Hawaiian gourd water bottle
All living things need a lot of water to carry out their life processes. We require water for drinking, cleaning, cooking, bathing and basically survival.
In areas where gourds are found, indigenous societies used gourd water bottles for drawing, transporting and keeping a quantity of water at home. Light, practical and easily replaced, they are suited for this purpose.
We will make a Hawaiian gourd water bottle called a huewai (also named an ipu wai). A gourd water bottle of the hourglass shape was called huewai pueo. We will process and clean this type of gourd to produce a functional water container.
The Hawaiian craftsmen also developed a unique technique with coir cord loops by which the water gourds could be carried and hung up at home. We will also create the coir support called 'aha hawele.
Making a cordage and leather sling
The sling is one of the most ancient of hunting weapons.
In its oldest form, the sling is a leather or hide strap, with
a string fastened to each end. Its simplicity belies the sling's
deadly stunning and stopping power. It was probably the first
weapon designed to hurl a stone with more force than a person
could deliver with their hand and arm.
The workshop will start with plying either dogbane or flax fibers to create the two cords. One end of the string will have a finger loop and the end of the other string will have a knot. The center strap or pouch to hold the stone will be cut from leather. We will also mold clay balls for ammunition. Each person will have the opportunity to decorate their leather strap with personal symbols using a berry dye.
The pump drill was a useful, primitive tool that gave a consistent performance for making small, round, conical holes. Holes were drilled into bone, shell, wood, or soapstone with this device. The four main components of the pump drill were: 1) the vertical spindle, 2) the horizontal crosspiece, 3) the flywheel weight, and 4) the drill bit.
In the workshop, the pump drill will be made from wood, a leather thong, a clay or soapstone flywheel, sinew, and a knapped, chert drill bit. A properly designed and tuned pump drill is not only a pleasure to use, but also has a primitive aesthetic beauty to its operation.
NOTE: Limited attendance for this workshop. Only a maximum of 6 students.
Fun with Indigenous Toys & Games
In early cultures, the making of toys and playing games during childhood were a prelude to the primitive skills that were needed in adult life.
The workshop will consist primarily of fun. We will make toys out of acorn, tule, cattail and New Zealand flax. The projects will include a Miwok acorn buzzer called luna'a, a ball and acorn cup toy, spinning tops made out of nuts, leaf puzzles, willow deers, leaf whistles, tule bittern, cattail fish and more. I hope all will be of interest in some way, either for their beauty, use, humour, or simply their curiosity value.
Basic Percussion Knapping and Stone Pecking
heard of the "Hertzian Cone" or conchoidal fracture?
What has that to do with primitive skills? These two principles
will be discussed and applied to a class involving basic percussion
knapping. After the lecture, we'll experiment with flaking off
some obsidian spalls with a hammerstone.
For those who want to practice some stone pecking, cobble stones will be available to peck out a small, stone mortar.
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