Historic and Traditional Crafts and Technologies

August 10 - 14,  2016


Class Descriptions

Flintknapping; Forage, Flake, and Fillet - Jack Cresson

Making stone tools in any setting and situation can be fun and challenging. Starting with “forage”, Jack will teach how to locate raw materials and create a toolkit from the local landscape. In the process, you will learn to “flake” test and evaluate the available knappables, while learning what makes a rock suitable for various tool types and uses. Finally, we will “fillet” various raw materials  to obtain useful and effective chopping, cutting, slicing and scraping implements.

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.

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.

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. BTW - That picture is a flint blade stuck to the side of stick (with a glob of pine-pitch-based adhesive) and being used as a crooked knife! This workshop will widen your perspective of the surprising possibilities available for hafting stone tools.

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.

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.

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...

Fish Egg Paints on Braintan - Rochelle Dale

Rochelle and Jan are two of the very few people who have mastered the art of using earth pigments and fish eggs to replicate the painted jackets and other items of the early historic era. Rochelle will be teaching the whole process from finding the materials to applying the paint on a pre-made braintan bag with tools made of bone, feathers, shell, and other natural materials. If you have a braintan article that you would like to paint, bring it along to use instead of a pre-made bag.

$5 to $25 Materials fee depending on project

Flintknapping; Modes of Percussion - Jack Cresson

Jack is a master of knapping different materials using selected techniques that exploit the various properties of both tools and raw materials. These tools and materials represent the full range of knapping theory utilizing stone, wood, antler and bone tools for percussion, pressure, punch, and bipolar techniques. This is an intermediate level workshop, and you will either need to bring your tools or be prepared to spend up to $20 on materials.

Materials fee - up to $20

Flintknapping; Working Tough Materials - Jack Cresson

Jack will give you an introduction to how difficult lithic materials can be worked using mixed techniques and flintknapping modes. We will focus on specialized percussion techniques and an emphasis on material grades, suitable percussors and the reduction process to obtain the most effective result. Special attention will be placed on creating and designing platforms, maximizing force wave trajectories through core geometry and manipulation, and variations in the application of force. This workshop is designed to be a rare hands-on exploration of knapping theory with one of the most noted professional experimental archaeologists in the field.

Materials fee - up to $20 depending on your personal toolkit

Crafting the Tumpline Burdenstrap - James Blake

The tumpline is a specially made strap that wraps around the forehead to help stabilize a load carried on the back. Practical and easy to use, they are also an functional historic art form. James will guide you through the process of making a beautiful tumpline using traditional tools and techniques including a combination of twining and fingerweaving with specific weaves and methods necessary to make the transitions and components of the strap.

Quahog Shell Wampum - Elizabeth James-Perry

Elizabeth will guide you through the entire process of selecting, designing, and shaping quahog shells using stone, sand, files, water, and pump drills. As you create your own hand made pendant, earrings, or beads, she and her brother will also share important Northeast Native cultural perspectives and history of wampum. We are excited and honored to have this rare chance to learn about this very culturally and historically important art!

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.