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Ely Folk School

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The Woodshop

Bent Willow Rustic Furniture


with John Bajda

Calendar Aug 13, 2021 at 6 pm

Day One: Friday, August 13, 2021      6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Day Two: Saturday, August 28, 2021 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

Tuition: $120

Do you admire rustic furniture? Do you see handmade garden trellises, chairs made of sticks, rocking chairs, or garden benches and feel a little envy? You can build one yourself! This class gives you the instruction and space to dive into a one-of-a-kind rustic furniture project - your options are endless! 

Throughout history, craftspeople have used the natural looks of sticks and logs to express themselves creatively. This art is productive and highly practical while also allowing the crafter to showcase the beauty and variety offered by Mother Nature. Each and every piece will be unique since no two trees or branches are exactly the same. You will have the chance to design your piece based on the materials you find. 

Find a bend, twist, burl, or root which will make your piece truly your own creation. You’ll be able to build your piece in one day, with several hours of instruction and a willingness to put in a good day of wok. 

This rewarding class sends you home with a project you will use and admire for years to come. It is helpful to register in pairs - a partner can help you wrangle your sticks or logs and assemble your project. The partner attends class for free if they do not make their own project. 

Day One consists of an introduction to rustic furniture, a demonstration with some hands-on tool use, and information on building material. The time between classes will allow you to choose your exact project - Bench? Chair? Trellis? - and collect building material. Day Two will be spent building your project. 

John will give you all the instruction you need to gather workable materials on day one. You will then have two weeks to collect and create a rough sketch of your project. 

If you have questions or would like to begin collecting material prior to August 13, you can contact John at 218-340-0169  or

About the Instructor: John Bajda is a retired high school teacher and has been teaching rustic furniture building though his local community ed program for the past 15+ years. See one of John's bent willow chairs on display in the Ely Folk School window! 

Snowshoe Lacing Workshop


with Peta Barrett

Calendar Oct 24, 2021 at 9 am

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday October 22-24, 2021
9:00 AM - 2:30 PM 

Tuition: $198    Materials: $122

Registration closes on October 10th to allow time for shipment of Country Ways snowshoe kits. Thank you!

When the magic sparkle of snow entices you to explore the winter lakes and woods, your hand-laced Ojibwa-style snowshoes will grant you the freedom to get there in style. This class begins with a Minnesota-made Country Ways kit that includes white-ash frames, tubular nylon lacing rated at 1,400 pound stress load, and an instruction booklet. Included in your kit will be a traditional lamp wick binding to try after you finish your ‘shoes at home with 3 coats of urethane. You’ll receive hands-on instruction every step of the way as you measure & cut your lacing material, then lace your snowshoes. 

Students should bring a pencil, Bic lighter, ruler, and sharp scissors or a knife. A wood burning tool will be provided should anyone wish to add a simple phrase, date, or design to their frame. You may also wish to bring your own water and snack, or a bag lunch.

On the final day of class, Peta will discuss and provide handouts with information/resources for the varnishing process, attaching the lamp wick binding, and choosing between the many styles of bindings available on the market, if you’d like a more ‘modern’ style to suit your needs.

About the Instructor: Peta Barrett is an avid outdoorswoman with 25+ years of wilderness trail experience leading groups in the BWCAW in all seasons, currently through her business, Women's Wilderness Discovery. She has had a life-long appreciation for the outdoors! Born and raised Minnesotan, she has always hunted, fished, camped, hiked, biked, paddled, and explored the outdoors. 


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