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July Newsletter

Learn Something New

July in Ely – is there anything better??  The town is bustling with people, lake temperatures are slowly becoming delightfully swimmable, and it’s projected to be a bountiful blueberry harvest. I would say I can’t wait to go blueberry picking, but the truth is I hope these beautiful July days pass by in slow motion so that I can properly soak up all the summer goodness, which includes an exciting array of Ely Folk School classes.

None of what we offer at the Ely Folk School would be possible without the financial support of community members like you. Have you seen our recent fundraising email? We received the offer of a $10,000 donation if we are able to secure matching funds by July 15. We have ten days to raise $10,000 – 

We knead your support –  Help us raise some dough!  

When I asked Ely Folk School painting instructor Cecilia Rolando if she would consider supporting us by providing a visual to accompany our summer 2022 fundraising campaign, she did not hesitate. As you can see, she put together a piece of art that captures the tender love and care that goes into all handcraft, inspired by memories of her mother making potica. Building community through handcraft and keeping beloved traditions alive is what the Ely Folk School is all about. 

Visit this link to help us secure the matching funds today; be like Cecilia – don’t hesitate! 

And, if you can, consider setting up an automated, monthly contribution to the Ely Folk School. Ours is a small, but mighty team. I can’t convey what it means to us when we see a donation – in any amount – come through. It helps us know that, although our administrative team is small, our supporters are many. 

Thank you for your support, 

Lacey Squier, Ely Folk School Board Member


View full list of classes online.


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. Drop in whenever as you like, for as long as you like. 
Game Night
Monday, July 11th
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. 
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. 

*This activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Instructor Spotlight: Erik Simula

What is favorite part of BBCP to teach and why?
My favorite part of the Birch Bark Canoe Project to teach are the concepts of compression and tension in the canoe. This involves understanding the unique qualities of the forest materials and traditional canoe design. For example, white birch bark is positioned so it curls into the canoe, which counters the tendency of the bent cedar ribs to splay outward. Or how, when the cedar ribs are sequentially driven into place, the birch bark hull is greatly strengthened and the canoe “comes alive and stands proud” – it stretches wrinkled bark smooth, creates a significant increase in hull depth, and produces desirable rocker. When students experience and understand these transformations in the construction process, it highlights the ingenuity of design and the knowledge and skills required to build a seaworthy birch bark canoe. 

What do you enjoy most about your craft?
What I most enjoy about birch bark canoe craft are the embedded connections to the land and our ancestors: the smell and feel of cedar, spruce root, and pine pitch; forest, lakes, and rivers; stone and bone hand tools and fire; animals, the spirit world, and each other; foot travel and survival; beauty, art, and tradition; learning, knowledge, and skill; and to the Indigenous worldview of respect, sharing, encouragement, and stewardship. All these attributes are important to remember, celebrate,  and honor.

How long have you been involved at EFS?
I helped inspire and start the Ely Folk School. The first EFS classes I taught, in 2015, were birch bark canoe construction and sauna craft.

What’s a fun fact about you?
Fun fact: In 2009, I paddled and portaged a solo birch bark canoe around the 1854 Ceded Territory / Minnesota Arrowhead Region with my dog Kitigan. We departed from Lake Superior shelf ice in Grand Portage on Earth Day (April 22nd), voyaged through Duluth, Grand Rapids, International Falls, and arrived back in Grand Portage for the annual Rendezvous Powwow in August. Our “Arrowhead Journey” remains a most powerful experience and drives my research for future writing. See arrowheadjourney.wordpress.com for details.

Babies First Blueberries: A Quetico Adventure
Written by RavenWordsPress

“Late July is a great time for canoe tripping in the border country—the lakes are warm enough for long swims, the black flies are mostly gone, the mosquitoes usually don’t come out until sunset, and the blueberries are ripe. Picking blueberries always reminds me of the year we transformed our canoe tripping style due to the birth of our baby. We slowed way down, taking more satisfaction in a comfortable campsite than in making miles. There were frequent breaks for nursing, diaper changing, or just plain fussiness that seemed to indicate a desire for a change of scenery. In camp we alternated between parenting, camp chores, and catching up on sleep and personal time.”

Continue Reading…


Blueberry Hand Pies: OnsiteOR Live Online
Saturday, July 30 at 9:00 am

These butter crust hand pies can be made in bulk and frozen either before they’ve been baked or after. Prep ahead to have at the ready to bring as a shareable treat when you’re called to an impromptu summer bonfire with friends.

Participants will leave class with eight uncooked, ready to freeze hand pies! Check the email you receive upon registration for a list of ingredients and supplies. 


July Class List
Embroidery on Denim with Candace Bischoff
  July 7 at 2:00 pm – $46
Backcountry Baking with Alexia Springer
 July  9 at 10:00 am – $34
Linoleum Printing on Fabric with Nora Rickey
  July 14 at 5:00 pm – $61 
Beyond the Hammer: Tools for Your Garden with the forging community
  July 15 at 5:00 pm & July 16 at 9:00 am – $145
Stenciled Wildflower with Kristen Aune
  July 17 at 2:00 pm – $66
Anishinaabemowin Basics with Jessica Anderson
  July 20 at 6:00 pm – $20
Creating a Dialogue with Nature: Part Two with Rachelle Elizabeth
  July 21 at 5:30 pm & July 23 at 11:00 am – $35
Introduction to Weaving on an Inkle Loom with Diane Thomson
 July 22 at 9:00 am – $109
Inkle Loom Beyond Stripes: Weaving Pick Up with Daine Thomson
  July 23 at 9:00 am – $109
Songwriting Circle with Joey Kenig
  June 28, July 26 & August 30 at 1:00 pm – $10 cash/person
Manoomin: The Food that Grows on Water & Carving Wild Rice Knockers with Rick Anderson
  July 27 at 5:30 pm – $25
مسمن Moroccan Flatbread with Lucy Soderstrom
  July 28 at 6:00 pm – $40
Memory Wire Bracelet with Kay Vandervort
  July 28 at 12:00 pm – $40
Blueberry Hand Pies with Lacey Squier
  July 30 at 9:00 am -$51
Blueberry Hand Pies: Live Online with Lacey Squier
  July 30 at 9:00 am -$36
August Class List
Stories of Ely with Jäc Miller
  August 1 & August 2 at 2:00 pm – $40  *Youth Class
Bead Embroidered Bracelet with Kay Vandervort
  August 4 at 1:00 pm – $40
Mixed Perception Presents the Magic Flute 
  August 6 at 4:00 pm – FREE
Plein Air Sketching in the Park with Phoebe Mol 
  August 7 at 9:00 am – $73
Carving Green Wood for Beginners with Daniel Westhoven and Ben Rolland
  August 7 at 1:00 pm – $122
Gyotaku: Fish Painting with Lyn Reed 
  August 12 at 12:00 pm – $42
Maiolica Glazing Workshop with Karin Kraemer
  August 13 at 10:00 am – $95
Songwriting Workshop with J. Jeffrey Messerole
  August 13 at 3:00 pm – $25
J. Jeffrey Messerole Live in Concert
  August 13 at 7:00 pm – $20
Rattle Making with Allison Bell
  August 17 & 24 at 1:00 pm – $55
Prehistoric Native American Effigy Pots with Lyn Reed
  August 18 and 25 at 10:00 am – $35   *Youth Class
Needle Felt a Loon: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  August 19 at 2:00 pm – $72 
Learn to Weave – Rigid Heddle with Diane Thomson
  August 20 at 9:00 am – $99
Making Musical Clay with Lyn Reed 
  August 20 & 27 at 10:00 am – $55
Introduction to Tapestry Weaving: Live Online with Laura Berlage
  August 20 at 2:00 pm – $264
Minnesota Medicinal Foraging with Allie Austin
  August 23 at 1:00 pm – $50
Creating a Dialogue with Nature: Part Three with Rachelle Elizabeth
  August 25 & August 27 – *Sliding Scale Payment
Songwriting Circle with Joey Kenig
  August 30 at 1:00 pm – $10 cash
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.
Click to donate
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.