Historic and Traditional Crafts and Technologies

July 29 - August 2, 2015


Woven Cedar Bark Mats - Keith Knecht

Traditional cedar bark floor and canoe mats are durable, flexible, water repellant, insulating, and light weight. They are soft and comfortable when kneeling or sitting, and are also used by Aanishinaabe people to wrap ceremonial bundles. The same weaving technique - known as “plaiting” - is also used to make woven cedar bark bags for storing wild rice and other grains. Starting with processing the raw bark into the strips of inner bark, Keith will guide you through the process of building the weaving frame and completing a beautiful and functional piece of Great Lakes history.

Class Descriptions

Flintknapping - Barry Keegan

Knapping is a core skill for anyone who who needs basic survival skills, providing blades for cutting, drilling, scraping, hoeing, projectile tips, and the list goes on and on...  Barry is a nationally known primitive technologist and  has been teaching people to make chipped stone tools for decades. He will be running classes for every level from beginner to advanced. Bring your own kit, or if you need tools we will supply them.

Paper and Bark Cutout Art - Georgia Donovan

Georgia will teach you how to use silhouettes of plants animals to fold and cut a design that creates intricate and expressive patterns. These can be simple or elaborate, and the cutout techniques can be applied to paper or birch bark. The finished cutouts can be used as patterns for etching birch bark or beading, and of course they are also a great art form for display. This a perfect class for parents and any children old enough to handle scissors, and Georgia has asked that anyone who plans to participate bring a favorite pair of scissors.

Rice Jigging Moccasins - Roger LaBine

Roger will be sharing age old pattern making and sewing techniques for making Ojibwe puckered toe style moccasins, the style that is traditionally used for dancing (jigging) wild rice to remove the hulls from the parched grain. Just like Roger’s grandmother taught him, you will first make your own pair of child size moccasins from smoked deerskin, then work together as a group to make a pair of full size moccasins from smoked moose hide.

Materials Fee: $16

Pitches and Birch Tar - Bob Berg

Pitches and birch tar are incredibly valuable resources that can act as waterproofing, hot melt glue, wood finish, fire starting aids, medicines, and much more! Bob will have raw materials and equipment for making the various formulations of both birch tar and pine pitch starting with trees of the northwoods.

Quill Techniques Overview - Rochelle Dale

Learn quill wrapping techniques for traditional tanned leather by completing a small bag with several techniques. This workshop is designed to give participants experience with each of the different techniques used to create quilled art including zig-zag stitch, line stitch, wrapping techniques, and other complex designs that can be made with variations of these techniques.

$15 Materials Fee

Cree Style Woven Rabbit Fur Blankets - Daisy Kostus

Made by preparing and weaving rabbit skin “yarn”, these intricate and unbelievably warm and soft blankets are a staple of traditional hunter-gatherer peoples of the north. Daisy will teach you how to properly skin the rabbit, process the fur into long strips, and weave these iconic and practical fur blankets. Of course, she also has some great rabbit recipes and traditional teachings relating to rabbits and all of the gifts they provide.

Traditional Resin Adhesives and “Dop” Hafting - Bob Berg

Bob is an expert at mixing and formulating natural adhesives. His mixture for use with “dop” hafting is an eye opener for those familiar with the “notch, glue, and bind” styles of hafting - allowing one to simply glob-glue a flint flake-blade to the side of a stick and use it as a drawknife or crooked knife. You will be amazed by these tool’s ability to remove wood rapidly and efficiently, with full-power durability.

Black Ash Basketry - Jennie Brown and Family

Ash splint basket making is a traditional art form that has played an important role for many generations of Great Lakes Indian communities.  With the arrival of the invasive emerald ash borer, ash tree populations in the region are disappearing and threatening this age old art form. During the course of the event, the Jennie will lead participants through the entire process of making a beautiful and traditional ash basket as it has been done by generations of Potawatomi basket makers. We will be completing the entire process, starting with an outing to learn how to select and harvest a log, pounding splints from the log back onsite, splitting, shaving and trimming the wood and, finally, using traditional patterns of weaving the splints to make functional and elegant baskets.

Materials Fee - None, but typically those who make basets help pound the splints....

Open Fired Pottery Cookware - Erik Vosteen

Earthenware pottery was used for thousands of years in the Great Lakes region and beyond primarily for cooking. Properly made clay pots can be used for boiling, baking, parching, deep frying, and even making maple sugar! Build your own vessel with the same tools and techniques that made the originals, then fire them in an open fire on the ground on Saturday evening. This is a rare opportunity to walk away with a finished vessel and all of the knowledge necessary for making and cooking in open fired earthenware pottery.

Materials fee - none, but participants must help gather and split firing wood

Firearms of the Fur Trade - Larry Horrigan

The smooth bore flintlock trade gun is the iconic tool of an iconic era, and Larry has been replicating fur trade firearms (and even an occasional big bore air rifle) for over a decade. He will have a collection of replica guns ranging from standard .62 caliber trade guns to the massive 1 inch bore “wall gun”,  and will discuss the features, innovations, and and historical and cultural significance of the various pieces. Then go along on a live-fire demonstration outing where you will have the chance to shoot some of these historic firearms and the circa 1775 ball reservoir .40 caliber air gun.

Mortise and Tenon Benches - Larry Horrigan

Discover age old approaches to historic woodworking and build your own beautiful three foot mortise and tenoned bench that will surely become a family heirloom. This is an excellent class for those who have some experience with woodworking but would like to enhance their set of skills to learn about mortise and tenon work. Best of all, we assure you that student in this workshop will certainly have the best, if not the most stylish seats at GLTAG.

Materials Fee - $25

Building the Toboggan - Jan Zender

It has been said that the toboggan is the “winter canoe”, and when the snow is deep and travel is by snowshoe, they are an indispensable part of everyday life for the wilderness traveller. A properly built toboggan is tapered to follow the track of the snowshoe; and it flexes, following the contours of the surface  and the groove of the trail like a snake. Jan has an artistic flair and reputation for culturally and historically accurate crafts; you wont want to miss this chance to help build an elegant toboggan - starting with deer skin and an ash log...

Birch Bark Wigwam Rolls - Jijak Foundation and Gun Lake Tribe Staff

Join staff members from the Jijak Foundation and Gun Lake Pottawatomi Tribe to craft traditional birch bark roof panels used for covering wigwams. Wigwassi pekwewen are large flexible birch bark panels sewn together with spruce roots to form the overlapping “shingles” for covering a variety of traditional native homes and structures in the Great Lakes Region. These lightweight and waterproof panels are ingeniously designed to be rolled into tubes that are used for protecting and securing gear and belongings when traveling between seasonal villages and harvesting camps. This in depth, hands-on workshop will focus on interweaving Pottawatomi language, terminology, and oral history with the complete process of preparing and assembling the birch bark, spruce roots, and white cedar splits. If you plan to build roofing rolls, we also recommend forging a bark awl with Tim Carr - might as well use your own...

Loom Beading - Panoka Walker

Looms are an easy method of creating woven bands of beads that can be used for hair ties, hatbands, bracelets, and other embellishments. This workshop will go through the entire process from setting up your own loom (covered by the materials fee) to attaching the clasp to the finished piece. This is a great introductory bead project and you will take home a loom and the knowledge to use it, along with the introductory project you make.

Materials Fee - $15