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Ely Folk School

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09 September 2019

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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.


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!

Capture Nature in Resin


with Carolyn Quick

Calendar Sep 12, 2019 at 1 pm

Thursday, September 12, 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.



Capturing Fall Colors


with Ken Hupila

Calendar Sep 29, 2019 at 9 am

Sunday, September 29, 2019
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $70

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!   

Bring lunch, camera and gear; manual, all lenses, tripod, remote release, circular polarizer (if you have it), and rubber boots. Dress for the weather.

About the Instructor: Ken Hupila has been chasing wildlife around and enjoying the outdoors in northern Minnesota for over 60 years. He took his first wildlife image in 1964 and has been working on his craft ever since.

Intro to Chip Carving


with Bart Dunning

Calendar Sep 14, 2019 at 12 pm

Saturday, September 14, 2019
12:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Tuition: $45  Materials: $25
(Please note: Registration will close on September 7 to allow time to order materials.)

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 and demonstrates chip carving at the Dakota City Heritage Village at the Dakota County fairgrounds.

Made to Fit: Custom-fitted Blouse


with Candace Bischoff

Calendar Sep 20, 2019 at 12 pm

Friday, September 20, 2019
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $40  

Do you find shopping for a blouse that works for you is just about impossible? The styles are just not right or the fabrics are all wrong, the cost is exorbitant or they just don't fit right. Well, this class will give you the information and skills to take just a very basic blouse pattern and create a wide variety of blouses. What style of collar do you want? Sleeve length? Cuffed? Fitted or not? Long tails or tuck-in length? Hem straight or scalloped? Your imagination is the only limit you have to having a closet full of fun blouses that fit your style, budget and size.

Students need to purchase before the class: 2-1/2 yards of fabric of choice, 1/3 yard light-weight interfacing [I prefer iron on], matching thread, 6-8 buttons [Can purchase locally at Mary's Spinning Wheel]. Also bring pins and a sewing needle for some hand stitching.

About the instructor: Candace Bischoff has been called a crafting fanatic. She sews, knits, crochets, embroiders, and does cross stitch, needlepoint, and smocking. She's game to try almost any craft at least once, often combining crafts such as sewing and embroidery. Candace says, "My grandmother introduced me to the sewing machine when I was 10, and I have sewn Barbie Doll clothes, prom dresses, my wardrobe from junior high school to the present, as well as many garments for friends and family. I get frustrated with the clothing available today in the stores and make most of my own garments or alter the style or fit of store-bought items. I love making things unique to my need and styling.

I love helping people learn a new craft and see how much fun they have with the new knowledge and skill.

Make a Bent Willow Chair


with John Bajda

Calendar Sep 20, 2019 at 6 pm

Friday, September 20, 2019       6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturday, September 21, 2019   9:00 AM - 4:00 pm

PLEASE NOTE the different class times on Friday and Saturday!

Tuition: $90, Materials $25

On Friday, John will demonstrate making a chair from start to finish, laying the groundwork for everyone to make their own chairs on Saturday. 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.

Make a Wallet from Fish Leather


with Joe Manthei

Calendar Sep 6, 2019 at 1 pm

Friday, Sept. 6, 2019
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $30  Materials: $25

Learn to make a small minimalist wallet out of fish leather. The wallet can be used for credit cards, cash, or business cards. Students will use a pattern to cut out the fish leather pieces and hand-stitch them into a functional, durable minimalist wallet using Tiger thread from Germany. The wallet measures 3" x 4" and contains two card slots.

No experience necessary. Class instruction will include different hand-stitching techniques and how to choose which method will work the best. Students will practice hand-stitching techniques before working on their wallet. Joe will also present a brief history and status of fish skin tanning in the world.

About the instructor: Joe Manthei started working with fish leather during a life-changing vacation to Iceland and turned it into a business, Fiskur Leather. Starting with bookmarks, he moved on to creating quilt-block artwork, cell phone cases, wallets, tote bags, laptop bags, briefcases, toiletry kits, and more.

Joe’s career path started as a chiropractor, specializing in clinical nutrition, in which he offered post-graduate seminars. He  later earned an RN degree, and built medical software and trained personnel to use it. He has taught students of all ages from elementary students to adults. Joe and his wife, Pam, live in Mora Minnesota. Although retired from nursing in 2015, he currently works in the Mora school district as a substitute teacher/substitute school nurse when not creating with fish leather.

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