Hello October!

This is one of my favorite times of the year. The chaotic rhythm of summer starts to slow, but hasn’t fully disappeared. It’s replaced by a new type of chaos -one of rehoming, reconnecting, renewing the helpful habits and warm rituals that carry us through the winter. 

This month feels especially geared toward coming together in community. The chill to the air and the return of “off season” favorites – pizza at the Boathouse, dance lessons with Reflections, and morning hikes with a shotgun, looking for grouse – make me excited for the upcoming season.

In the spirit of preparing for colder weather and intentionally creating community, EFS  has started a Mittens for Ukraine campaign, thanks to the mastermind and lead organizer, Bert Hyde! EFS board member Ozzie Reif and former EFS board member, Autumn Cole have developed patterns for 4 different sized mittens for youth. Volunteers have been organizing fabric, cutting out patterns, and sewing mittens. Thus far, we have almost 100 pairs of mittens ready to be sewn! More on this below. 
And, in more things we’re excited about – We’re overjoyed that Alexia Springer has expanded her role with EFS and has moved into our Programming Team! Alexia has been an invaluable voice on the EFS team since December 2020 and we’re thrilled to continue to grow and learn with her.

Lucy Soderstrom, Program Director

View full list of classes online.

Events to Add Warmth to your Autumn

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. 

Program Coordinator Spotlight: Alexia Springer

How long have you been involved at EFS?

I started doing social media, website design/updates, and putting together the monthly newsletters for a little over a year now. I currently teach backcountry baking and making origami ornaments. This summer I helped spearhead the weekly Kids Makers Morning.

What are you looking forward to working on as the Program Coordinator?

I’m looking forward to working with instructors and volunteers to help grow the Ely Folk School authentically. I love to see the joy and satisfaction on someones face when they learn a new skill or create something unique with their own hands. I’m looking forward to helping others discover new hobbies and interests while supporting existing makers. 

What else do you do outside of EFS?
My husband and I own and operate Ely Bike and Kicksled and you can usually see me riding my bike around town if not at EFS or the bike shop. The creative process has always helped me process emotions and experiences and I enjoy a variety of creative outlets including painting rock mandalas, knitting, mending, and making porcupine quill earrings. I love spending time outdoors and am always ready for a trip into the BWCAW. 

What’s a fun fact about you?
I learned how to use porcupine quills for earring designs by the Selkirk First Nation in Pelly Crossing, Yukon. I was there for about a month in 2017 volunteering on a cattle farm with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. 

Monthly Sisu

The Ely Folk School is making mittens for kids in Ukraine!

Why? Because hearty Elyites know that there is no bad weather, just improper preparation and access to good clothing. We are putting that belief to good use and drawing on Ely’s resourcefulness and neighborliness to sew рукавиці (mittens) for children in Ukraine.

A project like this takes a village! A heartfelt thank you to our volunteer team of fabric cutters and sewers! And thank you to Wintergreen Northern Wear, who donated our first batch of fleece and to Bert Hyde, the creator and organizer of the campaign. Without Wintergreen and Bert, the project would not have gotten off the ground!

Our village doors are open. Do you have fleece forgotten in your closet? Consider donating it to the Mittens for Ukraine campaign. Do you have a sewing machine and some time? Consider joining our sewing team. Do you want to be involved in mitten creation, but don’t reside in Ely? Reach out and we can send you copies of our patterns. One very crucial way to help is to donate money to cover fleece purchases and shipping costs. When donating, please put “Mittens” in the memo line. Our current goal is to make 500 pairs of mittens this winter! Can we exceed that goal?

Our next work session is this Thursday, October 6 at 10 am. Following work sessions will be scheduled based on our supply of available fabric. Reply to this email if you’d like to be added to the volunteer email list. 

Class Spotlight

Traditional Finnish Ornaments – Himmeli 
Saturday, October 22 at 10:00 am

Himmeli are Finnish ornaments and mobiles traditionally made from straw.  Elaborate combinations may be assembled to create a larger decoration. Traditionally a larger himmeli was believed to bring a bountiful harvest, and many Scandinavian homes still include these simple and delicate ornaments over the family table around the holidays.

We will use both manufactured and natural materials to make our himmeli in class. These beautiful geometric mobiles will be a great addition to your office, dining room, or nursery! 

About the Instructor: LynnAnne Vesper is a self-described Scandinavian buff. She’s fluent in Swedish, though LynnAnne prides herself on being able to pick up a decent amount of Finnish and Norwegian. She has guided canoe and dogsled trips in the Ely area for over two decades, teaching all the skills needed to participants, and has taken Ely Folk School participants out wild rice harvesting for several years. She has taught with Elderhostel programs, the Swedish and French Voyageur summer youth programs, Corcordia Language Villages and Vermilion Community College. 

LynnAnne’s himmeli was recently shown at the Reflections Dance Company’s summer show: Math in Motion. 

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.