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Slickrock Gathering

The Slickrock Gathering is an annual event that brings the best primitive skills specialists to BOSS for one week each spring. During this week, students enroll in a specific course – called a Pathway – to learn that skill from start to finish, in depth, under truly expert guidance.

About the Course

There are a handful of primitive technology or traditional skills gatherings around the world where people come together to teach and learn. At almost all of these, classes are short (usually several hours) and students attend one or two classes per day. This creates a learning experience that, while worthwhile, is by design limited. Short courses must focus on a very narrow aspect of a skill, something that can be taught and learned in only a few hours. At BOSS, we believe students are better served if a class teaches a skill in its entirety and places it within its context in the natural world.

At the Slickrock Gathering, BOSS offers distinct Pathways for students to study a skill in depth under the expert guidance and supervision of a master teacher.  The instructors at Slickrock are the most expert you will find at any gathering.  Many of the instructors at other gatherings are the students of these teachers.  This is a unique opportunity to spend a whole week with these individuals.

About BOSS

Since 1968, BOSS courses have set the standard for low-technology camping and hiking techniques, where instruction is conducted with minimal intrusion of modern technology in environments that allow course content to be experienced first-hand. Our commitment to quality and to our core philosophies has earned BOSS its reputation as the survival school to go to when you want to learn from the best in the industry.

How Pathways Work

At the Slickrock Gathering, BOSS offers distinct "Pathways" for learning, giving you the opportunity to focus on a specific interest under the guidance of expert instruction. Our hope is that this makes your time with us more valuable, as you can truly learn something in depth during your week. Pathways are "A to Z" in nature, offering a complete course in each subject from start to finish. Each student is able to collect the raw materials (when feasible), process them into finished materials and then produce usable tools, clothing or food by the end of the Pathway.

For example, on the Pottery Pathway, we don't just teach you how to shape a piece of clay into a pot... We harvest the clay from the earth together, cleanse it of impurities, add temper, shape it, and then, finally, fire it. The result is more than just a beautifully tanned hide or fired pot but a complete picture of the skill and the ability to achieve mastery.

There are no prerequisites for a Pathway other than the desire to be completely immersed in the process during the Gathering. Pathways will change over the years, offering you the opportunity to refine and build on your skills – so we hope you will keep coming back for this event.

2015 PATHWAYS TBD

 

 

 

IN 2014 THE PATHWAYS INCLUDED:

Code Pathway
G‑10WB WILLOW BASKETRY

 

Instructor: Erin Adams
Class Limit: 10 Students

While clay pots may be great for cooking and holding water, they are often heavy and can break. For these reasons, baskets are often a better option for transport and storage needs. You will learn how to harvest, store, and prepare willow for wicker basketry. Students will also learn various basketry techniques: splitting and peeling willows, ribbed basketry, traditional English whole shoot wicker basketry, several decorative weaves, and multiple borders. You will have time to create and complete multiple baskets under Erin’s guidance during the week.

G‑10PB PRIMITIVE BLACKSMITHING

 

Instructor: Bryce Wood
Class Limit: 6 Students

The Primitive Blacksmithing Pathway will explore historical and creative approaches to "primitive" blacksmithing.  Students will be guided through the forging and construction of a steel knife. Simple hand tools will be used to complete all work. The tools, materials, fuels and processes involved in low tech manufacturing of steel and steel tools will be discussed. Theory and practice combine for a fun and accessible introduction to early Iron Age technology.

 

 
G-10PP PRIMITIVE POTTERY

 

Instructor: John Olsen
Class Limit: 10 Students

In many villages, cooking, water transport, and food storage could not be done without expertly made clay vessels. On the Primitive Pottery Pathway, master instructor John Olsen will teach students the various aspects of pottery, from collecting the raw clay, to processing the clay, to making clay vessels, to firing them in an open fire. Pre-processed clay will be available for each student to work while the raw clay is being prepared for use. Two firings will be done: one instructor-guided and one student-guided. Each student will complete the Pathway with the tools necessary for producing pottery and products from the two firings.

   
G-10FL FLINTKNAPPING

 

Instructor: Greg Nunn
Class Limit: 10 Students

Flintknapping teaches the art of making cutting edges from stone. On the Flintknapping Pathway, students will learn how to find quality, usable stone, how to treat the stone, how to knap the stone, and finally how to haft the blade. Learning from master flintknapper Greg Nunn, students will also make their own set of tools necessary for flintknapping. Once usable tools have been made, we will see how these blades work and the different ways of using these tools when compared to steel blades.

   
G‑10BM BOWMAKING

 

Instructor: Aram Barsch
Class Limit: 6 Students

Few primitive weapons carry the power and the prestige of the bow. On the Bowmaking Pathway, instructor Aram Barsch will teach students the art of turning a simple stave of wood into a beautiful, functional bow. This process will include layout, tillering and reflexing (if desired). Of course, a bow's function is as important as its form, so students will test their bows on BOSS's archery range to fine-tune their bow-making and bow-shooting skills. As Aram is an experienced hunting guide, students will also learn various shooting techniques, including how to tune your arrows to your bow.

Please note that there is an additional $100 materials fee on the Bowmaking Pathway to cover the cost of the stave.

   
G‑10HT Hidetanning

 

Instructor: Digger and Kerr Crist
Class Limit: 10 Students

Students on the Hidetanning pathway will learn pre-historic methods to turn raw deer hides into beautiful soft buckskin.  All stages of tanning, including bucking, scraping, softening and smoking will be taught.  There will likely be time to learn sewing methods so you can turn your buckskin into a bag or piece of clothing.  Be ready to get a work-out!

 

Evening Entertainment

Evenings provide many opportunities for music, storytelling, trade-blankets, games and other activities. We encourage people to bring instruments, trade items, and unique talents to the Gathering.

Meals and Lodging

The tuition for the Slickrock Gathering includes two meals per day (breakfast and dinner) and the freedom to set up a camp on BOSS's 40 acres of property. Please note that there are some guidelines for where you can and cannot set up your tent and what type of camping is permissable – no RV campers are allowed on the property. For those with RVs, water & electricity hook-ups are available at an RV parking lot just a few minutes walk from the property (additional fee required). If you have questions or concerns not addressed here, please contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Dates and Prices

Course dates, prices, and availability are listed to the right, at the top of the page.  You can also download our complete course calendar in Adobe Acrobat PDF by clicking here. If you have any questions, please submit them via the Contact BOSS page or call us at 800.335.7404 or 435.335.7404.