Hello Friends, 

As 2021 comes to a close, I am reaching out to thank you all. Everything we do at the Ely Folk School is centered around embracing our neighbors, sharing stories and experiences, and branching out to explore new realms. Without you, we would not be as successful in reaching these goals.

Our holiday party on the 11th exemplified our core pursuits. Over 120 people came out to Semers Beach on a sunny winter afternoon to mingle with the community. Many tried fun new things like dogsledding and playing snow snakes – a traditional Ojibwe snow game! We made wild rice and veggie pasties with wood parched wild rice harvested this fall by a generous community member and with other ingredients donated by Zup’s Food Market. Piragis Northwoods Company brought a warming tent and snowshoes; Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge showed up with two teams of dogs and skilled dog wranglers and skiers; Ely Liquor donated materials to make glögg; and Bent Paddle Brewing Company donated 96 cans of beer! Other community members arrived with chicken wild rice soup and red velvet cupcakes. It was such a lovely showing of Ely’s congenial and adventurous spirit – we were honored to share the day with you! 

Despite our deepest hopes, 2021 was about as tumultuous and uncertain as 2020. However, we adapted and continued to find safe ways to engage in folk learning. In 2021, the Ely Folk School ran 132 successful and enriching classes, from making asiago cheese to birding, from blacksmithing to beading. 886 students joined us in person and online to work with their hands and build relationships with both their peers and the everyday items made in classes from a puukko knife, a necklace, or a homemade pie crust. Our ceramics studio opened to memberships, and we developed a stained glass department. We weathered through a summer of wildfire and are *this close* to putting our 20’ birch bark canoe in the water. 

In 2022, we will be offering a sliding scale payment system for select classes. I am so excited to test this system, which aims to build economic justice and expand the diversity of economic groups we serve. Instructors are able to opt into the sliding scale system and it shall debut in January with our own Lacey Squier’s Jamaican Beef Patty class! We are working on remodeling our kitchen to make it friendlier for demonstration style cooking classes, while also installing handrails at the front door for a more accessible entrance. And of course, that 20’ canoe will make it’s paddling debut! 

Finally, I am quite excited to announce our newest winter program: Ojibwe Storytelling Evenings. It is traditional to share these stories while there is snow on the ground, so we hope you will join us this winter to enjoy good stories and learn a fraction of the core values of Anishinaabeg. You might hear stories such as “The Creation of Turtle Island”, “How Birch Bark Got Its Burns”, and “Why Porcupine Has Quills,” and learn about Mino Bimaadiziwin, which is how to live a good life.

Each of these initiatives will make the Ely Folk School accessible to a wider array of friends, as well as improve everyone’s experience. Thank you for joining me in building up these programs. 

Just as we are working diligently to invest in our current and future community, I invite you to join us further by considering a recurring donation to the Ely FolkSchool. By donating monthly, whether it’s $5, $15, or $50, you affirm your belief in folk learning for everyone here in Northern Minnesota. You’ll be supporting the implementation of new programs such as the Ojibwe Storytelling Program. This makes a meaningful difference in our pursuit of lifelong learning.  

I love journeying with you in EFS’ mission to inspire, interact, and renew. With heartfelt sincerity, and from the whole EFS team, we are honored to carry forth the folk school model to place relationships, culture, and personal & community empowerment at the center of learning and life.

Here’s to a bright new year! 


Lucy Soderstrom, Program Coordinator

We love to see what you create.

Thank you for participating!

Makers Morning

Makers Morning will break for the next two weeks and resume after the holidays on January 6, 2022 from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Holiday Playlist

Here is a little something from us to you!

Holiday Craft

Earlier this month we hosted an Origami Ornament class. Students enjoyed learning a number of different designs, and especially liked the ninja star. This simple design can be made out of holiday wrapping paper and strung from the tree to make a beautiful handmade ornament. Start a new tradition of making origami with your friends and family, keeping pieces from year to year. Below is a pattern for you to try at home. Enjoy!

January Class List

Sustainable Living with Andy Hill
  January 5 at 6:00 pm – FREE

Printing with Gelli Plates with Cecilia Rolando
  January 6 at 1:00 pm – $45

Animal Tracking with Steve Engel
  January 8 at 10:00 am – $24

Stained Glass Studio with Betty Firth

Game Night with Charlie Cecil
  January 10 at 6:00 pm – FREE

Introduction to Clay Work with Nina Wray
  Mondays & Thursdays
  January 10 – February 3 at 6:00 pm – $330

Clay Work with Wade Pharr
  Wednesdays January 12 – February 2 at 6:00 pm – $170

Makers Morning
  January 13 at 9:30 am – FREE

Painting Still Life with Tempera with Cecilia Rolando
  January 13 at 1:00 pm – $45

Animal Tracking with Steve Engel
  January 15 at 10:00 am – $24

Savory Pastries: Jamaican Beef Patties with Lacey Squier
  January 15 at 1:30pm  *Slinging Scale Course Fee

Savory Pastries: Jamaican Beef Patties: Live Online with Lacey Squier
  January 15 at 1:30pm  *Slinging Scale Course Fee

Makers Morning
  January 20 at 9:30 am – FREE

Needle Felt an Arctic Fox: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  January 20 at 1:00 pm – $76

Unfinished Rosemaling Projects with Kim Garrett
 January 21 & 22 at 9:00 am – $60

Makers Morning
  January 23 at 9:30 am – FREE

February Class List

Sustainable Living with Andy Hill
  February 2 at 6:00 pm – FREE

Makers Morning
  February 3 at 9:30 am – FREE

Natural Dyes: Avocado Pits with Nora Rickey
  February 3 at 6:00 pm  *Sliding Scale Price Structure

Create Paper Collages with Cecilia Rolando
  February 4 at 1:00 pm – $35

Snow Snakes Demonstration with Rick Anderson
  February 4 at 3:00 pm – FREE

Diamond Willow Carving From Tree to Trekking Stick with Ken Baasi
  February 5 at 9:00 am – $66

Personalizing Traditional Cornish Pasties with Lacey Squier
  February 5 at 9:00 am  *Sliding Scale Course Fee

Advanced Diamond Willow Carving: Tree to Trekking Stick with Ken Baasi
  February 5 at 1:00 pm – $66

Make a Beaver Hat with Bert Hyde and Mark Olson
  February 6 at 9:00 am – $200

Create a Herringbone Bracelet with Kay Vandervort
 February 6 at 1:30 pm – $39

Mystery Tracks Game Night Challenge with Steve Engel
 February 6 at 4:00 pm – FREE

Makers Morning
  February 10 at 9:30 am – FREE

Funky Jewelry with Cecilia Rolando
  February 10 at 10:00 am – $49

Craft a Gemstone Necklace with Kay Vandervort
  February 10 at 1:30 pm – $39

Linoleum Print Patches with Nora Rickey
  February 10 at 5:00 pm  *Sliding Scale Class Fee

Nature Writing for Women: Our Intimate Bond with Animals: Live Online with DyAnne Korda
  February 12 at 10:00 am – $25

Intro to Chip Carving with Bart Dunning
  February 12 at 12:30 pm – $80

Canoe Trip Tapestry Weaving: Level 1 Skills Builder: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  Saturdays February 12 – March 5 at 2:00 pm – $187

Stained Glass Studio with Betty Firth
  Mondays February 14, 21, 28 at 2:00 pm – $148

Makers Morning
  February 17 at 9:30 am – FREE

Makers Morning
  February 24 at 9:30 am – FREE