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April Newsletter
Learn Something New

Looking ahead at the class schedule, it is exciting to see the synergy our program coordinators are creating among classes. For example, you can learn to make feta cheese and then add it to a beautiful charcuterie board for Mother’s Day in May. A few weeks later, you can learn about seasoning and caring for cast iron pans to prepare for the cast iron pizza and (optional) bloody mary class with Lacey Squier. A long list of early spring classes such as mushroom foraging, and women’s nature writing, followed by weekly birding by ear, house plant swap/social, and spring edibles classes have me looking forward to what the warmer months have to offer. 

I hope you continue to take advantage of the opportunities to learn and create in community with one another. Don’t forget about our youth spring break classes, there is still time time to register. 

If you have a story or picture from taking a class or attending an event, we would love to hear from you! 

Alexia Springer, Media

View full list of classes online.

Instructor Spotlight: Peta Barrett
What is your favorite class to teach?
My favorite class to teach is lacing the modern version of the traditional Ojibway style snowshoe. Folks learn a totally new skill (Think macramé meets math…it requires your creative and your analytical brain powers, along with some hand strength.) What I find gratifying is that students go home with a functional pair of snowshoes that will get them out in the north woods of winter, across the unbroken snow of lakes and woods. But they also have an heirloom that they’ll be able to pass on to a future generation of family or friends. Not to mention they’re beautiful when stored for spring, summer and fall on your wall. Pretty sweet all the way around!

What do you love most about your craft?
I probably covered that in #1. Sharing the knowledge, and the practical differences between a traditional style of snowshoe, passed on to us from our lake and woods indigenous people from centuries ago, vs. the modern aluminum frames. It’s about the beauty, artistry, and practical functionality of the Ojibway style snowshoe in north woods conditions of deep, unbroken snow on lakes and through the woods. Hand-crafted Art vs. Manufacturing en masse. Those toothy, aluminum frame snowshoes are great on hard-packed city trails, or in the mountains with windblown hard pack to traverse. But it’s the traditional Ojibway snowshoe that will best float you in the deep snows, and wild places where you are the first to break trail and go exploring. And they develop a lovely patina after years of use and care; something the aluminum frames cannot deliver. 

How long have you been teaching at EFS?
I moved to Ely in 2014, so I got involved with the Ely Folk School pretty soon after it was founded in 2015. With my own company to tend to (Women’s Wilderness Discovery…year round outfitting/guiding) I don’t have a great deal of time to devote to teaching at the EFS. But when I do, I LOVE it!

What is a fun fact or hidden talent you have?
I’m a certified scuba diver, licensed to ride motorcycle, I can play a mean nose flute, but really enjoy percussion of all sorts.

Recurring Events

Thursday Mornings

9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Join other makers and crafters weekly at the Ely Folk School for a relaxed morning of creativity and sharing. Whether you crochet, quilt, solder, write, or weave, any project is welcome. This space is also excellent for students who did not finish a project during their class.

All are welcome, no matter skill level or (reasonable) project type.  Drop in whenever as you like, for as long as you like. 

Kids Makers Morning

Friday mornings June – August

FREE – Register

Ages 8-18, or younger children accompanied by a parent or guardian. Drop in whenever for as long as you like. 

Staff member Alexia Springer will be present to facilitate a fun, kid-friendly craft project in case you don’t have anything to work on and still want to create.

Chipping Away: Carving Club 

First and Third Wednesdays, June through September
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Free – Register

Open to all wood carvers, whittlers, wood workers, and other artists! All levels of skill and experience are welcome. Everyone from a first time carver to a professional carver can join us, socialize, learn something, and get a little carving in!

We’ll meet every other Wednesday throughout the summer in the Ely Folk School’s Pocket Park on Sheridan Street and should we desire, we can carve around the campfire.

Carvers must bring their own materials and projects. Come make woodchips!

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 a donation.
Click to donate
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.