Winter Count Classes (FEBRUARY 18-24, 2024) Registration opens November 1.
Teachers and artisans in primitive technology are invited to attend these gatherings to share ideas and methods as well as spread the arts through hands-on workshops. You can expect skills instruction from some of the nation's top primitive technologists and artisans.
Forty to sixty classes are held from 9am to 5pm daily. Lecture/Discussion Sessions are information-oriented and each covers a broad subject. Demonstrations are how-to presentations with some practical instruction. Hands-On classes provide you with the instruction needed to actually complete a project or practice a new skill.
How it starts...
You will want to be in camp no later than 12pm on Sunday as this is the day when it all comes together. (Check-in will take place at the gate when you arrive. Gate opens at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Check-in closes at 6:00 p.m. on both days.)
Between 12 and 2 on Sunday, instructors set up with a blanket or a table to tell you about their classes, possibly sign you up for the class if you are interested and answer any questions you might have.
Next will be the opening circle where we welcome you, help you orient to camp and have instructors introduce themselves. After that will be The Basics, where some of the instructors will teach the basics of fire, fiber, basic flintknapping and knives. The Basics will last for a couple hours until it is time for dinner at 6 pm. A First-Timers' Meeting will take place after dinner on Sunday to help get you oriented to camp if this is your first year.
Signing up for classes happens in the circle of instructors, after the instructors introduce themselves or during the week. And for many of the classes, you just show up without needing to sign up. It is a bit freeform and depends on the instructor, the type of class and how the wind might be blowing that day.....
Yes, yes, we know, signing up for well sought after classes can be tricky and you may not get in to a class that you wanted to take. We have tried every possible way to make this work equitably over the years and this is where we have settled after much experimentation.
Some workshops may have a materials fee that will be collected by the instructor. If a class has a size limit, it will be specified by the instructor and a sign up sheet will be available. Class schedules will be posted on kiosks around main camp with dates, times, class size limits, materials fees, etc. During morning announcements, which take place each morning after breakfast, instructors will remind you of the classes that are being taught, their locations, and if there may be an opening in a class that was previously full.
You may be asked to pay a materials fee for the materials used in your class.
Some instructors may just ask for a donation or may not ask for anything. The materials fee should be just that and should not include any expense for teaching the class, though instructors may charge for the time that it took to collect the materials.
How much can you expect to pay for materials? A bow stave could cost over $100. A willow basket might cost between $15 and $50 in materials, depending on the size of the basket. Felt for a hat might cost $35. A hide for tanning, $20-$35. It is impossible to say how much you should bring for materials fees but $150 should be sufficient and you may not spend even a third of that. Materials fees must be upfront and on the schedule so you know what you are getting into. Bring cash as there will be no ATM's on site... or even close. Instructors don't take credit cards or checks.
A knife is an essential tool to almost all classes!
A good sharp knife and sharpener are a must. Classes in tool use, care and maintenance will be available. For flintknapping, tools will be available for use and for sale. If you have your own flintknapping kit be sure to bring it. Some tools will be made available by the instructors; please take care of their tools and follow directions. Please make sure that they have all of their tools back before leaving a class. Many types of knives will be available for sale at the gathering.
Winter Count is a drug, alcohol and firearm free event.