The World Was Tied Together
Creating cordage from different plant fibers
ability to twine, braid, twist, roll or weave fibers into cordage
is one of the oldest of mankind's primitive skills. The materials
from which to ply and braid cords or ropes are in abundance everywhere.
Any fibrous material that has reasonable length, moderate strength
and is flexible or pliable can be utilized.
Lashing dwellings, making mats, containers, clothing, snares, fishnets, hammocks and bow strings are a few of the uses of cordage. Lacking nails, bolts and screws, and having little to use for adhesives, indigenous cultures tied their world together.
In the class we will talk about the extraction and preparation of various plant fibers. Techniques of plying the fibers into cordage will then be explored. Also, the efficient method of leg rolling cordage in one direction will be practiced. Cordage will be made from dogbane, tule (bulrush), cattail and New Zealand flax.
The Art of Calling Down the Sun
Various methods of creating fire
Fire was considered sacred because it was so essential for the welfare of humans. Fire was necessary for survival. It provided warmth, protection, cooked and preserved food, a means to shape weapons and tools, furnished light and boiled water.
There are several methods for starting a fire. We will cover and demonstrate the various techniques of fire by friction (fire pump, fire saw, fire plow, bow drill and hand drill), as well as fire by percussion (flint and steel) and compression (fire piston).
There will be hands-on activities using the hand drill and the bow drill. We will also construct a tinder bundle and start a fire. Identifying various local plant materials for fire making will be discussed.
Wet Scrape Brain Tanning
Before the development of textiles, aboriginal cultures around the world depended on the making of leather for clothing and other goods in their daily lives.
We'll be teaching a way of tanning that is known as wet scrape brain tanning. The procedure transforms a deer hide into a soft and washable piece of leather, without the use of any chemical or toxic products. Nature provides all of the necessary ingredients for this type of tanning.
You will experience the whole process of scraping and stretching the hide to smoking the softened buckskin. Four students will be assigned to one hide and each person will walk away with 1/4 of a brain tanned buckskin.
Making a Tree Fly
Historians suggest that early man progressed from stone throwing to an atlatl, then to the bow and arrow. This latter invention was an integral part of most cultures around the world. The bow and arrow bears witness to the fact that we have a common heritage as hunters and gatherers. In the workshop, we will deal with the mate of the hunter's bow . . . the lightning stick.
The basic parts of an arrow are the nock, fletching, shaft, foreshaft (if it has one) and point. We will create a functional arrow utilizing natural, raw materials. The points will be made of obsidian, as well as other natural resources. Due to the limited time, the obsidian points will already be knapped.
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