From the archives

by Jed Jordan 

This article first appeared in the Primitive Pursuits introductory guide “Not Your Typical Classroom.” Booklet was prepared by Melissa Mueller in November 2009. Contributors included Heidi Bardy, Beth Bannister, Tim Drake, Dave Hall, and Jed Jordan.

At the end of a leadership training program for teens, we carved stone pendants. Choosing our stone from the bucket of small pieces of slate, we each drilled a hole with a simple hand drill and etched designs into our stone. We were asked to work the stone into an emblem of our time in the program, who we were in the program, as well as what we wanted to take away with us.

We were told that, slate being as soft as it is, the etchings would wear off with time and we would need to reinforce them periodically, just as the changes in ourselves would need reinforcement and conscious nurturing in the days ahead.

To complete our necklaces, we made reverse-wrap cordage of dogbane fibers. Then each person was given the opportunity to share what their pendant symbolized to them. Months later, some of us could still be heard talking about the talismans around our necks.