Driftless Folk School

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Driftless Folk School {Clean.}

Sage and I spent this past Saturday at a spoon carving gathering hosted by our local folk school

And while having a one-on-one day with my boy was treat enough, an all day spoon carving workshop together really took things to the next level.

The facilitators were laid back, the other participants were inspiring, and through-and-through we had a fabulous time.

In all we carved for seven hours. Almost without stopping. On the drive home we both realized that it was 5:00 and we hadn't yet had lunch.

It was that good.

We carved until our hands ached, our backs ached, and we were out of bandaids.

We laughed hard, learned new tricks, and stretched ourselves.

Like other folk school classes, the spoon carving gathering was an outstanding way to connect with folks we already know and to meet a couple dozen new and inspiring folks, all while developing new skills.

It was a welcome break in our busy week. A time to pause, learn, and play.

There were a couple of other families from our homeschool coop there as well as adults ranging from their 20's up into their 70's. Men, women, kids – learning together.

And in this room-full of people we carved, we listened, and we talked. About our parents and our kids, our gardens, our reasons for moving here, food preferences, invasive species, farm animals, and of course, spoons.

And over the course of the day this room-full of people moved along the continuum from "strangers" toward "friends". I suppose that is where "community" begins.

On the way home Sage said, "It was easy being with the people at the gathering today. They were our kind of people."

And then he added, "Today was the best day ever."

We drove home that night tired (hungry) and happy. And the next thing I knew, there we were – Sage and I – sitting side by side at the kitchen table, carving.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

There are folk schools all over the country.

Of course I think ours is pretty special, because, well, this is the Driftless. To which I'm rather partial. And the Driftless Folk School is brimming with some of the shining stars or our region – as teachers and students.

For those of you close enough to make it here for a class (yes, it's worth the drive from Minneapolis, Chicago, or Madison), the fine folks at the Driftless Folk School have offered a $60 gift certificate to one lucky reader. To enter your name in a drawing, take a look at their website and leave a comment here of what inspires you on their site.

(If you want to leave a comment but not enter the drawing you are welcome to. I'll double check that the winner is local before I award the gift certificate.)

Not from around here? Ask around about folk schools in your region. You'll be glad you did.

 Comments are now closed. The winner is Dorothy Ann who said:

"I've heard bits and pieces of conversation around our co-op about the Folk School – what an incredible experience! I'm inspired by their courses in learning…now that I have pictures and a place to go with the eavesdropping, it's all making sense! What a treasure"

44 thoughts on “Driftless Folk School

  1. Teena says:

    My son has talked about black smiths for a while. My son would love the Early American Knives or Blacksmithing. Actually, I think all my kiddos would love it…me too! 🙂 Fun give away!

  2. Mikaela says:

    I have always wanted to take classes at a folk school! I, too, love the driftless and have been dreaming of leaving city noise behind for a weekend sometime soon. What a nice reminder of this little treasure–I would love to check it out. So glad you enjoyed your carving workshop. Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

  3. jennifer says:

    So many things look interesting, but SAVANNA FARMING may make the top of the list. Would like to meet more permaculture folks who really get how it works in this bioregion.

  4. hummingbirdandhive@gmail.com says:

    It’s tough to choose, but Intro to Home Cheesemaking sounds like a fantastic way to gain a new skill.

  5. Sara says:

    Oh, how beautiful! So many classes that inspire me, if only I lived closer! But the rest of my family lives in your neck of the woods and how I would love to give them a gift certificate.

  6. Jody Scott says:

    Herbal Soapmaking, and Cheddar, Gouda, and Feta would really interest me. I think I may have to take the broom making class sometime.

  7. Kelly Sage says:

    Looks amazing! My husband used to teach folk like skills at a Native American village in the Blue Ridge years ago, and I always think back to those times and think we need to get back involved with something similar- or start one!

  8. Genie says:

    Oh, I had so wanted to take the spoon carving class. Dang… we could have spent the day together making beautiful utensils!

    The Driftless Folk School truly is a treasure, drawing students from far and near. I have my eye on “Bee Keeping 101” in December. I think my home would thank me for taking “Broom Making: Hearth Broom & Cobwebber w/ John Holzwart”, if not the resident spiders…

    Thanks for spreading the word, Rachel.

  9. Liz says:

    My husband’s grandfather who would have been 104 this year carved spoons just like this! All different shapes and sizes! He was a master carpenter in his younger days, but as he hit his late 70s and 80s, he began to focus on smaller folk projects through his mid 90s when he passed.

    All together our family probably has 40 or 50 different shapes and sizes of his spoons between all of us. He would find a piece of wood that interested him on his walks and then come home and see what it turned into. I am so glad to see that people are still doing that sort of thing, and this post has inspired me to see if there is somewhere where we can learn as well!

    Thank you!

  10. spiderteresa@yahoo.com says:

    One of my sons wants to be a butcher. I’m looking into spending a day or 2 with him in the butchering classes, although those would be my last choices if I’d pick a class on my own! Soap making, broom making, and on and on! I wish I would have known about this school a long time ago. I’m definitely signing up for a bunch of classes. Thanks for sharing this wonderful resource with us!

  11. Sarah Clemens says:

    So nice! I have just signed up for the intro to home cheese-making class. So excited! It will be my first class at the Folk School. Thank you for your great blog 🙂

  12. Cathie says:

    Another lovely post (as usual). My boys have been wanting to take Blacksmithing since they tried it last spring at KVR.

  13. bren says:

    What a wonderful day that was. I also totally forgot to eat. I didn’t even want to stop carving to take a restroom break! I am officially hooked. Thank you, Driftless Folk School!

    I’d really love to take an earth oven building or blacksmithing workshop sometime.

  14. Kelly says:

    Beekeeping 101 or that spoon-making or oven-making class, or heck, I think so many of the classes sound interesting. It’s always great to learn how to do something new! Love those spoons!

  15. Alysa says:

    I didn’t realize this school was in our area. Thanks for sharing about an incredible resource. What an incredible day for you and Sage.

  16. kate says:

    I have been wanting to take their fruit grafting class. ALso the earth oven building and mead making. Glad to hear such wonderful things about your class.

  17. Lori says:

    The website made me feel like I could do anything I wanted to do! I pictured my self making sausage and knives and boots and writing songs. I don’t know if I could pick on class, but am considering taking the cutting board class with my own son. He would be delighted!

    Thank you for making me aware of this little treasure in my neighboring state!

  18. Jessica says:

    All their courses are inspiring–I was especially drawn to crafting cutting boards. It would be the most special gift for my husband who takes joy in preparing all our meals!

  19. Dreamer...Becky says:

    ohhhh…what a lovely way to spend the day!
    And a give-away too…swoon+*+*+
    I’m not sure how I would ever decide on just one class – but I’d start here: Bee Keeping 101, Making My Own Wood Cutting board, or perhaps Kombucha brewing – I’ve bookmarked ‘Driftless Folk School’ & will be back to explore more soon! Thank you+*+*+*

  20. Tina says:

    Oh, my…so hard to decide. The earth oven building sounds very cool! My girls and I have been studying edible and medicinal plants, so I know that the herbal roots and wild edibles classes would be of interest to my family. I have a ‘thing’ for brooms though, so I would love a chance to make my own.

    Thanks for putting this place on my radar. I live a couple of hours away, so I will be sure to sign up for some classes when I can!

  21. Christina D. says:

    Swoon! They had me at Tiny House Building.
    The Schools for Life Conference look really interesting too.
    Blacksmithing for kids and anything herbal for me as well.

    We live in Chicago and have been aching to live in a community like this.
    I’ve wanted out of the midwest ( i’m a sucker for oceans and mountains) and we have been eyeing North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon but reading your blog and talking with our friends in Steven’s Point makes me think otherwise lately.

  22. Leigh says:

    I’m in love with the school! I’m from the Minneapolis area and am especially interested in the Tiny Home building class this spring. I’ll definitely be driving over there sometime soon!

  23. Dan says:

    I would love to take the paper making class or the spoon making one you experienced. Just learning a new creative/functional expression would help strengthen the mediums I already work in.

  24. Kirstin says:

    Wow! So many classes. I would choose a beekeeping class for my husband; we bought bees from Jordan this year and would love to learn more from him. I would choose the cutting board class for my son.

  25. Nikole says:

    Those spoons are beautiful! There are so many inspiring offerings from Driftless Folk School. I would love to learn fruit tree grafting or bee keeping or earth oven building, um, actually most of the classes sound pretty fabulous! My oldest daughter would love to try the blacksmithing for kids class. She was on the waiting list for the last class, but we signed up too late. Thanks for offering a giveaway. Someone will be excited to get this opportunity!

  26. Casey U says:

    I would love to take the Beekeeping class — we are hoping to get bees this coming spring. Such a wonderful wonderful thing.

  27. Paul says:

    The whole hog butchering class would be amazing, or else the beekeeping, or fruit tree grafting, or herbal medicine, or …. I think I could put most of their courses on my wish list. I am in the area. Thanks for the opportunity.

  28. Mama Jen says:

    We’re in MKE and this is so inspiring a chance for us parents of waldorf kiddos to do it together. Might just ask Santa about a gift cert 😉 peace

  29. Dorothy Ann says:

    I’ve heard bits and pieces of conversation around our co-op about the Folk School – what an incredible experience! I’m inspired by their courses in learning…now that I have pictures and a place to go with the eavesdropping, it’s all making sense! What a treasure!

  30. Julie M says:

    This is really amazing, I’d love to take the Kombucha brewing class. That would be a fantastic little road trip – I’m a Mama to 2 little ones, so any drive over 40 minutes feels like a road trip to me.

Comments are closed.