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Ely Folk School

Our Classes

Introduction to Tapestry Weaving: Live Online
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Introduction to Tapestry Weaving: Live Online


with Laura Berlage

Calendar Sep 12, 2021 at 2 pm, runs for 6 weeks

Sundays, September 12 - October 17,  2021
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $144   Materials: $95  Shipping: $20

This course takes places over six consecutive Sunday afternoons. 

Registration closes on September 3 to ensure time to ship materials. 

Curious about how tapestries are made and ready to try your hand at pictorial weaving? This most ancient form of textile creation is rich with history and invitation for creative expression.

Master weaver Laura Berlage will take you on a multi-week journey into the magical world of tapestry, where you will learn to transform warp and weft into a peaceful sunset landscape, measuring approximately 10x10 inches. Starting with a simple frame loom, focus will be given to establishing good tapestry technique and learning the process for horizontal and angled forms—beginning with foundational geometrics and building into more naturalistic forms. Fundamentals of cartoon creation and shading will also be covered. Unlock the mystery of how tapestry is made and add these skills to your expressions in fiber.

Join us for this welcoming online class! This class is beginner friendly, though please note that repetitive beating on the textile with the hand comb may cause aggravation of arthritis. 

The materials kit includes a frame loom plus stick shed dowel, ready to assemble; 2 large eye tatting needles; wool yarn for the project; wand comb/beater; spool of cotton warp; copy of the cartoon; and a handout with links to pre-recorded auxiliary tutorials. The student will need to provide for themselves good light; 2-3 tapestry needles; 2 binder clips; and a pair of sharp scissors. 

About the Instructor: Laura Berlage is a contemporary Renaissance woman living and working on her family’s century-old homestead farm outside Hayward, WI. From fiber arts to creative writing, music to storytelling, she never tires of the magic of transforming idea into form and overlapping narrative and visual. Laura also loves working with the many and beautiful natural materials from her farm—especially the wool from her sheep. Laura began her devotion to tapestry at age 13, studying 5 ½ years with master tapestry weaver Fran Potter before completing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College in 2011.  She continues her lifelong passion for learning with engaged, hands-on teaching for small groups to encourage creativity, imagination, and expression.

Make a Bent Willow Chair


with John Bajda

Calendar Sep 25, 2021 at 8 am

Saturday, September 25, 2021
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $90  Materials $25 
One registration is good for two students and one chair.

If you have been looking for a statement chair or a way to dip your hands into furniture building for the first time, you've come to the right place! John will demonstrate making a chair from start to finish, laying the groundwork for everyone to make their own chairs. You will be amazed that you can make your one-of-a-kind, beautiful, functional, and comfortable chair in such a short time.

This furniture has long been made by country people, using the beautiful variety of materials collected in the forest. The bending quality and flexible strength of willow makes for easy construction of a comfortable, strong chair, with minimal tools. You'll be able to use your chair for years if you keep it under a roof, or keep it in your yard and make a new one every few years. Because the willow is very flexible and springy, it is best to have a partner working with you to hold the willow as you nail the sticks in place. The partner does not need to pay unless they also make their own chair.

Please bring gloves, pruning shears, and safety glasses if you have them. The folk school will provide safety glasses and earplugs if you don't have any. If you have an 18g air nailer that you can bring, please call the office to let us know. 218-235-0138.

About the instructor: John Badja is a retired high school teacher and has been teaching rustic furniture building though his local community ed program for the past 15 years.

Will run

Capturing Fall Colors


with Ken Hupila

Calendar Sep 25, 2021 at 9 am

Saturday, September 25, 2021
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $84

Be a part of an autumn tradition in the North Country – observing and photographing fall color! This class will provide a one hour orientation on techniques and equipment utilization while in the field. We’ll then take our gear into the Superior National Forest and look for numerous vistas, unique perspectives, cozy vignettes and macro work. With luck we may come across some forest critters as a bonus!   

Class will meet initially at the Ely Folk School. Bring lunch, camera and gear - manual, all lenses, tripod, remote release, circular polarizer (if you have it) - and rubber boots. Dress for the weather. You may choose to carpool or caravan, dependent on public health and personal comfort.

About the Instructor: Ken Hupila grew up and lived in Northern Minnesota for most of his life. He moved to the Ely area in 1978 and has been a resident here since.

Ken is an educator, having taught in the Ely School System for 33 years. He is an outdoor adventurer who has canoed, camped, hunted and fished from Alaska to Minnesota –including a 500-mile, 27-day paddle on the Albany River to Hudson Bay in 2006. He has been a wilderness guide for over 40 years in the BWCA and Superior National Forest.

He became a professional photographer in 2001, specializing the past 5 years in outdoor photography. Recently he entered the writing world as an outdoor author covering topics such as his guiding experiences, his trip to Hudson Bay as well as personal wilderness trips that he has taken into the backcountry. Ken has taught photography classes through Community Education and the Ely Folk School for the past several years.

Demo: Wild Rice Hot Dish


with Rick Anderson

Calendar Sep 25, 2021 at 3 pm

Saturday, September 25, 2021
3:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Tuition: $25

Join EFS Board Member, Rick Anderson, and a special guest -- member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, and famed cook Muriel Deegan -- in making pork & wild rice hot dish. This demonstration-style class will provide participants with an opportunity to learn about wild rice courtesy of Muriel and Rick's expertise, observe them as they prepare this classic hot dish (including cooking the wild rice & making homemade cream of mushroom soup), and enjoy a portion of hot dish in each others company.

About the Instructors; Muriel Deegan and Rick Anderson:

Muriel Deegan: I'm a Bois Forte enrollee. I live on the Bois Forte Reservation within the Lake Vermillion Sector. My maternal family is from here. I have five children, one of whom is no longer with us. I am a Grandma of 15 and Great-Grandma of 3. I am artistic with our beautiful Native American culture. I like beading, sewing, and cooking. I cook Wild Rice in a variety of different ways. Wild Rice doesn't last long in our home. I am proud to belong to a culture that is ethically rich in Nature. 

Rick Anderson: Life-long Ely resident and member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe. My wife Polly and I share the joy of four daughters and their families.
I love the land and water and all the life it supports. Avid hunter, fisher, and gatherer of the gifts of the Creator. I'm as comfortable in the company of people as in the solitude of nature.
Heaven on earth is time spent on Burntside Lake and cruising the Echo Trail.

Will run

Glowing Skin and Hair for Ages 12-15 and 15-18


with Jaime Brennan and Megan Olson

Calendar Sep 29, 2021 at 3 pm

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Tuition: $35   Materials: $25

Registration closes on September 22nd. 

The class is specifically tailored for folks aged 12-15 and 15-18.
Students will also be able to purchase facial kits at a discounted rate after the class. 

The class materials fee covers a fully guided herbal facial! 

Learn how to care for and maintain healthy glowing skin with products you can make at home. Knowing how to care for your skin can be overwhelming, but it truly is simple. We'll cover topics experienced as your skin matures (pimples, acne, dryness). During this time, you'll also experience an herbal facial which could be a great tool for maintaining your skin at home. 

You will also learn new, fun ways to style your hair! After nourishing your skin we'll teach you ways to create fun hairstyles that can be easy to do daily. There are styling options for any length of hair and thickness. Styles will be age appropriate.  

*Note: if you have known allergies please notify us prior to class. 

About the Instructors: Jaime Brennan had a love for plants and wanted to know what they were all called starting at age 5. In college she found a program focused on flowers and plants and graduated with a Bachelors in Horticulture. It was a natural progression for Jaime to want to know more about the power of plants and followed that interest to studying Herbalism with Rosemary Gladstar. 

Wanting to support those that sought her help she studied with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became a certified Health Coach. Her business, Tranquility by Jaime inspires transformation by helping others create a body in balance, a mind at ease, and a satisfied soul. 

Megan Olson lives in Ely and has a passion for hair, nature, her two dogs and husband Jesse! She attended Cosmetology school in New Hope, MN and fell in love with working on hair and helping others feels their best. You can find her at Roots Salon.

Demo: Intro to Home Brewing


with Charlie Cecil

Calendar Sep 30, 2021 at 6:30 pm

Thursday, September 30, 2021
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM 

Tuition: $25  Materials: $10

Have you ever been curious to brew your own beer but were not sure where to begin? The good news is that it is not as difficult as you may think. Anyone with a kitchen and some basic equipment can brew their own delicious beer at home.

This class is designed to be a general introduction to all things home brewing, with the goal of giving students the skills and confidence to dive into this hobby on their own. We will cover the basic brewing process, sanitation, recipes, equipment needed, stages, and trouble shooting any surprises that may arise. Home brew samples will be available throughout the class.

About the Instructor: Charlie Cecil has been living and working in the woods of northern Minnesota since 2011. Over the years, he has guided canoe trips, worked with sled dogs, hiked and camped all over the state. Through it all, home brewing has been a stable hobby. After brewing over 20 successful batches, some of them done without electricity or plumbing, Charlie is excited to share this hobby with the community and pass it on to others.

Intro to Chip Carving


with Bart Dunning

Calendar Oct 2, 2021 at 12 pm

Saturday, October 2, 2021
12:00 PM - 4:30 PM 

Tuition: $55  Materials: $25

Chip carving is a very old craft practiced by many cultures. The patterns we typically see are based on Northern European tradition. This is an art form that almost anyone can practice. It just requires patience and a steady hand. Chip carving generally consists of a set of triangular cuts layed-out in regular, geometric patterns, but can be more free form, as in lettering and pictures. You will receive a sharp knife, the key to safety and ease of carving, and you will learn how to handle and care for the knife. You will learn to lay out a pattern for cutting, how to make the various cuts and as you develop a feel for the wood, you will learn how to deal with mistakes. You will leave with some new skills and, hopefully, a carved coaster.

About the instructor: Bart Dunning has done various woodworking activities for decades. He has built some furniture, and done some 3D carving as well as relief carving. About 20 years ago he ran across a book about chip carving and decided to give it a try. He has since chip carved numerous items ranging from little coasters to larger trivets and signs. Bart taught physiology for a number of years at several medical schools. He currently teaches skiing at Buck Hill in Burnsville, chip carving at Marine Mills Folk School, and demonstrates chip carving at the Dakota City Heritage Village at the Dakota County fairgrounds.

Biscuits and Gravy: Live Online


with Lacey Squier

Calendar Oct 3, 2021 at 8 am

Sunday, October 3, 2021
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM 

Tuition: $25 per household

Biscuits and gravy are a brunch staple at instructor Lacey’s house, especially any time guests are visiting for a weekend visit. Participants will learn how to make fluffy biscuits full of buttery layers, as well as a creamy sausage gravy from scratch. 

Each participant will make 6-8 servings of biscuits and gravy. As this is an online class, participants are asked to gather their own ingredients, which will be sent to you upon registration. 

About the Instructor: Lacey Squier loves cooking food of all kinds. She is an amateur cook who spends much of her free time learning how to recreate dishes from her favorite restaurant and travel experiences. It is liberating to realize you can have anything you want for dinner ... as long as you're willing to make it yourself!

When not experimenting with food at home (and making a huge mess of her kitchen), Lacey likes to take walks or go on a hike with her spouse, Eric, and their dog Wendell. Lacey serves as Chair of the Ely Folk School Board.  

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