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Winter is good and here in the great northwoods.

Fat snowflakes fell on November 24, but our Thanksgiving was relatively snow free. I lamented the lack of snow, but really there is much to be thankful for. Each evening when I walk my dogs around the block before bed, we listen to the creaking and moaning of the ice forming and expanding. And even while I miss the early winter snow; I’ve dusted off my brother’s old hockey skates and found exhilaration and joy in spinning around on the wild ice. The quiet on the ice and the soft mid-morning light makes for a magical moment of reflection and unity with the world. This, of course, happens after checking ice depth and wearing proper gear. 

I look forward to again flying along the ice on a dogsled at our Holiday Party on December 11th! You will also be able to socialize at an outdoor bonfire, play Snow Snakes, an Ojibwe winter game, and indulge with homemade pasties and glögg! We also have several classes this month which you can still register for, just in time for you to craft the perfect winter decor or gift. Plus, our Winter 2022 classes will be released on Friday, December 17. This will include everything we’re offering during the Ely Winter Festival 2022! Dogsled lodges, resorts, and motels are already filling up in anticipation of Ely’s most festive winter weekend. Mark your calendar for the 17th and reserve your spot in an EFS class before those fill up too! 

Lucy Soderstrom, Program Coordinator

Special thanks to Bent Paddle, Zups, Piragis, and Ely Liquor for helping sponsor the holiday party.

View full list of classes online.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jodi Chaffin

When did you start volunteering?
I started volunteering for the Folk School, well, I don’t know exactly….in its first few years anyways.

What inspired you to start volunteering?
I really like the idea of the Folk School, a community resource for all, to learn new skills, and I know it requires lots of volunteers to make it work. When I first volunteered, I was out front, and it was so enjoyable to meet people coming in for the first time exploring what the folk school has to offer and seeing their excitement when they get close to a birch bark canoe and see them in awe of the quilts hanging and when they catch sight of all the other items around the school made by Folk School instructors. And I’ve taken many of the classes so I can share my enthusiasm with them.

Why do you enjoy volunteering?
 As a volunteer, I’m like one of the many pegs in the birch bark canoe, meaning I’m a minor little piece of the whole picture, but when all the minor pieces are put together, we make a difference. More recently when I volunteer, I enter data that the Folk School needs to record and I submit classes to the Chamber website.

What is a fun fact about you?
When I’m not volunteering, I can be found playing outdoors, or inside sketching, painting or writing, or down in the cities visiting my 3 year old granddaughter.

Monthly Sisu:  Calling All Volunteers

Written by Nora Rickey

“Working at Interact as a staff member, I have learned how crucial volunteers are to helping the community function. While staff work to facilitate programming and care for different artist’s needs, volunteers support by engaging with artists over their art work, support the creation of art, or help to organize and sort through supplies so that artists can use them freely. And nowt only do they provide a valuable service to the community, but they also infuse the space with new energy and can give attention to people or areas staff don’t have the time to give focus to. 

In my short time at the Ely Folk School, I have learned how volunteers support the school just like they have at Interact Center. Not only do they fill in areas where our staff cannot spend the time, they also carry the passion we all share at the folk school into their given time. Our community is a beautiful network made up of the staff at the school, the instructors who teach and the participants in classes, community members, and the volunteers.”

The Ely Folk School has volunteer hours to class incentive, and there have been some recent additions. You can now use your volunteer hours towards ceramics classes and membership. Five hours of volunteer time gets you $20 off of ceramics class time or membership.  *There is a cap at 10 hours of volunteer time per month towards studio membership.

Class Spotlight: Evening of Chess

With Charlie Cecil

Saturday, December 4 at 6:00 pm

Chess is an ancient game of strategy that continues to captivate people to this day. Players of all skill, ages, and interest are invited to join the Ely Folk School for an evening of chess and community building. Whether you’ve been playing for years or have never played but are curious to learn, this will be a friendly, noncompetitive environment that focuses on enjoying the game of chess and all it has to offer. Bring your own set if you have one, as well as any snacks and refreshments you wish to share with the group. This evening will be facilitated by Ely Folk School instructor Charlie Cecil.

Registration is FREE and not required, but encouraged. 

December Class List

Makers Morning 
  December 2 at 9:30 am – FREE

Linoleum Print Patches with Nora Rickey
  December 2 at 1:00 pm – $73

Two Parts: Bulk Individual Pot Pies Live Online with Lacey Squier
  December 2 at 7:00 pm & December 4 at 10:00 am – $48

Hammer & Tongs & More with the 

Forging Community
  December 3 at 5:00 pm & December 4 at 9:00 am – $140

Evening of Chess with Charlie Cecil
  December 4 at 6:00 pm – FREE

Makers Morning 
  December 9 at 9:30 am – FREE

Printing with Gelli Plates with Cecilia Rolando
  December 9 at 1:00 pm – $45

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

Origami Ornaments with Alexia Springer

 December 9 at 5:00 pm – $24

Slovenian Walnut 

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

Potica with Lacey Squier
  December 10 at 5:00 pm – $52

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

Animal Tracking with Steve Engel
  December 18 at 10:00 am – $24

Makers Mornings
December 16 at 9:30 am – FREE

 January & February class lists will be available for viewing on coursestorm on December 17th.

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.