This celt, or primitive axe, is constructed from black locust wood and a river stone from Virginia. It has felled several hardwood trees and is still sharp as ever.
Some of the trees felled with the stone celt were used to build this thatched cattail shelter, which slept 12 of us for a week in late October quite comfortably.
Natural pottery (1 of 3)
I've always been fascinated by natural pottery and this my first attempt at learning this art. A friend and I found a good vein of clay in a river in Massachusetts, and I handbuilt this pot after a few unsuccessful tries.
Natural pottery (2 of 3)
The pottery was fired in a campfire. The colors came out beautiful.
Natural pottery (3 of 3)
The bottom blew off of the pot - in hindsight, this area was too thick and likely didn't adequately dry, which led to expansion of trapped water molecules. But the pot still works and is watertight!
This canteen is made from a hollowed gourd, internally coated in beeswax, with a basswood fiber net and basswood cork.
My plaited birch bark arrow quiver is both very durable and very pliable.
Scapula spatula and soapstone griddle
I designed these two items together to allow for easy campside cooking. A deer scapula forms the spatula blade, and the handle can be used to move the skillet as needed - similar to the handles on old wood-fired cookstoves.
A forester friend dropped a huge black ash tree and cut a length for me. I spent many evenings in the garage pounding out the growth rings and separating them into weavers, which I then used to create this basket.
Wild rice harvesting
My foraging interests eventually led me to foods that were staples, meaning they could be gathered in abundance, would store well, and were highly nutritious. Lots of searching led me to finding wild rice in New England. The harvesting process involves a canoe, two sticks, and a friend poling the canoe while you collect rice.
I couldn't pass up this Hen of the Woods mushroom found in Lyme.
What spring foraging outing is complete without some fiddleheads (or in this case, a whole tub full for your friends, family, and co-workers)?
Young basswood leaves and wild leeks make for a pretty delicious spring salad.
Over the years, I've taught various school groups some of the skills that I've learned. Here I'm teaching friction fire starting, which was followed by a lesson in hot rock boiling in pine bark containers that the students built.