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Ely Folk School


Starting Your Novel and "After Francesco" Reading with Brian Malloy


with Brian Malloy

Calendar Oct 6, 2021 at 6 pm

Wednesday, October 6, 2021
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Do you have a great idea for a novel? Not sure what to do next? In this user-friendly session for the first-time novelist you’ll create a basic plot outline, and get to know your main characters. Absolute beginners and those in need of a refresher and/or inspiration are more than welcome. 

Following the writing session, Brian will read an excerpt from his new book, After Francesco, which Apple Books named "Best of June, 2021." It is a stunning novel of love, friendship, and surviving the deepest loss, set in New York City and Minneapolis in 1988, at the peak of the AIDS crisis.

Visit Brian's website to learn more:

About the Author: Brian Malloy was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (again). Minneapolis has been - more or less - his home since 1978 (with a few years here and there in D.C., Amsterdam, and Boston). He was an early employee of the Minnesota AIDS Project (now Rainbow Health) in the 1980s, a volunteer with the 1987 Minnesota March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights, and the volunteer coordinator for Minnesota's first AIDS walk in 1988.

Brian is self-employed and a proud member of the Service Employees International Union, Local 284. He has taught creative writing at a variety of settings, including Emerson College, Hamline University, JustUs Health, Metropolitan Library Service Agency, Minnesota Correctional Facility - Lino Lakes, Our Saviour's Transitional Housing, Quatrefoil Library, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, and Witness Writers. Brian has been married (illegally and legally) to his husband for over 30 years, and they are the proud parents of rescue dogs. 

Sustainable Living


with Andy Hill

Calendar Oct 6, 2021 at 6 pm

Wednesday, October 6, 2021
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM 

Free! These sessions will be held the first Wednesday of each month October through February. 

Ever wonder how you might make a positive difference to sustainable living but haven't known where to start? Well, you're in luck! Join a community of green-minded folk in discussing creative ways to live a cleaner lifestyle. Come think with us each month as we ponder and peruse the state of the world and our own impacts. Although individual actions alone cannot solve the climate crisis, we can join together and share both our cost-effective and even cost-free ways to lessen our footprint and our questions and frustrations.  Fostering contagious ideas is a wonderful way to create positive progress.  

Topics each month will be based largely on current events, attendee questions, and seasonal opportunities. We ask you all to come with both a question about sustainability and an idea or a choice you have made toward a more sustainable future, be it about installing solar or saving your garden seeds! 

About the facilitator: Andy Hill, of Northland Builders and EcoEly, has been implementing creative sustainable living practices in his off-the-grid homestead and loves to share ideas and knowledge with others. He has been called an Evangelist of Sustainability and he promises there will be no secrets! Andy has taught Sustainable Living classes and Northwoods Gardening at the Folk School since its inception, and students appreciate his deep knowledge as a gardener and his positive and helpful teaching style.

So, come engage with Andy and meet some new friends!

A Quiltmaker's Journey: A Trunk Show and Lecture


with Helen Smith Stone

Calendar Nov 13, 2021 at 2 pm

Saturday, November 13, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Tuition: $20

Helen has been a quiltmaker for over 40 years and is passionate about her art form. In this one-hour Lecture/Trunk Show, you will hear what inspired Helen to become a quilter, see how her quiltmaking style has changed over the years, and learn who has influenced her work and why. While showing 20-25 quilts, Helen will share some of her proudest achievements as well as some of her challenges along this creative journey. She hopes to inspire you to become a quiltmaker, too; or, if you already make quilts, to try some new techniques. Be sure to stay until the end of her Trunk Show so you can see the quilts up close and ask questions.

About Helen Smith Stone: Helen is the founder/owner of Quilting on the Waterfront (QTW), a small business that focuses on providing education to quiltmakers ~ machine piecing, machine quilting, and art quilting techniques. She especially enjoys teaching “beginner” quilters, helping them get off to a good start.

Helen’s first experience with needles and thread was at the age of eight when her mother taught her hand-embroidery. Later, she became interested in sewing machines, and her journey of working with fabric and thread began. Home Economics, 4-H classes, and good teachers propelled Helen forward into first sewing doll clothes and later making clothing for herself. But, when she saw her grandmother’s collection of quilts, she was smitten! “I knew then what I wanted to learn – how to create quilts!” Many years later, she made her first quilt – a baby quilt for her son. From there, quiltmaking became Helen’s passion and art form. She has been making quilts for over 40 years.

An award-winning quilter, Helen presented a quilt show/conference (Quilting on the Waterfront) at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) in 2002, 2004, and 2006, bringing in over 6,000 attendees each year. She continued to produce smaller quilt shows at The Inn on Lake Superior-Duluth until 2012. She enjoys teaching and sharing her quilts through Trunk Shows, workshops, and special exhibits.

Helen’s work has been published in Joanne Larsen Line’s books: Quilts from the Quiltmaker’s Gift, and More Quilts from the Quiltmaker’s Gift. She has also been featured in a machine quilting book by Sue Nickels, Machine Quilting: A Primer of Techniques; in a paper-piecing book by Claudia Clark Myers of Duluth, A Passion for Piecing; and in three QuiltArt Engagement Calendars by American Quilters Society (AQS).

In 2001, Helen started a quilt guild to help educate and inspire new and experienced quilters and to encourage the making and donating of quilts to local charitable organizations. Northern Lights Machine Quilters Guild (NLMQG) is based in Duluth and has 70 members.

Helen worked in the education profession for over 35 years: The Marshall School, Duluth Public Schools, KUMD-Public Radio, WDSE-Public TV, and the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). She participates in a variety of online classes and strongly believes in lifelong learning. One of her favorite quotes is: Never stop learning because life never stops teaching. - Author unknown

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