Needle-Tat a Pair of Lace Earrings with Nora Rickey
  October 16 at 10:00 am – $56

Make Saag Paneer: In person or live online with Alvin Goeser
  October 19 at 5:30 pm – $40/$25

Glowing Skin and Hair for Men with Jaime Brennan and Megan Olson
  October 20 at 3:00 pm – $60

Xiao Long Bao with Lacey Squier
  October 22 at 5:00 pm – $55

Snowshoe Lacing Workshop with Peta Barrett
  October 24 & 25 at 9:00 am – $320

Stained Glass: Next Steps with Betty Firth
  Monday, October 25, November 1, 8, 15 at 3:00 pm –$184

Knit Matleena Mittens: Live Online with Laura Ricketts
  October 30 & November 6 at 2:00 pm – $55


November Class List

Sustainable Living with Andy Hill  November 3 at 6:00 pm. – FREE

Build and Decorate a Bowl with Lyn Reed
  November 4 & 11 at 1:00 pm – $75

Learn to Make Sage Derby Cheese: Live Online with Gary Colles
  November 11 at 2:00 pm – $40

Needle Felt a Cardinal: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  November 12 at 2:00 pm – $76

The Maasepän Puukko with Paige May 
  November 13 & 14 at 9:00 am – $294

Wearable Art: Embroidered Patches with Nora Rickey
  November 13 at 10:00 am – $46

A Quiltmaker’s Journey: A Trunk Show and Lecture with Helen Smith Stone 
  November 13 at 2:00 pm – $20

Felted Crochet Wool Rug: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  Saturday, November 13, 20, 27 at 2:00 pm – $247

Papermaking with Sarah Elkins
  November 17 at 5:00 pm – $34

Writing from a Sense of Time and Place with Linda LeGarde Grover
  November 22 at 5:30 pm – $20


December Class List

Sustainable Living with Andy Hill  December 1 at 6:00 pm. – FREE

Learn to Make Leiden: Live Online with Gary Colles
  December 9 at 2:00 pm – $40

Needle Felt a Snowy Owl: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  December 10 at 2:00 pm – $76

Ely Folk School Holiday Party
  December 11 at 2:00 pm – FREE

Homemade Beeswax Wraps with Sarah Elkins 
  December 16 at 6:00 pm – $34

This month, Ely Folk School students made bent willow chairs, photographed fall colors, and watched elders make a traditional wild rice dish. Thank you, to everyone who participated in the spontaneous $500 matching donation! 

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.
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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