These mid-April snowstorms and blustery winds have tested my patience, but I am resolved to be resilient. The truth is I simply can’t complain. April has been a blesséd month thus far.

Straddled between two extremely delightful potica classes (more on that later), was an enriching Ely Folk School instructor retreat. A promising combination of instructors – returners who have been with us since our first season, first-timers eager awaiting upcoming classes, and prospective instructors – convened to exchange ideas. Nora Rickey taught us weaving, and Nina Wray taught us ceramics. We learned, we laughed, we played. 

Allow me to spiral back to the mention of potica. Walnut potica (pronounced “po-teet-zah”) is a Slovenian sweet dough pastry. Potica is a celebratory treat, and one of many traditional Easter dishes which receives a blessing on Holy Saturday. As such it made good sense to offer a couple of potica classes in advance of the holiday. Between an in-person class and a hybrid class, I was able to share a special “makers” experience with 23 other potica-enthusiasts.

Again we learned, we laughed, and we played. It is fascinating to watch the dough stretch from the middle of the table, slowly expanding towards its edges. And dare I say it may even have been fun to engage in some group problem solving when our delectable honey-walnut-butter-cream filling ended up thicker than we thought it should have. We giggled as we took turns spreading the filling across the thin, thin dough – but not nearly as joyously as we giggled when we rolled the dough with a swift motion of our precious potica cloth.  

And that was just the beginning of the month! There is yet more in store. Scroll down to see our upcoming class list, and to get a sneak peek of other upcoming Ely Folk School goodness. 

Much love, 


Below is an excerpt from our latest blog: 
The Magic in Being Creative

Written by John Kopp
“…..As we clean I find myself looking around admiring the variety of tasks being performed. The results stand out. While one person sprays cleaner another guides the scrubbing machine. As it whirs it leaves behind a shined floor. Reaching high a squeegee is brought to bear on wet windows. In its wake it leaves the clearness of care. The dim brought to brightness enhances the life the school embraces. My vacuum roars with the sound of reassurance that what was once a grimy rug will shed its gunk leaving a surface pleasing to the eye and enticing to the feet. Our many tasks create a unified purpose, caring.

Our conversations are not limited to cleaning. They have that balance between work and interest in the world. Cleaning as a way of connecting to place extends into the project to which I am committed, “Writing with Your Child for Your Child”. A good creation grows, it births something sustainable. This project is no different. Its latest birthing is about play. A new class has come out of that original idea. It also facilitates the growth of the parent/child partnership. It is entitled “Playing to Create Story”. The concept is straightforward. If we play we will trigger that creative story telling capability. The idea behind it is that being with our children is a reciprocal experience.

I know as a parent I always yearned to pass on those pieces of information that help our children become wise. Now, however, I also think about the valuable insights I learn from them. I heard it said the other day “Our children are our elders in universe time. They are born into a world that is more complete and evolved than we can know except to see it through their eyes.” Playing and storytelling is a way to do this. We not only pass on information, but we also learn to see the world through the eyes of our children. We experience wonder and lightness. This is The Magic of Being Creative. Maybe here the magic is so powerful because the Folk School and its classes do not exist in a vacuum. They are a part of the place in which they dwell.”

Recurring Events

Thursday Makers 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.

Game Night

Monday, May 2
Monday, June 6

Monday, August 1
Monday, September 5

6:00 PM – FREE

Join the Ely Folk school for an evening of games and community. An assortment of board games, cards, and refreshments will be provided. Come prepared to learn a new game or bring your favorite to share with everyone! 

Registration not required, but encouraged. 

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.

Birch Bark Canoe Project

Weekly starting Sunday, June 5, 2022
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

$15 or $50 for the summer

Join the Ely Folk School for our birch bark canoe project this summer! The BBCP is a community build and this summer we are completing work on our 20 foot canoe. We welcome you to join us as you’re available on Sundays, from 1 pm – 5 pm to respect, learn about, and craft an Anishinaabe birchbark canoe. 

Looking for a new summer hobby?
A one month membership to the Ceramics Studio is $160.

The average EFS class is around $50.

New t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats are in stock and available for purchase!