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 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.
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.”
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.”
Emily started developing an interest in canine massage therapy after watching her dogs start to age and develop mobility problems. Taking her background in biology and a compassionate heart she trucked herself to Colorado to study with the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage hoping to be able to make a difference in her pets’ quality of life. Now she wants to share her knowledge with others to help them make a difference in their pets’ life.
Melissa Bierer was born and raised near Philadelphia, PA, and has lived in Fairbanks since 1995. She taught herself to embroider at a young age and has added many crafts and art skills to her repertoire over the years, including doll making (in cloth and/or polymer clay), sewing and mixed media art. She also enjoys gardening, preserving the harvest and cooking with and for her husband and two children.
Tricia Blake is the Program Director and one of the founders of the Alaska Songbird Institute. Previ-ously, 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!)
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.
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.
Reese Bullen is a man of all trades! He is an incredible musician, lover of nature and can build and fix just about anything! He has been living and working in the Bay Area of California and touring Europe as a drummer. He has had boats, buses, vans and trucks and has built homes, communities and instruments and has worked for Living Jazz as a production manager for Jazz Camp West and Jam Camp West, a music camps for adults and kids in the redwoods of Northern Calfornia.
Reese is a songwriter, drummer, singer, guitar player, artist, educator, master builder, electrician, mechanic, wood-worker, and all around great guy who is always fun to be around and always happy to share his knowledge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Maker since Lego’s, Lincoln Logs, and 4H. She is very inspired by the farm to table movement. She’s also very interested in how local crops, seasonality, heritage, and socioeconomic makeup of a region drive food culture. In her free time she enjoys cooking, baking, and food preservation as well as sewing, metalsmithing, painting, raising animals, gardening, and travel.
Jeannine has worked in the food industry on and off since high school. Here in Alaska she has cooked in fire camps, remote lodges, and high end restaurants. In the summers you can find cooking at her food truck, the Alaskana Kitchen.
Gillian Harwin is a professional musician, educator and multi-instrumentalist living in New York City. After graduating with a degree in music from University of California at Santa Barbara, she relocated to the east coast to be in the music capital of the world. She has been been teaching lessons for the last 12 years to kids of all ages in piano, drums, guitar, bass, ukulele, singing, songwriting and percussion. She has been teaching for 10 years at Jam Camp West (a kids sleep away camp in the redwoods of Northern California) and also at Jazz Camp West, the adult version of Jam Camp. She continues to study and learn the language of music at Victor Wooten’s music camps in Tennessee as well as studying with some of the top musicians in New York.
Her love and enthusiasm for nature and music and teaching all come together and make her one of the most in demand educators in her field.
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.
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.
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. …Read More
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.
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.
Laurel Herbeck is currently an art teacher in the FNSBSD. She has been a practicing Fiber Artist for over thirty years. Her experience in fiber includes weaving on multi-harness looms, felting, silk fusing, batik, dyeing, spinning, knitting and shibori. She has taught numerous workshops and classes in fiber arts and book arts. Her recent work include silk books, woven scarves, and indigo dyed rugs.
She has displayed work at the Bear Gallery, Well Street Gallery and the Artworks Gallery. She is a member of the Northwoods Book Arts Guild, the Alaska Art Education Association and the Fairbanks Weavers and Spinners Guild, Complex Weavers, Fairbanks Arts Association and serves on the board of the Alaska Arts Education Consortium.
Nancy Hummel is a retired teacher who has been making things out of birch bark for decades, with hundreds of students, Native elders, and with friends. Nancy loves the look and feel of birch bark and the gorgeous, useful items that can be made from this renewable resource.
Elizabeth Eero Irving
Elizabeth Eero Irving is a professional studio artist and avid outdoor adventurer. She takes her love of painting and drawing wherever she goes, including hiking, camping and bicycle touring, where she keeps travel journals of illustrations and stories. Elizabeth believes experiencing the natural world in all it’s beauty and complexity is essential to a healthy life, and translating that into art is even better.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Monica has spent three summers tussock-hopping through wetlands in interior Alaska and mapping their boundaries. She studied ecology and natural history at Sterling College in northern Vermont and was quickly drawn to the boreal forest and tundra surrounding Fairbanks. She loves to geek out with sedges under a microscope and carry a hand lens on everyday outings. …Read More
Monica has spent three summers tussock-hopping through wetlands in interior Alaska and mapping their boundaries. She studied ecology and natural history at Sterling College in northern Vermont and was quickly drawn to the boreal forest and tundra surrounding Fairbanks. She loves to geek out with sedges under a microscope and carry a hand lens on everyday outings.
Monica used to spend her winters guiding in Yellowstone, but like many has been hooked by Fairbanks’ charm and now resides relatively permanently on Goldstream Creek.
Leslie & George LaBar
Leslie & George LaBar are known as the Forest & Rock People of Earth Link Jewelry. Since 1987, they have been striving to link people to the earth’s beauty and bounty, empowering people to understand, explore and embrace the natural world with gratitude and respect. Leslie is the Wild Edible Plant Instructor for Alaska’s Interior BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) program with the AK Dept. of Fish & Game, and George is their Salmon Fishing Instructor. They also co-instruct the Wild Edible Plants classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) through UAF. They have been working with and photographing Alaska’s wild plants extensively for decades. They lead a simple life in Alaska’s Interior living close to the wild lands around them. As wild plant naturalists, Outdoors Instructors, speakers, foragers, herbalists and lapidary artisans, they enjoy sharing their knowledge with enthusiasm and delight, illustrated by their plant photography, enhanced by their life experiences. May you enjoy your time with them as much as they enjoy sharing their time with you!
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.
Jay Leonard was raised in rural New Hampshire and has been a Fairbanks resident for almost 15 years. He has been exploring the wilderness and foraging for fun since childhood. Jay hosts a weekly handcrafted cocktail event at The Marlin where he is able to hone his skill with spirits while socializing with good friends. He is now combining his skill behind the bar with his love of the outdoors to create foraged cocktails from local ingredients.
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.
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.
Jen Long lives with her husband and two daughters in beautiful LOVEland, Colorado. A passionate yoga teacher and Mentor/Diamond leader with doTERRA Int’l, she regularly helps individuals get to the heart of their desires, then helps explore small yet poignant changes to implement in everyday life that will lead to a fuller and richer existence.
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.
John is a carpenter, furniture-maker, and teacher. John has been working with wood since he was a youngster. He teaches through UAF and also offers private classes.
“After all these years I still love to build ‘forts’. I now realize everything I do with my hands is simply an extension of that first love.”
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.”
Alaska is my home and I am thankful to be raising my family in this beautiful wild land. I look forward to learning more about how to live using natural resources that are abundantly in our backyards.
I am the owner of Brew Time, a small homebrewing and winemaking hobby shop in Fairbanks. We sell everything needed to make your own beer and wine as well as many other kitchen type crafts. The store has been open for 2 years and I love to pass on our knowledge. I have been in retail for 22 years. My husband Sean and I have been homebrewing for about 8 years. I grew up in Fairbanks, have no kids but own 3 dogs and 3 cats.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. …Read More
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!
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.
Robert Prince is the Chair of the Journalism Department at UAF and creator/host of Dark Winter Nights: True Stories from Alaska.
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.
CJ Russell and Kerri Hamos
CJ and Kerri teamed up last summer to bring the Skills, Drills and Woodland Thrills day camp to the Folk School. We are looking forward to another day of fun with the Autumn Roots class!
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.
Danielle Schlobohm has had a hand in a wide variety of arts and crafts through out her life. She grew up being the ‘art kid’ in school and went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in general design with minors in photography and art history. Since college she has grown her repertoire of knowledge by participating in Calypso Farm’s ‘Farmer Training Program’ and through self education. She has had a variety of teaching experiences throughout her life and prefers small classes in order to provide hands on, intimate experiences for her students.
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.
Amy Seifert has been studying, practicing, and nurturing her passion for western herbal medicine since 2004. The last eight years found her in New Orleans, running the herbalism program and working with clients in a low-cost community health clinic, co-founding and running an herb shop, and maintaining her private practice, working one-on-one with folks to improve their health through the use of herbs and healthier practices. This winter has brought her, finally, back home to Alaska where she is working on establishing new roots and getting to know the plants of the Interior.
Amy studied at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine, the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, the Appalachian Center for Health Studies, and the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. She is a Registered Professional Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild (RH(AHG)).
Amy is passionate that all people should have access to quality healthcare and that this includes accessible education about disease, health, nutrition, and wellness. Herbalism is a folk medicine. We must share the knowledge and tradition and use it every day for the health of our families and communities.
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.
I have had a long standing interest in the clay arts beginning as a youngster, continuing through college and presently as a hobby I enjoy in my private studio. I typically like to create functional ware with colors reflecting the variety of earth tones found in nature. Ceramics is a process that employs several different actions to create a clay object regardless if you are a beginner or an accomplished professional.
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.
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.).
Jay and Karrie Stemmler
The life plan: Food, pottery and travel. Educated as Microbiologists. Worked and lived in Japan. Owned a Natural Food Store and flour milling operation. And now, we are full-time potters.
Having been fortunate to live in Japan for a few years in the early 90’s as English teachers, we were eager for another opportunity to go back. Jay’s dream was to study with a Japanese potter. In 2007, we were able to return to Japan for a year. Karrie did the teaching so that Jay could pursue the pottery dream. As things sometimes happen – there he was, Mr. Owashi, pottery master, sitting in one of Karrie’s English classes the first week. Really, no kidding. Before we knew it, Jay was working and throwing pots full-time at Washyu-gama, Mr. Owashi’s studio on the side of a mountain in Kojima Japan. Karrie spent her free time honing her pottery skills in the studio as well.
On our return from Japan in 2008, we set up our own studio and gallery. Much of the work we now produce in our Indianola studio reflects our love of the Japanese aesthetic. We produce wheel-thrown and hand-built functional ceramic ware for your kitchen and home.
In addition, fun is had with fire, smoke and glowing hot pots in the making of decorative Raku pottery. Jay teaches at the Eagledale Pottery Studio on Bainbridge Island and we both teach out of our studio in Indianola (http://www.indianolapottery.com).
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.
I am a 13 year old avid hunter and bring home way too many squirrels. I am homeschooled and live in the Goldstream Valley.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Colleen Wood is an Executive Producer and Storyteller Liaison for the Dark Winter Nights program.
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.
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
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.