new ways to craft were on full display this week! 

This week was all about crafts. Primitive Pursuits has some crafts that are part of the culture and tradition of camp. Learning to carve, form up clay, stone drill or make cordage are staples of the Primitive Pursuits craft diet. 

These types of crafts were on full display this week and there were some new things added too! Instructor Rey led the annual color foragers camp this week. The camp centers around her mastery of forest dyes. Rey uses Goldenrod, Hemlock bark, and Sumac berries to create three different shades of dye which are used to dye different types of fabric. Campers worked diligently to gather enough of these plants and sufficient wood to create fires to boil the plant material into the dye vat. The camp then added various fabrics to the dye baths and let them sit. What resulted was a multicolored array of fabric colors the campers used to make embroidered journals. They personalized these pieces of fabric with iron Rey has started to use to paint designs onto the dyed fabrics.  

Another new craft at camp was the flower loom. Growing Wild and Ravens camp made the looms using twine and sticks. Growing Wild made a large flower loom together and they filled the loom with the many flowers in bloom right now at 4H acres such as Goldenrod, Milkweed and Monarda. Ravens camp made individual looms and filled them with similar flowers. Many of the looms ended up decorating the expansive fairy village they constructed this week. 

Another new craft was the tension basket. Both Advanced Wild Crafting and Ravens Camp harvested and processed rose bush canes. Gathering the canes and taking the thorns off was a challenge but once campers had the raw material they were able to weave baskets of various sizes.


A camper shows off his sir face paint job complete with monocle. Photo: Ben Bookout

Instructor Blue helps Sambeer with his tension basket made from rose canes. Photo: Ben Bookout

Instructor Jesse led Advanced Wildcrafting through the process of making Atlatls. The group harvested an Ash tree which looked like it was being crowded out. Then similar to bow camp the tree was cut into sections and divided up into quarters. Smaller branches were then used to make the throwing portion of the Atlatl and the larger quarters of the tree trunk were used to make the spears. This all ended with an Atlatl olympics in which the campers used the Atlatls to take down the Pineapola and eat the juicy fruit the beast carries. 

Instructor Ian led the Ospreys on a not so typical craft journey. He brought out fabric, his grandmother’s thread, needles and a bunch of socks. For about an hour for three days this week campers could be seen sewing and assembling their sock puppets. Although there was no formal puppet show, a few of the sock puppets talked with me on and off camera. 

The week ended with the traditional Ravens camp show. The camp chose to reenact a scene from camp this week when Instructor Elliot evaded a bumblebee for close to thirty minutes. They ran around camp, they ran away from camp, they ran into the woods, they used their sweatshirt, they used branches and still the bumblebee persisted. It was truly a test of wills. Thankfully Elliot’s will won out and the bumblebee gave up its pursuit. The whole camp delighted in the retelling of Elliot and the bumblebee. 

Craft week inspired us to develop more forms of nature based art in camp.


Campers participate in the Atlatl olympics with the Atlatls they made this week. Photo: Ben Bookout

A camper braves the rain to finish her berry pouch in Raven’s camp. Photo: Ben Bookout