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Ely Folk School

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Arts & Crafts

Barn Quilts for Beginners


with Jill Dalbacka

Calendar Oct 2, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018
1:30 PM - 5:30 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, most of the class will be hands-on with support from the instructor.

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.


Beginning Rug Hooking


with Bonnie Lundorff

Calendar Oct 6, 2018 at 10 am

Beginning Rug Hooking
Saturday, October 6, 2018

10:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $50  Materials: $35

Dating back to the 19th century rug hooking has been a popular way to create beautiful rugs using wool strips. This updated version uses a punch method with the same results as traditional hooking. Students will make a small project while learning to use the Oxford rug punch tool, which will be supplied for use in class along with a 10" hoop.

About the instructor: Bonnie Lundorff owns the Willow Wood Market, a quiltshop and wool studio and has been sharing her love of fiber arts for 20 years. She teaches wool appliqué, quilting, needle felting, and rug making at fiber arts events, her store and throughout the upper Midwest. She designs simple-to-make projects for her students and customers. One of her designs was recently published in a nationally known fiber arts magazine, Wool Works. Bonnie lives in the woods south of Bemidji with her husband Tim and a cranky little 16-year-old dog.

Beginning Tapestry Weaving


with Diane Thomson

Calendar Oct 6, 2018 at 8 am

Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Tuition: $40 Materials: $5

Come learn the fascinating process of tapestry weaving. You will learn about the types of looms used in tapestry weaving, the materials used and how to dress the loom. Using a pre-designed pattern, you will then weave a mini tapestry piece to take home or you can create your own design as you weave.

All materials will be included in the class cost, but you can bring scissors, a pen or pencil and a ruler if you have them. Looms will be available to rent for a modest fee if you were not able to complete your mini tapestry. 

About the instructor: Diane Thomson has taught previously at several yarn shops in the Twin Cities and at the Ely Folk School. She also currently offers knitting classes at Sisu Designs Yarn Shop in Ely.

Diane enjoys many of the fiber arts and learned to weave in high school. She rediscovered weaving in 1985 when she  purchased her first loom. She spent most of her weaving time on rag rugs until the 90’s, when she focused on spinning and knitting and has since taught classes in both at the folk school. Diane says, “Since retiring to Ely, I am hoping to spend more time getting back into weaving.”



Capturing Fall Colors


with Ken Hupila

Calendar Sep 29, 2018 at 9 am

Saturday, September 29, 2018
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 day.

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.

Will run

Intro to Leather Carving


with Matthew Fedders

Calendar Sep 29, 2018 at 1 pm

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tuition: $40  Materials: $10

Leather carved in the western style is as American as apple pie and as embedded in our history as the Constitution. You will learn the basic steps in this traditional craft including how to use the thousands of stamps available, what types of stamps to get, what is meant to do and how to use it in floral and figure carving on leather. You will become familiar with  what type of leather should be used and how to prep the leather for carving. You will learn how to use the swivel knife, the most important tool in any carving set.

About the instructor: Matthew Fedders has been tooling leather for six years professionally and is now working for Lobo Gun Leather. I have tooled saddles, historically-correct cowboy gear, wallets, purses, and many other leather goods. I have learned from some of the big names in leather tooling such as Bob Park.


Introduction to Photoshop


with Ken Hupila

Calendar Nov 14, 2018 at 6 pm

Introduction to Editing in Photoshop
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
6:00 PM- 9:00 PM

Tuition: $40

You bought the camera.  You’ve gotten comfortable with taking photos but are intimidated by using editing software.  Here’s the class for you: beginning Photoshop editing! Learn how to load your images onto your computer easily, organize your files and do the most important editing to take your images to another level!  We’ll concentrate on the six most important areas to Photoshop success for the beginner: Crop/Straighten, Color correction, Adjust lighting, Reduce noise/Increase sharpness, Selective editing, Layers/Masks.  And we should have enough time to have some fun as well!

Participants should bring their laptops to class, loaded with your editing software and plenty of images to play with. If you don’t have editing software now, Ken strongly suggest Photoshop Elements, at least version 10 or later.  The cost is very reasonable and it can be downloaded from the internet or picked up at any place that is savvy with computers – like Best Buy.  Elements is a very powerful tool and will do EVERYTHING you will need for successful image editing.

About the instructor: Ken Hupila says, "I live in northern Minnesota and have been interested in photography since I won a box camera at a carnival when I was six. The last couple of years have finally seen an opportunity when finances and free time have allowed me to begin playing with the interest. I have been taking nature shots and sport photos for awhile and am just beginning to play with studio photography."

Ken's photography classes at the Ely Folk School are very popular: Photographing Wild Orchids, Capturing Fall Colors, and Intro to Digital Photography.

Latvian Knitting Techniques - Making Wristers


with Diane Thomson

Calendar Nov 14, 2018 at 9 am

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tuition: $80, Materials: $20

Latvia is known for it’s colorful and intricate mitten patterns. To learn the techniques involved in these beautiful mittens, take either the one-day class and make a wrister or the full weekend class to make a mitten. Some of the techniques involved are scalloped edges, Latvian braid,two-color knitting and fringe. In the full weekend class you will also learn more about color, design placement and thumb construction. Both classes involve intermediate to advanced knitting skills and students should be comfortable knitting in the round. The materials fee includes the yarns needed to complete a pair of wristers or mittens. Students should bring a basic set of knitting tools and an assortment of knitting needles suitable for working in the round in a fine gauge (size 0-2). 

About the instructor: Diane Thomson has been knitting since 1985 and has taught previously at the Ely Folk School and several yarn shops in the Twin Cities. She currently offers knitting classes at Sisu Designs Yarn Shop in Ely.  She likes sharing her knowledge of and enthusiasm for knitting and also enjoys other fiber arts.


Learn to Spin


with Diane Thomson

Calendar Nov 2, 2018 at 4 pm

This is a two-day class. Note that each day has different times.
Friday, Nov. 2, 2018       4:00pm - 9:00pm
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018   9:00am - 5:00pm

Tuition: $130, Materials: $25

Here's a chance to try spinning on a wheel before buying your own. Many people, including Gandhi, found spinning to be a very meditative activity. You will learn how to turn wool fiber into yarn with the use of a spinning wheel. We will even play with hand spindles, wool prep and yarn finishing.

There will be several wheels available for spinning, and if you have a working wheel bring it along. You will leave class with your own hand spindle, wool fiber, and your own newly spun yarn.

About the instructor: Diane Thomson has been spinning since 1985 and enjoys teaching others. She has taught knitting classes at several yarn shops in the Twin Cities and currently teaches at Sisu Designs Yarn Shop in Ely.


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