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.
Dave is an amateur artist and tinkerer who has been making sculptures in wood, ceramic, glass, ice, and snow for many decades. Like most folk craftspeople, Dave is interested in doing interesting stuff efficiently with cheap local materials, which in Fairbanks means snow, ice, wooden poles, and anything that can be scrounged at the transfer site.
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.
Dog mushing initially brought Molly to Alaska. She has since discovered the thrill of skijoring and can now be found touring the trails around Fairbanks towed behind just one or two dogs. She is excited to introduce other people and dogs to the joys of skijoring and the abundance of winter trails in Fairbanks.
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.
John is a custom woodworker from Anchorage, Alaska. He specializes in making tools for spinning, weaving, cord-making and other fiber arts.
John has been doing fiber arts in various form for most of his life and since becoming a professional tool
maker has been surrounded by fiber arts nearly non-stop for the last 8 years. He likes to help people find crafts
that let them both relax and express themselves.