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Primitive Skills

Hand, coiled pottery-without a wheel
    I haven't been in the habit of posting or promoting special events on this site. For one thing, there are so many great events across the state it truly is hard to pick an event to rate above the many. Like most of you I have my favorite subjects and enjoy most festivals that I get the chance to attend.
    I do have an exception to my very general and not so strict rule. In one of my favorite places, the Red River Gorge, at the mouth of Gladie Creek on the Red River on September is the annual Living Archaeology Weekend. The event is held on the grounds of the US Forest Service Visitor Center and is At the annual primitive crafts weekend held each year at the Visitor Center area on Gladie Creek in the Red River Gorge visitors can really see some amazing skills and crafts. I found it very interesting of all the different types of primitive and pioneer crafts that are demonstrated and exhibited. This is an annual event I am adding to my list to attend this year. Here are a few that caught my eye when visiting a previous event.
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    Many different types of wares are both made and sold right on the spot. Some of the items are downright unusual and all take a lot of practice and skill to master. One such example is the pottery maker shown above. This is pottery without the benefit of a potters wheel.  The same method employed by peoples for thousands of years until the pottery wheel was invented.

Primitive drills using chipped flint would drill through rock!

     One item being demonstrated was of particular interest to the kids. Primitive drills made from a sharpened piece of flint attached to a straight stick used with a string of leather or sinew would easily drill through wood and stone-just like a modern electric drill. This type of drill was around and used by Natives for centuries. I had never actually seen one used and here at this event kids were using them quite effectively.
Baskets of excellent quality
Demonstration of the Cherokee thistle dart
Flint knappers chipped away
The quality of the chipped stone tools was excellent
This point was made from quartz from North Carolina
Leggings for dances and ceremonies were made
Tanning and hide preparation
Nearly every exhibit had demonstrations going on continuously
Medicinal plants anyone? They had them.
One of my favorites was the on going construction of this cattail  shelter  constructed with  bent saplings and cattail

    This years event is coming up September 22 and will be held at the Gladie Visitor Center in the heart of the Red River Gorge. 

    Demonstrations are on going all day long the days of the event. Some exhibitors do sale some items that they demonstrate or are making right there on site. 

    There were baskets made from willow bark. All sizes and shapes and the bark had been dyed using natural dye substances to produce different colored materials to be woven together.

     The Cherokee people from North Carolina were making thistle darts. The ripened thistle head from a bloom produces a light fluffy cotton like fiber. These fibers are woven around a sharpened slender stick. The fiber expands to loosely fill the cane dart gun and can be blown several yards with deadly accuracy.

    Of course one of my favorites are the flint knappers.


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