Instructors

Photo of Deb Ajango
Deb Ajango

Deb is a senior lead instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) and is a member of the WMA faculty committee. She has spent more than 2,000 days in remote areas of Alaska and the world and has taught medicine in the U.S., Chile, Ecuador, Morocco, Japan, China, Malaysia, and Spain.

Deb has presented nationally and internationally on the topic of risk management, emergency action planning, and wilderness medicine. In 2012, Deb was awarded the Charles (Reb) Gregg Award in recognition of “exceptional leadership, service, and innovation in wilderness risk management,” and in 2014 she was awarded the Paul K. Petzoldt Award “for excellence in wilderness education.” Ms. Ajango has written two books on safety education and risk management. The second book, Lessons Learned II: Using Case Studies and History to Improve Safety Education, is used as a text book in a variety of colleges and university across the country.

She received her Master of Science degree in clinical psychology and education from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Photo of Christin Anderson
Christin Anderson

I am an early career mycologist, trained in taxonomy by Dr. Gary Laursen. I earned a master’s degree from UAF in 2016 after completing an experiment on pollution degradation with oyster mushroom mycelium. I am moving to Anchorage soon to work for the National Park Service. My favorite outdoor activity is mushrooming.

James Baird

James L. Baird began his practical education in seventh grade industrial arts classes. An informal apprenticeship in auto body and frame repair followed at age13 and continued throughout high school and summers during college. After serving in the US Air Force and working as a driver/mechanic for a tour company in Europe and Asia he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Education at Iowa State University in Ames. An opportunity to teach vocational auto mechanics brought him to Fairbanks in August 1976 where he built his own house and completed the FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certificate program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He retired from the school system to share his enthusiasm for industrial arts with a wider group of students.

Photo of Richard Barnes
Richard Barnes

Richard came to Alaska from Minnesota in 1974 and has extensive experience with northern forest ecosystems, wood lore and survival techniques. “In the woods the knife is a very important tool. You can use it to make other tools, shelters, make shavings for fire starting or cut an apple in half to share with a friend.”

Photo of Tricia Blake
Tricia Blake

Tricia Blake is the Program Director and one of the founders of the Alaska Songbird Institute. Previously, she worked for almost a decade as the education director for the Alaska Bird Observatory (ABO). Tricia coordinates the Alaska Songbird Institute’s Swallow Ecology Project as well as other education projects. She coordinates the Fairbanks FeederCount program and has a great recipe for suet. (If you’re not sure what that is, join us for the class!)

Photo of Ryan Bowers
Ryan Bowers

Ryan Bowers is a bassist and singer/songwriter from Fairbanks. He started singing as a child, started playing for dances at 13, and got his first bass at 17. Since then, he has been in a list of bands which includes Slightly Askew, Ice Jam, Outbound, Lost Dog Stringband, The Xtra-Tuffs, Eel House, Rock Bottom Stompers, The Norris Bowers Band, and Ryan Bowers And The Brain Trust. He studied voice at UAF, and bass and songwriting at Berklee College Of Music, and graduated from UAF in 2016 with a BA in Music. He has toured and recorded with many groups, and is about to release his first solo album Sweet Calamity, recorded and mixed in Fairbanks at 10th Planet Recording. Ryan has experience in a wide variety of styles, including bluegrass, old-time, country, folk, contra dance, rock, indie, jazz, pop, and chamber music. He has been teaching music camps and workshops since 2008, and taught at Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in 2016. Ryan likes his pancakes with yogurt instead of syrup, and eats his cereal dry.

Photo of Randy Brown
Randy Brown

Randy has been a hand tool kind of a wood craftsman for over 40 years. Roy Underhill of the Woodwright’s Shop has had a great influence on his approach to wood working projects. Randy has built numerous log cabins, dog sleds and toboggans, chairs, tables, benches, wooden bowls, birch bark canoes, and many other items over the years. He enjoys the opportunities provided by the Folk School to share his craft skills with others.

Photo of Mary Calmes
Mary Calmes

Over the years I developed an eclectic set of interests and skills. Always I have loved working with my hands making things whether it be with yarn, wood, bark, paper, fabric, or wool. Another abiding interest is gardening. I have lived in Alaska since 1973 and  have worked at a variety of jobs not the least of which was raising our two sons with my husband Tim.

Photo of Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell

Boat-building: Bruce Campbell built his first canvas covered kayak at age 14, in 1966. His first plywood skiff in 1976, his first stitch and glue skiff in the early 1980’s, and finished his most recent plywood skiff this year. Prior Boat Series classes instructed include: Lap Clamps and Lapstrake Wooden Toolbox.

Cooking: Bruce Campbell started cooking over a campfire in 1963. At 14, while canoeing in Northern Manitoba, the group of older teens ran out of food, took their fishing seriously, and Bruce acquired a lifelong interest in planning and creating camp meals. A master of heat control with fire, Bruce’s cooking classes explore different aspects of campfire cooking, such as Dutch Oven camp cooking and more primitive forms of cooking.

Letterpress: Bruce Campbell originally learned how to use his grandfather’s Kelsey Letterpress 50 years. He has enthusiastically revived his family’s press at the Folk School and has become the resident expert on “all things letterpress”. Bruce is a current Folk School board member.

 

Photo of Susan Campbell
Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell is on the board of the Northwoods Book Arts Guild. After teaching elementary school in Fairbanks for the past 25 years, she recently retired and has turned her enthusiasm for teaching and learning toward letterpress classes.

Bob Carlson
Bob Carlson has been retired for 11 years after 40 years as a Civil Engineering professor at the University of Alaska. Over the past 50 years he has kept busy with carpentry, building projects and operating medium scale machinery. His current woodworking interests are Shaker boxes, shaker inspired furniture and green woodworking.
Photo of Maureen Chambrone
Maureen Chambrone

Alaska has, for 20 years now, been my place for gathering materials from the woods and turning them into functional things. I have made snowshoes and adventured with them, plus a birchbark canoe and 2 skin on frame canoes which all made summer-long trips. In Talkeetna I built my own log cabin and all the furniture in it, then I built another one so the first one could become a shop. In the shop I dabble in various woodworking projects but mostly spoon carving, snowshoe making, and canoes these days. I also enjoy recording bird songs, making herbal products, skiing, writing, and just hanging out in the woods. I work seasonally for ADF&G when I find time around my hobbies or I need the money.

David Costello

David Costello was born and raised in Fairbanks, where he learned carpentry basics from his father. After attempting a career in journalism, he rediscovered woodworking and the enjoyment of using his hands. He’s worked as a general contractor remodeling homes in Fairbanks since 2000.

Photo of Darcel Daigh
Darcel Daigh

My name is Darcel, I have been eco printing for felting for over 6 years. After much self study and practice eco printing on my own, two years ago I attended a week long intensive eco printing with natural dyes class by Irit Dulman, world renowned eco printing Master Teacher, and continued to build my skills. I also studied with my local Waldorf School Handwork teacher for years, learning wet felting, needle felting, nuno felting, natural dyes, knitting, crochet, spinning my own yarn, and working with raw fleeces.  I love to work with nature in my art, and I love the gentle soothing effect of working with wool and natural fibers. Eco printing is very environmentally friendly compared to processes with synthetic dyes. Playing with leaves and fluff is such an enjoyable and fun experience and I would would love to share it with you! Please check out my facebook page for more photos and information: https://www.facebook.com/pg/earthmamafiberstudio

Photo of Fred DeCicco
Fred DeCicco

Fred DeCicco is a retired fisheries biologist and flyfishing guide with Twin Peaks Adventures. He is a Certified Casting Instructor through the International Federation of Fly Fishers and an avid fly fisher who has fished throughout Alaska and other parts of the world.

Photo of Jim Dillard
Jim Dillard

A Kodiak Island resident for 30 years, Jim Dillard was born in 1868 in a tiny log cabin in the mountains of eastern Oklahoma. He has been carving wood and bushcrafting ever since. After a career in education and a number of years working for art galleries in eight states, Jim is now retired and has returned to his original passions of starting fires and playing with sticks. Recent activities include teaching the construction of primitive hunting and fishing tools at local youth camps, teaching traditional mask carving and drum making in all five remote villages on Kodiak Island, classes in spoon carving, teaching a variety of bushcraft classes and classes on outdoor safety and survival. His current project is to assemble a list of tested bushcraft projects that can be successfully completed by kids 7 – 9 years of age. Jim lives several miles outside of the town of Kodiak with his wife Bonnie, Eliza the dog, five ducks and a huge garden. And there he will stay.

Photo of Ryan Edwards
Ryan Edwards

I have been teaching guitar and mandolin (and occasionally beginning ukulele, banjo, bass, and drums) private lessons at Grassroots Guitar since 2004. I taught several string band classes at Grassroots Guitar School and the Folk School in 2013 and 2014. I am currently the guitar instructor for the Young Native Fiddlers since 2015.

Photo of Elizabeth Eero Irving
Elizabeth Eero Irving

Elizabeth Eero Irving is a lifelong Fairbanks gardener, having first learned food production from her (amazing) gardener Mom. Elizabeth went on to work for 10 years in production and retail sales greenhouses in all genres of gardening and landscape planting. She believes growing our own healthy, organic food is the utmost form of self-sufficiency (plus, it’s fun!) and it’s a skill she loves teaching anyone who will listen.

Photo of Lara Fahnlander
Lara Fahnlander

Lara has been teaching arts since 1997. She has a BS in Elementary Education with minors in Art and Early Childhood and is on the verge of completing her Master of Arts in Art Education this April. She’s been a muralist since 2004 and her work is viewable at larafahnlander.weebly.com or on Facebook/CreativeHeartMurals. She also loves traveling and learning about arts around the world. To see more arts from her travels visit http://arteducationation.blogspot.com/.

Photo of Robin Feinman
Robin Feinman

I have been teaching Art for my entire adult life in one setting or another. In the past ten years I have been teaching for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, in addition to private instruction and workshops. I have a BA in Painting and Printmaking, and an MFA in Ceramics. I am an active member of the Fairbanks arts community and show locally. I am an illustrator, a painter, a potter, a singer, a knitter, a gardner, a cat-lover and a teacher.

Photo of Suzienne Fiera
Suzienne Fiera

Suzienne Fiera has 15 years in practice as a clinical western herbalist. She is a 2003 graduate of the Northeast School for Botanical Medicine and a 2012 graduate of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. She spends summers in Fairbanks, Alaska and winters in Mexico.

Photo of Larry Fogleson
Larry Fogleson

I have been in Alaska for 51 years and since getting out of the army in 1964, I have been a carpenter/contractor. I enjoy building things as well as remodeling and repairing things already built. I became a canoeing enthusiast about 30 years ago at which time I bought two wood and canvas canoes. One was a fairly decent 15’ footer, the other a 20 foot wreck. About 27 years later the wreck made it into my shop and was rebuilt – a learning experience for sure. I had help and advice from several friends and the project was successful and fun. Over the years I have acquired several more canoes in various stages of disrepair and have learned quite a lot about canoe repair and re-canvassing.

Photo of Avril Freeman
Avril Freeman

Avril has been crafting with fiber since she was a small girl and loves everything to do with wool–spinning, knitting, dyeing, and felting. Her farm, Avril*Cultural, is home to a small herd of pygora goats that she raises for their fiber.

Photo of Guilherme Freitas
Guilherme Freitas

I have worked as a team lead, data scientist, consultant and trainer for the past 3 years in the technology sector. Strong background in mathematics, economics, Python, teaching and writing. PhD Economist trained in the design of markets, auctions, cost-sharing schemes and other mechanisms.

Specialties: Data Science, Market/Auction/Mechanism Design, Game Theory, Mathematical Modeling, Computational Methods, Computational Economics.

Photo of Beverly Frey
Beverly Frey

I’ve been a creator all my life. Much of my learning is self-taught, though I have spent the last 17 years taking a variety of classes in the Art Department at UAF. I’ve been in love with paper for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent time making, cutting, folding, painting, rolling, sculpting and marbling paper. The bulk of my time the last five years has been spent experimenting with paper jewelry.

Photo of Carly Garay
Carly Garay

Carly Garay is a Homer raised artist who practices a wide range of creative disciplines. In the summer she works with a group of Alaska Performing artists called the Hungry Hat Circus, performing and vending at events such as the Girdwood Forest Fair and Salmonfest. She specializes in costume design, art direction, fire dancing and Photography. She also actively paints, draws, and teaches art.

Photo of Julie Gonnering Lein
Julie Gonnering Lein

Julie Gonnering Lein earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah, where she’s also worked as a poetry editor of Quarterly West and a postdoctoral research fellow. Her poetry and scholarship have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, Best New Poets, Terrain, Phoebe, Modernism/modernity, Western Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the Larry Levis Memorial Poetry Prize (Academy of American Poets); her poetry/nonfiction chapbook Glacier: Perfect Tense was released in 2015 from dancing girl press. She has taught literature and creative writing for numerous university and community groups, and looks forward to new classes at The Folk School.

Photo of Somer Hahm
Somer Hahm

Somer Hahm is a local artist, living and making art in Fairbanks since 2005. She received a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2008. During her time at UAF, she instructed a variety of beginning painting and drawing courses, and gained experience teaching young people at the Summer Visual Arts Academy.

Her passion for art led her to working for many years as a gallery assistant at Well Street Art Company, where she is currently represented. Somer has a robust involvement in the arts community in Fairbanks. She has worked directly with the Fine Arts Collections Curator at the Museum of the North, been a docent for the Rose Berry Art Gallery, and spent countless hours at Fairbanks Arts Association helping to install rotating exhibits.

These days, Somer is raising her two little ones, building a house with her husband, picking blueberries and mushrooms, and finding time to draw and paint somewhere in between.

Photo of Kerri Hamos
Kerri Hamos

Kerri has a background in recreation management and elementary education, and has been involved in fundraising and event planning for various local organizations. She is a homeschooling mom to three children, and thoroughly enjoys camping, hiking, traveling and other outdoor pursuits, along with knitting and embroidery.

Photo of Wesley Hathaway
Wesley Hathaway
I grew up in Indiana with a large family and many friends. Art and making stuff was always important to my parents so growing up was full of just that. I continue to create but I think what it really is, is continuing to learn.
Photo of Glenn Helkenn
Glenn Helkenn

Glenn Helkenn grew up on an Alaskan homestead not far from Wrangel St. Ellias National Park, and has spent many years exploring the natural world, studying primitive wilderness skills, and engaging in traditional subsistence practices. You can read some of his musings and (Mis)adventures at http://www.practicalprimitivist.com if you’d like.

Photo of Chase Hensel
Chase Hensel

Chase has made handles (knife, ulu, adze), jewelry (earrings, hairpins) and other objects (spoons, rice paddles, salad servers, pressure point tools, dog chew toys) out of antler, bone and teeth intermittently for 40 years. The materials are tough, durable, beautiful, and relatively easy to work.

Photo of Jesse Hensel
Jesse Hensel

Jesse Hensel was born and raised in Alaska. In sixth grade Cathleen Carlo had an artist residency in his classroom and he was instantly hooked on mask making. Jesse studied art in Alaska, Italy, New York and San Francisco, before returning to Alaska to be an artist and educator. He currently teaches Kindergarten and First Grade at Arctic Light Elementary.

Photo of Sara Hensel
Sara Hensel

Sara recently moved to Fairbanks from Portland, Oregon. Though she plans to concentrate on ceramics in the BFA program at UAF, her passions span across most media. She can usually be found prototyping design concepts for willow baskets, playing guitar, or doodling on any scrap of paper that she comes across.

Photo of David Jonas
David Jonas

David has been pursuing local living skills since he was a child.  Though largely self-taught, he has also benefited from numerous apprenticeships both formal and informal, resulting in a diverse skill set tailored to life in the northern forests. In addition to his subsistence lifestyle, he has been a summercamp counselor, log-builder, fur trapper and hidetanner.

Photo of Jenna Jonas
Jenna Jonas

Jenna grew up in a family that built kayaks in the living room outside of Detroit, Michigan.  She fell in love with Alaska in 2009 when she came here as an intern for the Northern Center.  Ever since then, she has been hard at work exploring the arctic and interior by boat, ski, dogsled, bike, and foot.  Jenna currently splits her time between working for the Tanana Valley Watershed Association in Fairbanks and building a primitive homestead on the Tanana River.  She entertains five dogs, dabbles in herbalism, and strives to sleep outside more than inside.  She is excited to share her connection to the bountiful Tanana River as the co-director of the Folk School’s “A Week on the River” program.

Photo of Len Kamerling
Len Kamerling

Len Kamerling is Curator of Film at the UA Museum of the North and Professor of English at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He is an award winning documentary filmmaker, a specialist in film preservation and a member of the Board of Directors of The Folk School.

Photo of Toni Kaufman
Toni Kaufman

Toni’s love of making pots spans many years and a variety of different disciplines. She has taught pottery in Fairbanks (at the University of Alaska and her studio) and has shown her work throughout the community. The process of working with clay has been a journey of discovery, frustration and delight which she loves sharing with others.

Photo of Margo Klass
Margo Klass

Margo left Washington DC to come to Fairbanks over ten years ago. Here she continues her teaching career while creating artist books and box constructions in her home studio. Her work is widely shown in Alaska. She has been involved with Northwoods Book Arts Guild since it was founded in 2011.

Photo of Lisa Kljaich
Lisa Kljaich

I am a retired elementary general music teacher. I also taught beginning steel drums at UAF and directed the UAF steel drum band. I continue to teach online classes at UAF for the music department.

I fell in love with the ukulele 2 years ago, and am still learning more about this adorable instrument every day. I developed a series of lessons to help adult learners interested in playing the ukulele with Derby City Strummers in Louisville, KY last winter. They encouraged me to continue to reach out and teach ukulele because they found my instruction so helpful.

Photo of Jennifer Lent
Jennifer Lent

Jennifer lives in Fairbanks but works in Bethel. While in Bethel, Jennifer has met many artitsts from the area and the surrounding villages. She has learned how to harvest grass from the banks of the Kuskokwim River and sew baskets. She has learned to tan and sew with fur. Her most unique skill acquired thus far is the working knowledge of tanning and sewing with fish skin and animal gut. Jennifer sews many items for friends, family, and customers. You may have seen her work most recently at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center First Friday art event in December, 2014.

Photo of Rebecca Levey
Rebecca Levey

Rebecca Levey is a registered Institute for Excellence in Writing teacher.  She also teaches essay writing with the Circe Institute’s Lost Tools of Writing curriculum.  She teaches both High School and Elementary students.

Photo of Steve Levey
Steve Levey

Steve Levey has an MA in history from the University of Colorado. He taught high school history for ten years. Many of his students in Honors World History at West Valley High School took the World History AP test without AP-specific preparation. His class, World History: An Early College Survey Course, started as a whimsical dare from a colleague and a challenge to students. Over the years, all but one student passed the exam to merit college credit for their achievement in 10th grade.

Photo of Mary Baarlaer Maisch
Mary Baarlaer Maisch

A recently retired teacher, I relish the time I now have available to pursue my artistic interests, primarily book making and quilting. I have been a member of the Northwoods Book Arts Guild since it’s inception in 2011, and have been delighted to be involved in a thriving book arts community in Fairbanks. I am grateful to be able to share art projects at our beautiful Folk School Fairbanks campus.
In addition to art making, I enjoy travel, skiing, canoeing, hiking, camping, gardening and reading.

Photo of John Manthei
John Manthei

John has been a carpenter/cabinetmaker for nearly half a century and now spends a considerable amount of time teaching through The Folk School. He is one of the founders of Week in the Woods and The Folk School. John’s intimate connection to the land and rivers of the interior drives most everything he does.

Photo of Phil Marshall
Phil Marshall

Phil has studied traditional hand woodcarving in Austria and Norway, and studied under German and Italian masters in the U.S.  “Woodworking smooths and hones my life. This revelation surprised me twenty-three years ago when I tried my hand at woodcarving. There had never been any signs this pursuit would become such a joy. I had not manifested artistic talent. But a visit to a remote Colorado gallery of hand-carved, wooden sculpture inspired my wife to present me with a set of beginner’s chisels and gouges; I grabbed an instruction booklet and gave it a go, solo. Perhaps she had sensed something I had not: the time was right in my life for the conjunction of hand, head and heart. Quite unforseen was the equanimity this handcraft brought. Hitherto, many of my endeavors had been struggles full of frustration. This woodcraft flowed calmly, full of acceptance, even with setbacks. Here was a clear, inexplicable pleasure replete with satisfaction even with miniscule advances, nay reverses, in pursuing the skill.

If we join to grow together, I shall try to nurture this fulfillment for you by sharing in small, definite steps; reinforcing them frequently; sequencing them slowly to handle growing complexity; and then bringing it all together in a supportive manner to reduce stress. I proffer a hand for you to discern your destiny.”

Photo of Kendalyn Mckisick
Kendalyn Mckisick

Kendalyn Mckisick is a recent creative writing MFA graduate of UAF. Though she has spent the past few years in Fairbanks writing poetry and teaching writing, she is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, where she taught several vegan cooking classes and owned a restaurant specializing in raw vegan options with “cooked food Fridays”. She is passionate about food literacy and showing others how to prepare delicious plant-based meals for longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Jennifer Nu

Jennifer Nu is a freelance writer and editor, home chef, and wellness educator based in Fairbanks, Alaska. She wrote a story on Alaskan Haggis for the Spring 2017 issue of Edible Alaska. A web version of her story can be found at: http://ediblealaska.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/four-haggis-two-chefs-and-one-piper-robert-burns-night-supper.

Photo of Nick Nugent
Nick Nugent

Nick Nugent was born in west central Indiana and grew up there. He was in Cub and Boy Scouts. He was also a Merit Badge Counselor for the Midnight Sun Council while his son was in scouting. He has been in Fairbanks since July of 1977. Nick enjoys primitive outdoor skills. Nick studies Alaska History and more broadly the history of North America prior to 1840. His interests also range to the use of carbide lamps and vintage pressure stoves.

Photo of Lars Erik Odsather
Lars Erik Odsather

Lars Erik Odsather has pursued his performance career and taught all levels of students since the completion of his education in 2003. He has both his Masters (U of Arizona, Tucson 2003) and Bachelors (U of Idaho, Moscow 1999) degrees in Classical Guitar Performance.

Lars Erik grew up in Fairbanks. He lived outside of Alaska for many years after pursuing his music education. Over the past 5 years since his return, one of his goals is to add another layer of musical fortitude to the already established artistic and musical community.

Photo of Lidiia Olszowy
Lidiia Olszowy

Lidiia Olszowy made her first soap in Ukraine when she was 15 years old. Her curiosity stemmed from the herbal teas and natural dyes of her mother’s work and was aided by her grandmother’s life long experiences.

At a young age she was exposed to native European crafts like embroidery, knitting, crocheting, candle-making, painting, sewing, flower-making, macrame, herbal teas, beading, healing balms and many others.

Lidiia followed her husband to Fairbanks when he took a job with a local company in 2010. She started a small farm plus a cosmetic and soap making business which she named “Alaska’s Angels Farm”. Her company is well known for utilizing natural and environmental friendly products to many people in the interior of Alaska, the lower 48 and throughout the world.

Becky Oviatt

Becky Oviatt is an award-winning fiber artist, owner of AK Frayed Knot, a local online yarn and specialty shop, and co-owner of the Fibering Squad, a fiber craft studio in Anchorage, AK.  She teaches spinning with wheel or drop spindle, beginning weaving, fiber painting, and fur sewing.

Photo of Mary Pagel
Mary Pagel

Mary moved to Alaska in 2003 in pursuit of adventure. She has not been let down. She is an avid canoeist and kayaker, and a volunteer instructor for the Becoming An Outdoors Woman program. She makes her living as a Civil Engineer.

Photo of Carolyn Parker
Carolyn Parker

Carolyn has done botanical surveys throughout Alaska and in other far northern landscapes for over 30 years. The rest of the time she stays based at the University of Alaska Museum while gardening, hiking and ski-joring in the boreal forest around Fairbanks.

Photo of John Peirce
John Peirce

John began woodworking in earnest in 1985 when he apprenticed with Maine furniture maker David Margonelli. About the same time he discovered green woodworking. Guided by books by Drew Langsner, J Alexander and Roy Underhill, he started with post and rung chairs and snowshoes. Over the years has made spoons, kuksas, wooden skis, and other items beginning with a freshly cut tree rather than lumber yard wood. Currently John does cabinets and carpentry as Boreal Woodworks to pay the bills, but for fun he works on boats, bowls, and bodgers benches!

Photo of Christie Pelzer
Christie Pelzer

I have a BS in Holistic Nutrition and I am a certified Health Coach. I am very interested in cooking, baking and preserving foods to get optimal health benefits. I am also an artist working with many different mediums…..clay, glass, wood, fabric just to name a few. I have lived in Alaska since 1981 with my husband and children.

Photo of Robert Prince
Robert Prince

Robert Prince is the Chair of the Journalism Department at UAF and creator/host of Dark Winter Nights: True Stories from Alaska.

Photo of Tim Quintal
Tim Quintal

Tim is a tinkerer and there is nothing he loves better than to be presented with a problem to solve. He considers himself a “jack of all trades and master of none.? He enjoys working with wood, metal, and computers.

Photo of Andy Reynolds
Andy Reynolds

Andy has been working with wood for 50+ years starting with a Soap Box
Derby car and later a family project, Folbot kit, followed by Alaska cabin and outhouse construction, progressing through rough (and crude) carpentry, to finish carpentry and eventually cabinet making and custom joinery. Recently and most relevantly, more boatbuilding has provided ongoing challenge. He has been partly self-taught, mentored and inspired by many friends, family, and co-workers, as well as attending workshops by various well known artisans and craftsmen and women, and has attended the Woodenboat School in Brooklin, Maine.  Andy has taught paddle making, canoe and kayak repair and paddle board building classes for TFS since 2013. In his spare time he likes to be on, or in, water, in all its many forms.

Photo of Phil Schad
Phil Schad

Phil Schad moved to Fairbanks in August of 1974 and worked on the Trans Alaska Pipeline as a Laborer. His 6 years of carpentry experience in Texas prior to moving to Fairbanks allowed for more employment opportunities during the growth of Fairbanks. Phil continued to work at Prudhoe Bay in the winters and built houses during the summer, building a log cabin at Harding Lake and 4 houses in the Goldstream Valley for himself. In 1988 he got a job in the Maintenance Division of the Fairbanks North Star Borough where he was employed for almost 19 years. During that time he was cross trained in all aspects of building maintenance. Phil designed and built all of his houses with the latest energy efficient methods and currently has a solar hot water system at his home. His entire career has been in the construction and maintenance fields and his passion has always been to do it right and to keep it simple.

Photo of Natalie Schuldt
Natalie Schuldt

Natalie was born in Fairbanks and raised on her parents’ homestead in Salcha between the Piledriver Slough and the Tanana River. Childhood winters meant mushing and reading by gas lights, summers meant being outside more than in, and autumn meant berry picking until snow forced her inside. She has lived all over the country, including Dallas, New Orleans, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Because the boreal forest is imprinted on her soul, she made her way back to Fairbanks and plans on staying forever. Since moving back to Alaska, she has recovered her childhood love of cross-country skiing, berry picking, and generally getting lost in the woods. She loves all things folksy and is passionate about learning how to make things by hand in the old ways. Natalie has an art degree from UAF and is a work-at-home printmaking artist and mother. She lives in Goldstream Valley with her husband Gabe and her two sons, Charlie and Ole.

Photo of Charles Simmons
Charles Simmons

Charles is a lifelong Fairbanksan. He has lived on Ester Dome since 1969, and has been working wood since the early 70’s. He says he is still actively learning because there is so much to know, and he feels he has barely scratched the surface of woodworking.

Photo of Doug Sims
Doug Sims

I have been working with clay since my early college years and continue to be fascinated by the limitless possibilities it presents to the artist, craftsperson or hobbyist. I continually seek to push my own limits with clay and enjoy sharing basic wheel throwing skills with curious students.

Photo of Frank Soos
Frank Soos

Frank Soos is the 2015 Alaska State Laureate Writer and instructed creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for nearly two decades. Frank is author of several books, including several Bamboo Fly Rod Suite (essays) and a forthcoming book of essays from the University of Washington Press.

Photo of Brian Sprague
Brian Sprague

Brian Sprague is a lifelong woodworker and hand tool enthusiast. Brought up in rural Michigan, his occupations have ranged from white collar engineer to aircraft mechanic to fuels crew sawyer, and counting. He is particularly fond of tree work and began running a saw at the age of 12 (It was a Stihl.).

Photo of Marianne Stolz
Marianne Stolz

Marianne was born and raised in Germany where she completed a wood carving apprenticeship. Her passion for mountains and ice climbing brought her to Alaska in 1985. She now works as a professional wood carver, ice carver and artist.

Photo of Tobin Stolz
Tobin Stolz

I am a 13 year old avid hunter and bring home way too many squirrels. I am homeschooled and live in the Goldstream Valley.

Connie Stricks

I have lived in Fairbanks since 1972, have been engaged in various forms of book binding since 2011, and have loved every minute of it!

Photo of Corlis Taylor
Corlis Taylor

Corlis Taylor is a founding member of the NorthWoods Book Arts Guild. She has been teaching both book arts and fibers arts for a number of years in Fairbanks and throughout Alaska.

Harvey Van Patten

Harvey holds a BS in Science Education and has 9 years of experience as a classroom teacher in public schools systems in Michigan and Oregon. He has 20 years of experience teaching “Twigology”. Harvey is also a dog musher and enjoys taking long distance trips annually in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Photo of Tomas Vrba
Tomas Vrba

Coming from the Czech Republic where amazing and affordable bread is readily available in any little corner shop, delivered daily from local bakeries, living in the US and UK was sometimes a bit of a nightmare for me. From the bread point of view that is. Well, what better solution than to start making my own?
I first started experimenting with sourdough sometime in 2013 and a year after that during the last year of my undergraduate studies in Stirling, Scotland, two of my flatmates and I ended up opening a community supported sourdough bakery (http://www.riversidebakerycic.org/). While I am not looking to be a full time baker, it is hard to stop baking and experimenting once you get into it so I am selling bread on Saturdays at the Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market and continuing to share my skills and knowledge through the Folk School.

Photo of Arvid Weflen
Arvid Weflen

I am interested in nearly everything, especially the old crafts where you get to make something.  Thus, it was probably only natural that I took up birch bark basket weaving some years back (along with a gazillion others  – blacksmithing, book binding, sewing winter gear, carving, rosemaling, woodworking, wheelwrighting, coopering, knitting socks, and now starting to learn shoemaking – the list could go on, but you get the idea).  From there it was a short step to sharing the joy of creating things by teaching others how to do the same.  I’ve been teaching much of my life, recently “retired” as a professor in the rather more modern craft of aircraft maintenance.  As I put it, I failed the retirement class and spend time both at the University and sharing the fun of learning new skills.  To stay well rounded and to keep from getting too bored, I also enjoy flying my airplane that I built from scratch, cross country skiing, bicycling, farming, crossing the ocean on an old square rigged sailing vessel and once in a while I even sit down and read a book.

Photo of Roy Wilbur
Roy Wilbur

Roy is a master sheet metal fabricator with over 50 years of experience and loves passing this knowledge on to others . Weather you refer to Roy as a tinker, tin smith or sheet metal worker the underlying magic is he can see a complex three dimensional object in a flat piece of sheet metal and know just what cuts to make, where to bend it and in what sequence. Another benefit of hanging around with him is he knows Fairbanks history better than most. Not only can he tell you stories from his grandfathers time but he can point to objects all over his shop from that time period. Roy is a fascinating character and a rich source of information.

Photo of Susan Willsrud
Susan Willsrud

Susan Willsrud is a co-founder of Calypso Farm and Ecology Center. She loves growing vegetables and also loves creating beautiful warm things out of the mountains of wool provided by the farm’s flock of Shetland Sheep! She has been spinning yarn for over 10 years and has been drawn to “seeing what happens when you break all the rules” since the beginning.

Photo of Jeff Yacevich
Jeff Yacevich

Jeff blames his obsession with experimental hunting and gathering on having to read Hatchet in sixth grade. Twelve years after moving to Alaska, his mind is never far from the boreal forest. He has spent a year alone on the Tanana River endeavoring to make all his food, shelter, tools, and clothing from the land. Lately he has been working on a walking trap-line based around deadfalls and sinew snares. Jeff earns money seasonally by leading a chainsaw crew. Most importantly, he is lucky to be partnered with an extremely understanding wife.

Photo of Lucia Zaczkowski
Lucia Zaczkowski

I believe that writing is thought turned inside out. Paying attention to writing helps students think better and read better. My name is Lucia Zaczkowski, and I am a certified teacher in Alaska. I’ve taught with the Alaska Gateway School District in Dot Lake and Tok for eight years. This summer I moved to the big city and am working on my own writing, a book called Epeth in a Heap.

My writing instruction is influenced by these texts:

A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers by Erika Lindemann

The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph

Guthridge Writing Systems by George Guthridge

Photo of Tom Zimmer
Tom Zimmer

Tom is a co-founder of Calypso Farm and Ecology Center. He loves working with his hands – whether it be shearing sheep, building farm outbuildings, designing greenhouses, irrigation systems or tinkering in Calypso’s blacksmith shop. He loves sharing his knowledge and skills with others. He began teaching at age 16 and has been teaching in one way or another ever since. He is one of the primary instructors of Calypso’s workshops and Farmer Training Program.

Photo of John Ziv
John Ziv

John is a custom woodworker from Anchorage, Alaska. He specializes in making tools for spinning, weaving, cord-making and other fiber arts.