Saturday, February 21, 2009

Leather Treasures

For our weekly homeschool learning cooperative, we hired one of our wilderness school teachers (they both happen at the same facility). She is the wonderful E. Barrie Kavasch; accomplished author, ethnobotonist, artist, Reiki Master, poet, and craftswoman, not to mention the direct descendant, trackable, by 15 generations, of Pocahontas.  Truly someone to learn from. 

I was lucky enough to assist in the class we brought her in to teach, which was an authentic leather working series. Something I have never done and was eager to experience. All the different types and textures of leather were amazing. The children designed their own little pouches, satchels, book covers, and even some tribal jewelry, of their own imagination and newly learned techniques. She told wonderful stories of Native traditions, taboos, foods, and even song. 

I didn't expect to make anything myself, actually, as the assistant I mostly expected to help with hole punching, supplies, and maintaining group focus. Lucky for me, she offered up an extra of a couple projects. Lucky indeed! I crafted a journal replete with bound paper, a sacred pouch perhaps for tobacco or some such treasure, and as pictured above, a lovely satchel witch I feel is to be my gathering bag, for small tools and quick to reach items while I prowl for wild medicines.
I love my handmade treasures and feel the sacredness of the animals from which they came. I am grateful to have spent some time with Barrie, a Wise Woman and herbal grandmother. 

If you live in the Northeast I highly recommend her book, pictured above. A thorough first hand account of foraged goodies, recipes and traditional tribal foods, plants, medicines, and ceremonial preparations. Beautiful and practical.  A perfect accoutrement to an identification guide and very useful for teachers.


Anonymous said...

Very Beautiful! I live in northeast CT...i'll have to check out the book. I think I have a previous book by that author (sound so familiar) My unschooling days are over...I have a 21 year daughter and we did so many of these lovely things together. I've studied herbalism for a long time with many teachers but currently am focused on Flower Essence practitioner work...studied with David Dalton, Kate Gilday as well as the AnimalEssences and Australian Bush, Bach, etc. Your blog is lovely.

shanna said...

I unschooled my children also. We just finished and they have left the nest. Somedays I wish we could start all over again just to do things like this! We did some leather work also--bags, slings... and they enjoyed it.

Your blog is great and your leatherwork is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd enjoy working with leather, but recently learned about using it to create a binding for an altered journal project. Have since sewed my own medicine pouch. I was so surprised how I responded to working with it. The textures and scents. Kind of hard to describe why I liked it, but now I want to explore creating with it more. I'll have to check out this book you mention, sounds like a find.