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 November Newsletter

What fantastic fall weather we have been having in the north woods. Although the wind has been fierce and seemed to chill to the bone at times, we’ve had many sunny days with colors ablaze. I know these days are just preparing us for the weather to come. 

Just as the weather has been preparing my body for winter, the Ely Folk School has been reignighting my creative energy, preparing me for the projects that somehow only the dark winter hours allow. Taking classes at EFS not only helps fulfill my creative urges, but learning and making with other people in class, listening to the instructor’s wisdom, those are the real highlights that leave me feeling inspired. Please, browse the class list closely, I’m sure you’ll find something that excites you too!

In addition to classes, we have upcoming events you are sure to enjoy. This weekend is the second community contra dance, held at the Ely Senior Center. Four Mile Portage will be playing music for the event on Saturday, November 5th from 7-10pm. No experience is needed, all the dances are taught and kids can attend free with a parent. 

Give to the Max Day 2022 is coming up on November 17th, although you can give towards the campaign for the entire month. This year donors who give $100+ via the Ely Folk School Give to the Max campaign will be invited to an EXCLUSIVE Top Chef event on Saturday, November 26 from 4-6pm. Attendees will celebrate fall in the Northwoods by sampling dishes featuring local fall squash and specialty cocktails, which will all incorporate apples. Food and beverages will be prepared by four local competitors and attendees will vote on a winner at the end of the night. 

The Meat Raffle hosted at Zaverl’s Bar is back on Friday, November 18th from 5-7pm. Cuts of beef, pork, some fish/shrimp and wine will be auctioned off with karaoke to follow. 

The following week, the Ely Folk School looks forward to hosting Thanksgiving dinner from 3-5pm for folks in the community.

Please bring something to share!

Alexia Springer, Program Coordinator 

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, November 7

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. 

Instructor Spotlight: Paul Webster

What is currently your favorite topic or skill to teach about and why?
My favorite thing to teach would have to be blacksmithing, although I am putting together a proposal to build a wood fired bread oven for Ely Folk School where students are part of the construction process. Blacksmithing is so wide ranging and can go very deep as a discipline. It is almost infinite in its possibilities!

How long have you been teaching at EFS?
I have taught classes at EFS for a year or so.

What is your favorite thing to create?
 I can honestly say I do not have a favorite thing to create. I have been making things in many different media since I was very young.
The number of individual artifacts has probably exceeded 90,000. Just “J” hooks are probably over 30,000. It has been fun to make everything from cross country skis to fiber sculpture to metal sculpture to canoe paddles to pizza ovens to fireplaces to forges to gardens to medieval weapons to wood carvings to little forged metal widgets and thingamajigs. The list goes on and so did the fun!

What advice do you have for folks interested in learning?
My advice to anyone who wants to learn interesting new things is to study first. Read everything you can find on the process, interview or watch crafters if you can. Study examples when possible. But eventually, you need to try doing the thing you want to do!! Folk school classes rock for this part of the learning process! It is important to remember that unless you commit some ridiculous safety violations, failure is not a bad thing at all. Unless you are failing early and often, you are probably not doing much. The best lessons of all come from making mistakes and paying attention to them as they happen. Often, they clearly point out what not to do. The perfect is usually the enemy of the good. Be at peace with the oopsies and dangits, for they add texture to life and learning.

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.

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.