Yesterday I was invited to go to the North House Folk School with Abby’s class. This is an incredible place tucked next to the Grand Marais Recreation Park along the shore of Lake Superior. There are numerous buildings on the small campus, most with a faint sawdust smell. Abby’s class was there to make the scent a bit stronger.
"Paddle to the Sea" is the name of the program her class is currently working on. I’m not sure what it is specifically about as I was late getting to town.(That’s a couple more stories). I do know the children all received a piece of basswood that was shaped somewhat like a canoe. After two hours of working on that piece of basswood it looked just like a canoe. Today they will be carving a little person to place in the canoe. What a great project for these kids to do and for an adult like me to "help" with. The kids knew what they were doing and I was the one who couldn’t figure it out, luckily I didn’t have my own piece of basswood to wreck!
While we were there a gentleman from one of the other sawdust smelling classrooms came to speak to the kids. He was teaching a class next door on building inuit kayaks. How cool! He has also made a number of birch bark canoes both full size and model size. He explained the process of birch bark canoe building and even had some cedar and birch bark to show us. I was absolutely fascinated and the kids were just as captivated listening to him. It was so interesting to hear him speak and watch as he showed the kids how he worked with the cedar and bark. What an awesome way to learn.
Abby’s class will be at the North House today and again tomorrow. I sure wish I could go along again but I have other things to do with canoes, like renting them to people! Maybe when winter rolls around I’ll have to sign up for a class at the North House Folk School and make some sawdust smell of my own.