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Ely Folk School

Our Classes

Advanced Adobe Lightroom Classic CC


with Les Conrad

Calendar Aug 17, 2019 at 9 am

Saturday, August 17, 2019
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Tuition: $40  Materials: $10

This class is for any photographer who uses Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and wants to learn more. This is not an introductory class, this is a class for individuals who are familiar with basic adjustments in Lightroom Classic and want to learn advanced techniques.

This is a hands on class. We will explore many advanced techniques in Lightroom Classic CC. Key topics include Adjustment Brushes, Radial Filter, Graduated Filter, Presets (both off-the-shelf and custom), Custom Default Styles, Tone Curves, Retouching and more.

Basic familiarity with Lightroom Classic is a prerequisite. Learning will be greatly enhanced if you are able to bring your computer with Lightroom Classic installed. There will be plenty of time for your questions. I’ll supply all students with a handout and a jump drive with images to work on.

About the instructor: Les is a local artist/photographer who focuses on the beauty of the natural world. Les says, “The night sky never ceases to amaze me. We are very lucky to live with some of the darkest night skies around!” Les spent his working life photographing portraits of people. Once retired, Les turned his lenses and attention toward nature, wildlife and landscapes, with particular attention to the night sky. Les moved from the Twin Cities to Ely when he retired.

Les has many years of experience teaching beginning adult photographers including a two-day session at the International Wolf Center. He also presented an “Editing Your Aurora Images” session at the Aurora Summit 2017 in Two Harbors, MN. He knows how to simplify explanations using real world examples so that all learners understand the content.

All Things Chaga


with Allie Austin

Calendar Aug 23, 2019 at 2 pm

Friday, August 23, 2019
2:00 PM- 4:00 PM

Tuition: $20 Materials $30

Did you know, growing on our birch trees is one of the most powerfully medicinal mushrooms in the world? Chaga has been highly studied and has been known to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors, and increase the body's ability to respond and adapt to stress, among it's multitude of other benefits. In this class, we will learn how to identify, harvest, and utilize this medicinal powerhouse for both internal and external use. We will make some chaga preparations in class, and students will each go home with their own informational chaga handbook, including a recipe booklet with numerous chaga remedies and creative ways to use Minnesota's most treasured fungi.  

About the Instructor: Allison Austin has been practicing herbalism for over 13 years. Her passion for plants and herbal medicine began in middle school, and has continued to play a central role in her life ever since. She has studied under herbalists in Minnesota, California, Texas, and with Mayan elders in Guatemala.

Allison is passionate about bringing the traditional practices of herbalism to people in a practical and accessible way, and encouraging people to utilize herbs in their local area to become more self-sustainable and take charge of their own health. 

Autumn’s Awesome Go-Anywhere Tote
Registration Unavailable

Autumn’s Awesome Go-Anywhere Tote


with Autumn Cole

Calendar Jul 19, 2019 at 8 am

Friday, July 19, 2019
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Tuition: $80  Materials: $5.00

This attractive and practical tote can be used as a purse or a carryall for work or projects. It has two large pockets in the inside, is lightweight, washable, and stands upright. It is a great introduction to quilting, as one will learn about rotary cutting, piecing, batting, quilting, and finishing touches. You'll have fun making it and will receive so many compliments on your unique Go Anywhere Tote, you'll be glad you did.

You’ll need to buy your choice of fabric ahead of time, which with supplies will cost about $30. This total includes the 10% discount at Mary’s Spinning Wheel (located in Ely) that Ely Folk School class participants receive. She will have the list of supplies on hand and can also help you choose appropriate fabric. The shop hours vary, so check before you go!

Your supply list for this 11" X 14" X 4" tote:

  • 4 fat quarters of different fabric or 36 five-inch squares (charm pack)
  • 1 yard of complementary fabric for lining and handles
  • 1-1/2 yards of Pellon 987F fusible fleece
  • 1 one-inch button
  • 2 spools of 110 yds of Gutermann thread to match the lining fabric.

The Folk School has sewing machines, but bring your own sewing machine with its manual, if possible, so you can work with a familiar machine. Other sewing supplies will be provided.

About the instructor: Autumn Cole enjoys creating unique and colourful quilts, purses and bags, aprons, and more. She has taught sewing classes for many years, including at the Ely Folk School where some of her quilts and other sewn items are offered for sale.

Autumn says, “As a psychologist, I have enjoyed teaching psychology classes at various colleges, and as a certified Happiness Coach, I teach classes on the keys to happiness. I enjoy teaching!”


Full Course

Barn Quilts for Beginners


with Jill Dalbacka

Calendar Sep 6, 2019 at 1 pm

Friday, September 6, 2019
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tuition: $40  Materials Fee: $30

Barn quilts have a relatively recent history in American agricultural communities. A nod to the contributions of women in agriculture, they are also a way to give what is traditionally an "inside" folk art (traditional quilting) a more permanent and public display for people to enjoy.

This class will cover the history of barn quilts and all techniques needed to paint your own barn quilt. In class you will be designing a quilt, graphing it out on a 24" x 24" "quilt square", and then painting it. You will leave class with a quilt square that will be ready to hang. After the initial introduction to barn quilts, students will work on their projects with lots of individual attention and support from Jill.

About the Instructor: Jill Dalbacka recently retired from a career teaching elementary school and adult education with a prior career as an occupational therapist. In retirement she is pursuing her passions, which includes spending time with grandchildren, working on social justice and racial equality issues, and creating and sharing her craft with others.  She has been interested in barn quilts for several years but only recently started to create her own on her farm where she and her family are the third generation. They are in the process of renovating their barn (also built in 1921) to become a community event space. Jill’s dream is to work with her local communities to create a barn quilt trail along the local highway that will be able to support an annual barn quilt event.


Beautiful Beaded Serving Spoon


with Autumn Cole

Calendar Jul 26, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Friday, July 26, 2019
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $25  Materials: $9

Students will learn how to use beaded wire to wrap serving spoons to make a unique server for yourself or to give as a gift. They are fun to make and perfect to pop into a bowl of fruit salad or a casserole, adding a bit of color and whimsey. It’s the perfect spoon to take to a potluck since no one will confuse it with their own, and you’re not likely to leave it behind. What could be a better gift for a wedding shower, holiday gift, or to show appreciation to a wonderful hostess?

About the instructor: Autumn Cole has taught various classes at the Ely Folk School and elsewhere in creating jewelry and other items with beads and wire, as well as sewing and quilting. Autumn is retired from a career in psychology, part-time college instructor, and business owner of a consignment boutique. She says she has always enjoyed teaching, and her students give her rave reviews as an enthusiastic, patient, and encouraging instructor.

Her hobbies have included sewing, quilting, creating jewelry, and participating in outdoor sports. She finds creative activities to be a way to relax the mind and bring joy to the heart.She is currently a certified Happiness Coach and likes to focus on being a grateful and uplifting person while also helping other people do so.


Full Course

Birch Bark Baskets 101


with Susanna Pershern

Calendar Sep 5, 2019 at 1 pm

Thursday, September 5, 2019
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tuition: $40   Materials: $5

Learn to make a beautiful, simple birch bark basket using spruce roots, birch bark and saplings gathered from the Northwoods. You will walk away with a beautiful basket to remind you of the richness of the forest. After only a few short hours in the classroom, you will also carry with you the skills to make more baskets. All the materials will be provided.

About the instructor: Susanna Pershern is an artist and underwater photographer for the Submerged Resources Center of the United States National Park Service. Pershern trained in the traditional photographic processes and several alternative photographic processes at Rockport College, Rockport, ME, (now, Maine Media College.)

Susanna has experience as a young artist counselor and has taught previously at the Ely Folk School. She’s looking forward to returning to Ely and we’re very happy to welcome her back!

Canoe Flotilla to Lac La Croix Pow Wow

Calendar Aug 22, 2019

Thursday, August 22, 2019 to

Sunday, August 25, 2019

We visited in 2016 and had our 13' birchbark canoe blessed by an elder, and the Lac La Croix First Nation has invited us back for their celbration in August. Join us as we resurrect the traditional method of transportation, when flotillas of canoes would arrive each summer from Ely for the festivities.

We'll launch from Little Indian Sioux and camp on Loon Lake. On Friday, we'll paddle to Lac La Croix to camp and then arrive at the pow wow on Saturday morning. The pow wow grounds has tent sites, bathrooms, campfire cooking and a lovely sand beach.

Fun includes games, a feast and competetive drumming and dancing. Sunday morning includes a breakfast buffet and native ceremonies. We hope to bring our 20' birchbark canoe for a blessing by the elders.

For complete details, see the blog on our web site.


Will run

Capture Nature in Resin


with Carolyn Quick

Calendar Aug 8, 2019 at 1 pm

Thursday, August 8, 2019
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Tuition: $20 Materials: $30

Create your own nature masterpiece! Using a two-part resin and your choice of inclusions, we will be creating a 3-1/4" round piece of art. Pine cones, pine needles, catkins, birch bark, and other natural items will be supplied. You are also welcome to bring your own inclusions such as charms, beads, photos, anything!

Your final creation will set in 24 hours and can be picked up at the Folk School the next day. (Special arrangements can be made during class to take it with you and/or ship it.) It can be be drilled in class for use as a basket center for either of the pine needle basketry classes, as an ornament, or even a suncatcher! 

You will leave with a new skill that can be used to capture your adventures and memories in a new and unique way.

About the instructor: Carolyn is the instructor of the Pine Needle Basketry classes and has been creating the resin centers for her classes. So many students wanted to learn, that she has added this class!

Carolyn has taught a variety of topics including high school English, music, several courses for the DNR, and has also been a field training officer for police officers. She is now retired with a background in law enforcement, finance, and project management, and is most happy when in the woods.



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