Meet an Instructor: Cindy Ruprecht

Cindy Ruprecht has always loved gardening and a simpler life, raising her children on a rustic farm with few modern conveniences. Practical and willing to dig in and figure things out, Cindy loves rug weaving, soap making and other traditional crafts. She has a special affinity for traditional candle making, and will be teaching a class on July 27 on candle making using beeswax.

How were you introduced to traditional skills and farming, was there anyone who had an influential role in your life? I didn’t learn from my parents, and my three siblings are not into natural living the way I am. In fact, my mother sometimes wonders where I came from! I did have a small garden growing up. I think I am the most like my father’s mother, a farm wife who was very practical and did what needed to be done to take care of her family.

What appeals to you about candle making? Everything! I like the history and traditions associated with candle making, as well as the practical nature of them. I’ve had people come back to me a year after buying some candles, to tell me that they’ve still got the candles because they are too beautiful to burn. I give them a bit of a hard time because candles are meant to be used, that is half the joy of making them, to bring light to a room!

Why do you teach candle making? I just love to share my knowledge, I think that is baked into me. I actually feel guilty if I don’t share my knowledge. I find that is true of most people who make and sell traditionally made crafts – they are passionate and all about community, they want to share their skills with others. I like helping people to learn and be independent.

What do you hope participants take away from your class? I hope they go home and make more candles. Most of us are consumers, we don’t know what goes into making something and we often don’t experience the joy of being creative. I believe everyone has the ability to be creative, they just have focused on other things. My goal is to help people make the time to be creative, to enrich their lives.

Why teach at Marine Mills Folk School? I love the emphasis of the school on connections and community. I’ve taught classes at North House in Grand Marais, and also at other locations such as Laura Ingalls Wilder Days in Pepin. The traditional skills world is very community oriented, which I like.

What inspires you? Well, I’ve always had a zest for life and I love making connections with others. I’ve also always found inspiration by reading the Scriptures.

If you could time travel, where would you go? I’d visit medieval times. I’m a bit of a romantic, I’d love to live in a castle as a princess.

Photo Credit: Eric Marty on

What’s your favorite place in nature? Walking barefoot through my herb garden.

Got any good books to recommend? I’m working on creating a class about ‘Weather Folklore’. My son had read A Museum of Early American Tools by Eric Sloane, and knew he had some books about weather and storms. I enjoyed Eric Sloane’s Weather Book with wonderful drawings and weather folklore.

Photo Credit: Andrew Ruiz on