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Ely Folk School

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Introduction to Wheel Throwing


with Betty Firth

Calendar Nov 28, 2020 at 10 am, runs for 3 weeks

Saturdays, Nov. 28, Dec. 5, and Dec. 12.
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM 

Tuition: $90  Materials: $40

If you have been fascinated with how potters magically turn clay into functional pieces, here’s your chance to learn how to do it yourself. You will learn about wedging, centering, pulling, trimming, glazing, and studio etiquette. You will be introduced to throwing basic forms like mugs, bowls, and cylinders used for glasses, vases, and other pieces.

This class is suitable for beginners as well as for those who have had some experience with clay and would like to get their hands in the mud again and brush up on their skills.

Included in the materials fee are a set of basic tools, clay, glazes, and firing for up to 6 pieces. Additional clay may be purchased. Some additional studio time will be available between classes. Wear clothes that get dirty, an apron, if desired, and a towel.

Covid-19 safety precautions will be observed. Bring a mask or one will be provided.

About the instructor: Betty Firth can’t remember when she didn’t love pottery, and she learned how to throw pots herself when she moved to Ely. After twenty years, she still thinks it’s magical to see a lump of clay transformed into a piece of sculpture or dishes you can use every day. She enjoys combining sculptural elements with functional and decorative pieces and experimenting with many kinds of surface decoration.


Reducing Anxiety with Nutrition - Live Online


with Erika Barnhill

Calendar Dec 1, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Tuesday, December 1, 2020
6:30 PM- 7:30 PM

Tuition: $10

Life can seem crazy and anxiety can be high but there are healthy choices you can make to help deal with it. In this class you'll learn about what causes anxiety and how your food choices might be aggravating the feelings. We'll also cover disciplines you can change in your daily life to reduce anxiety, and some supplements and essential oils that are also helpful in finding and maintaining emotional balance.

About the Instructor: Erika Barnhill has a passion to share her knowledge about nutrition and good health with others. She recognizes that we live in a world where people are not experiencing the healthy vibrancy they are meant to. In fact, the opposite is true: people are often sick and over-medicated, yet still unaware how much diet and lifestyle are responsible. 

Erika says, “I worked  in a hospital setting with cardiac and pulmonary patients with many people who needed change and needed answers. A health crisis led me to learn how to take a more holistic approach to healing my own body through research, study, and prayer. I have a Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and certification as a health and wellness coach. I’m happy to say I am healthy and well today with a busy life as a wife, mother, and health coach while  homeschooling four amazing children.. Finding balance in our busy lives is so important, and it is possible to live every day to the fullest, feeling healthy and well.


All Things Chaga: Live Online


with Allie Austin

Calendar Dec 2, 2020 at 5 pm

Wednesday, December 2, 2020
5:00 PM- 7:00 PM

Tuition: $20 Materials $35

Did you know, growing on our birch trees is one of the most powerfully medicinal mushrooms in the world? In this class, we will learn how to identify, harvest, and utilize this medicinal powerhouse for both internal and external use. You will receive recipes for Chaga remedies and creative ways to use Minnesota’s most treasured fungi! You will also receive some samples of chaga to try at home, which you will receive before of after class depending on when you register.

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. 

Identifying Animal Tracks: Live Online


with Steve Engel

Calendar Dec 5, 2020 at 2 pm

Saturday, December 5, 2020
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Tuition: $20  Materials: $10

Have you ever seen animal tracks during your outings and wondered who made them? Learn the basic steps in identifying footprints of native wildlife in this two-part class. (New registration date: Register by Friday, November 27th to receive your own lesson plan to complete before the online session on Saturday, December 5. You will need colored pencils and a ruler.

Using life-size stencils and a dichotomous key, be guided through drawing, measuring, and naming several mystery tracks. The goal is for you to be able to say whose footprint it is with confidence. Online, we will discuss the material, answer your questions, and review everything with more track identification challenges until you feel like you really get it.

Observing and studying animal tracks offers a new window into seeing nature. Tracks pose questions and searching for the answers means exploring every aspect of your local natural history. This class is focused on answering the question “who” went there. Future classes will focus on the “what, when, how, and why” of the track stories all around us.

About the instructor: Steve Engel has been studying and collecting animal tracks since 1981. In addition to dozens of workshops delivered to classrooms, conferences, and parks, he has taught animal tracking at the California Academy of Sciences, Headlands Institute, Siskyou Field Institute, Portland Audubon Society, and Lindblad Expeditions. He holds a Level III Track & Sign Certificate from Cyber Tracker North America.

 Steve has a B.S. in Natural History from Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA. He said, “I have worked as an environmental educator, field biologist, shipboard naturalist, natural history trip leader, education director, artist, and writer. There are millions of things to learn and teach, and my mission is to keep learning and keep teaching. I’ll answer direct questions, but I’d rather help others explore and discover the answers for themselves.”

Full Course

Hammer & Tongs - Making Basic Tools


with Paul Webster

Calendar Dec 11, 2020 at 9 am

Hammer & Tongs - Making Basic Tools
Friday, December 11, 2020
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Tuition: $60  Materials: $20

You will experience the transformative process of heating rigid metal to a bright glow and shaping it into a useful tool, like a hammer, tongs, or cooking utensil! You will learn or review the basics of forge management and safety. Students will learn to use more advanced tools and techniques like drifting, riveting, basic grinding and tempering. You will work with steels of various sizes and carbon content to make useful hardware that will last for generations. Be prepared to have fun! 

Students need to wear rugged, non-synthetic clothing, tough boots, and protective, fire-resistant gloves, available at local hardware stores for under $10. The Folk School does provide aprons, gloves, safety glasses and earplugs, but do bring your own safety equipment if you have it. You can bring your own bag lunch including something to cook over our charcoal fires or order in from nearby restaurants.

About the instructors: Paul Webster holds a Masters in experiential education and a Bachelor’s in English. He has taught 18 years in high school classrooms and was a light industrial trainer for 15 years. He is a founder of Forging Community, a blacksmithing school in Duluth, MN,  started in 2012. Paul has been forging since 1988 and worked as the blacksmith for Duluth Pack Store and the Frost River Trading Company doing classes and demonstrations. He has taught many community education classes and run a limited apprenticeship program from his home forge, Greenfire.

Warren Bettencourt is a professional welder with an associate degree from Lake Superior College. He has been teaching Blacksmithing classes at Forging Community for 8 years and selling his work for 12 years at various events and demonstrations. Besides the classes he teaches, he does a great deal of production work at his home forge.

Charley Brown has been forging since 1978. He has done many demonstrations and taught numerous classes, selling work ever since picking up a hammer. Much of his career has been in plumbing and metal working. He loves the craft!



Making Pasties and Mulled Wine: Live Online


with Lacey Squier

Calendar Dec 12, 2020 at 7 pm

Friday, December 11, 2020  7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Saturday, December 12, 2020  3:30 PM - 5:00 PM 

Tuition: Free! 

Many people will say that the most important part of the Holiday Season is being surrounded by loved ones. This year, that is unattainable for many. So we have to turn to the second most important piece of the holidays: delicious, homemade food! In lieu of the Ely Folk School's holiday party, we are celebrating our community with this free, two-part cooking class. Pasties and mulled wine are two dishes with rich histories in our region. Both are full of flavor and highly customizable. We had hoped to serve you pasties and mulled wine at a holiday gathering but in light of the pandemic, are energized instead to share favorite versions of these recipes. On Friday, we will make mulled wine and prepare our pasty dough, then on Saturday we will prepare our pasty filling and get ready to cook! Be ready for a festive class and two sessions of fun and friendly cooking! 

A recommended ingredient list will be sent out upon registration for class.

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. She is also learning Portuguese and dreams of visiting Brazil again. Lacey works at Ely Family Dental and serves as a member of the Ely Folk School Board. 


Needle Felt an Arctic Fox: Live Online


with Laura Berlage

Calendar Dec 13, 2020 at 2 pm

Sunday, December 13, 2020
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tuition: $30  Materials: $25  Shipping: $15

Registration will close December 3rd, in order to allow time to mail supply kits to students. 

Needle felting is fun! Learn to transform hand-dyed wool from the instructor’s flock of sheep into your very own adorable arctic fox. We will mail you the materials ahead of time, then Laura will take you step-by-step through the process via Zoom. No previous experience is necessary. The materials kit comes with enough wool to make two foxes, so you can perfect your technique on the second one after class. All you need to complete the project is a work surface like a sturdy table, good light, and a pair of scissors. Everything else is included! Experience the magic of needle felting or learn some new tips to add to your growing skillset. During these trying time, needle felting can feel especially therapeutic, as we repeatedly stab the wool with our barbed needles while creating a cute, wooly friend in the process. Join us for this welcoming online class!

A full kit will be mailed to each students, complete with the wool, foam work surface, needle, eye beads, and other necessary pieces. Students will also receive in the kit a welcome letter with notes on using Zoom as well as a link and password to a pre-recorded version of the class if they find this resource additionally helpful.

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. Completing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College in 2011, Laura continues her lifelong passion for learning with engaged, hands-on teaching for small groups to encourage creativity, imagination, and expressio

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