Buckeye: Pathways
May 8 – 14, 2018

Registration for 2018 will open in early March 2018

After seven years, we excitedly expanded the Buckeye Gathering. We had been carrying the question of how to grow well, how to grow at a natural pace, for the last six years that we have filled to capacity. This is what has emerged: a smaller, more focused batch of classes, called Pathways. 

Pathways Offers a Deeper Taste

You will spend five full days with one or a few advanced teachers following an intensive pathway in a specific field. This fits our vision of delving deeper into Ancestral Arts, and represents the future direction of our organization. For years the Slickrock gathering has been doing this in May in Utah (thanks for sharing the name ‘Pathways’ and the model!). You can enroll in either week, or both. If you join us for Pathways, you will enroll in your one class at that time, see descriptions below.

Come prepared to go with the flow…as we learn what this new aspect of village calls for

We learned a lot our first, experimental year: who knows how all the details will shake out? There will be emergent properties, so come prepared to go with the flow and have some easygoing fun as we learn what this new aspect of village calls for. Most of the Pathways week will match up with what you find on our website about our first week over Beltaine. We will feed you breakfast and dinner, you bring your own lunch. There will be about 180 folks onsite, and less overall activity than the Beltaine week. We will have a small Youth Camp.

A Pivotal Moment in our Growth

Let’s just see how that works, shall we? This feels like a pivotal moment in our growth and our place in the community. You are invited to join us for a pretty dang unique opportunity! If you are unsure about jumping in, trust that there are good reasons we have chosen this and years of thoughtful design. Thanks to all the other gatherings, the pantheon of teachers, the dedicated years of students, the Ancestors who came before, and all the forces that help us gather together each spring.


When registration is open you can enroll in either week, or both. If you join us for Pathways, you will need to enroll in your selected class at that time; so please peruse the following information to help you make your selection.

Arrival is on the full moon in May, Tuesday May 8th, and five full days of classes begin the next day. Camp will close and disperse on Monday the 14th. We will feed you breakfast and dinner, you bring your own lunch. There will be about 180 folks onsite, and less overall activity than the Beltaine week.

Youth Camp

 We are trying out something new this year.  Though only some of the Pathways are open to youth who are attending with parents, we like keeping all ages in our village setting.  So we will offer a small Youth Camp program, which will include free time, nature based activities, and visits to the Pathways classes; think organic and awesome.  If you are enrolled in a Pathway, you can purchase a ‘Youth Camp’ ticket for your young one.  If your young one is under 5, they are your responsibility, and you will likely not be able to participate fully in your class.  If you are bringing your kid, be prepared to pull away from your class as needed to take care of them.  The details of this camp will depend largely on how many kids and of what ages are registered.

Prices for Pathways Classes

Adults:   $500 ~ $600

Seniors:   $400 ~ $500

Pathway Youth (16 and under):   $300 ~ $400


Youth Camp Prices

Youth Camp 13-16         $240-$360

Youth Camp 9-12         $200-$320

Youth Camp Children 2-8      $60-$140


Pathways Instructors

We are deeply jazzed and honored to be hosting our advanced teachers!
There will be a high level of mastery represented here.

Here are the classes from 2017:

Blacksmithing ~ Bryce Wood
Bow Making ~ Paul Rodgers
Braintanning Buckskin ~ Jay Sliwa
Fine Pomo Basketry ~ Corine Pearce
Friction Firemaking ~ Myron Cretney
Plant Medicine ~ John Slattery
Stone Age Tools ~
David Holladay
Tule Boats ~ Caleb Soltau
Weaving ~ Margaret Mathewson

2017 Pathways Instructor Bios


 Pathways 2017 Course Information

Blacksmithing ~ Bryce Wood

“Metal Edges From the Ground Up

Making charcoal to fuel forge

This very hands-on class will cover:

  • the basics of building a ground level charcoal fueled blacksmithing forge,
  • useful steel alloys,
  • a brief history of steel,
  • useful steel alloys and recycled sources,
  • tools of blacksmithing,
  • charcoal production,
  • knife blade forging and finishing,
  • heat treatment of steel,
  • shaping and fitting of knife handles from scratch,
  • as well as the instructors theories of knife usage, design and maintenance.

Using bellows for ground forge

Age Limit: 16 years + (with parental consent)

Using an anvil



Bryce strives to create lightweight edged tools… (click for bio)

Bow Making ~ Paul Rodgers

“Osage Bow Making”

Bow makers and their bows

In this class students will learn the art of bow making with traditional hand tools and emerge with a self crafted weapon they can be proud of.

Topics covered will include:

  • stave harvest and selection
  • how to lay out, cut splices and glue sister billets together
  • scraping, shaping and tillering until the bow bends properly
  • cutting in nocks

    Scraping a bow

  • making a traditional linen bow string
  • and applying a finish

We will also discuss different styles of bows, as well as bow design and performance.
All necessary tools and materials will be furnished.

Shaping staves into bows


Materials fee:   $100
(includes a premium Osage Orange stave)
(to be paid to instructor at event)

Age Limit: 18 years +

Paul is always striving to learn something new each time… (click for bio)

Become an instructor ‘helper’ for Bowmaking ($100 discount)

Braintanning Buckskin ~ Jay Sliwa

Staking hide to soften

In this full brain tanning course, you will go through the entire process of transforming a salted hide into the beautifully soft material of smoked buckskin that has been used for thousands upon thousands of years to clothe our bodies and provide us with a durable and flexible leather used is everyday lives.

This seemingly magical process is also a complicated series of chemical and physical processes which take time, dedication and a certain amount of physical work to unlock and fully understand.

There will be a choice of projects depending on previous experience and the amount of energy you want to devote during the week:

  • Beginners are encouraged to tan one hide.
  • Those that have tanned at least one hide before may choose to tan 2 hides
  • Those with more experience (having tanned 5-10 hides before) may choose to tan an elk hide
    (limited availability, please contact Jay once you have registered to request the elk hide option)

Finished buckskins

One day will be devoted to sewing, stitches, seams and designs for using your buckskin for clothing and other projects.

Includes questions and discussion about bark tanning hides and how the process differs from and compliments braintanned buckskin.

Assisted by Karie Lee Knoke

1 hide: no fee,
2 hides: $15 fee or
elk: $45 fee
(to be paid to instructor at event)

Age limit: 12 years +

Jay strives to find ways to live closer to the beautiful wild places he calls home …(click for bio)

Become an instructor ‘helper’ for Braintanning ($100 discount)

Fine Pomo Basketry ~ Corine Pearce

“Fine Coiled or Fine Twined Pomo Baskets”

Fine twined start for medallion

Come learn to weave closed twine or fine coil Pomo basketry techniques.

This class will cover the entire process including harvesting, processing, curing, sorting and the final steps of preparing materials for weaving.

I will be providing cured Redbud, sedge root, and willow for weaving a small basket of either type.


Fine coiled start

Please bring a sharp knife, fine point scissors and a comfortable chair.

I will have fine point basketry awls available for use, bring one if you have one, or buy one from me.

Materials Fee: $60$80
(depending on size of project, includes an awl)
(to be paid to instructor at event)

Age Limit: 16 years +

Fresh redbud withes


Pomo Basketry Materials : Willow, Redbud, Sedge and Basketgrass





Corine began weaving at age 9… (click for bio)

Become an instructor ‘helper’ for Fine Pomo Basketry ($100 discount)

Friction Firemaking ~ Myron Cretney

“Fire From Concept to Combustion and Beyond …consistently”

Practicing good hand drill form

Learn how to feel confident with fire in a variety of settings, in a variety of conditions with a variety of materials. Spending an entire week focusing on friction fire, one connects with the spark on a deeper level and becomes much more at home with the craft and process, which is one of the core and most important of all the human life skills.

This class is for everyone (men and women alike, from first-timers to experienced firemakers) and is aimed specifically at learning and practicing techniques to become consistently effective, comfortable and adept at producing friction fire via the hand drill method for those with or without previous experience.

Closeup of hand drill ember

The main focus will be on the hand-drill method of friction firemaking:

  • developing relaxed, natural and efficient technique
  • gathering and ID of materials useful for firemaking
  • learning to read the landscape for firemaking materials
  • creating fire in less than perfect circumstances from found materials
  • making your own high quality kit to take home
  • kit storage and transport

The secondary focus will be on fire itself:

  • anatomy of tinder bundle for best results
  • carrying fire
  • using fire to live and stay comfortable on overnight excursion
  • managing fire for variety of purposes: cooking, smoking, warmth, etc….
  • tending fire
  • other firemaking methods


……..all without wearing ourselves out or hurting our hands.

Age limit: 12 years +

Myron likes connecting with the plants, animals and minerals of his world… (click for bio)

Become an instructor ‘helper’ for Friction Firemaking ($100 discount)

Plant Medicine ~ John Slattery

“Becoming a Bio-regional Herbalist”

Learning to become a bio-regional herbalist is as simple as going for a walk. Again, and again. Deep connection through continued observation is the foundation for a bio-regional herbalist. Knowledge is derived from experience, and wisdom through continued practice and observation of one’s environment. Learning about the plants found naturally occurring around us begins to deepen our relationship to place. Little by little, patterns begin to emerge which inform us as to how we can use plants for medicine. Expanding our model to include a variety of information sources, while imbuing each perspective with our own unique experiences cradled from within the landscape, a model of contextual awareness emerges which, when viewed and practiced authentically, can reflect the natural ebb and flow of life around us.

Discussing an individual of interest

This intensive workshop is for those called to develop relationship with the plants around them for food and medicine. It’s also for those who have experience, but are seeking to go deeper to unlock the hidden “mysteries” embedded in the world around them. Further, this is a workshop to empower the individual to create lively relationship with the plants in their local landscape.

In this 5-day workshop we’ll explore the fundamental aspects of becoming a bio-regional herbalist: developing relationship with place and the plants within it. This endeavor leads us to the study of field botany, respectful wildcrafting and participation with our environment, plant energetics, landscape observation, developing and exercising the senses (especially, the feeling sense) particularly in relation to place and plants, herbal medicine making, and applying these medicines for well-being and healing utilizing our knowledge of our homeland and plant energetics.

My approach to herbs and healing is diverse and varied, and is continually being sculpted by the world around me and my awareness of myself and others within it. I’ve been led to work with a 4-directional model of healing which breeds a unique, holistic approach to healing within my given landscape. A model of information gathering which can be applied anywhere on the globe. We’ll be discussing and exploring this model, while also losing ourselves within it through our interactions with the plants and the various experiences I’ll be facilitating for the group.

Brodeia bulb and flower

We’ll also take the time to explore the basics of identifying plants in the field according to the science of botanical taxonomy. This will offer the participant an intimate perspective on the plants we work with while enlivening their curiosity. We’ll also be exploring plant energetics throughout the week as we meet new plants and discuss them while ingesting and creating preparations made from these plants. This workshop is a full immersion in the experience of learning plants as medicine; plants as living entities.



We’ll be going for hikes, daily, so be prepared. Some days we’ll pack our lunch, but I’ll give advance notice.


Materials needed*:
*we may or may not need all of these, participants should bring what they can

  • Canning jar/s (half pint, pint, quart)
  • Honey
  • Alcohol -*I will have some available for sale, if needed
  • Large bowl, cutting board, sharp knife, scale, measuring cup –
    *I’ll have many of these items available for use
  • Glycerine -*I will bring some to share

Age limit: 18 years +

John is passionate about plants… (click for bio)


Stone Age Tools ~ David Holladay

“Tools to Make Tools”

Obsidian core for making simple cutting edges

A week long immersion into the Stone Age… connecting our past to the present by the
production, use and study of pre-metal tools and technologies.

Starting with the earliest tools and using them to slowly work, think, discuss and sing our way to more complex tools.


Using stones to grind things

Bring your heart, mind, muscle and maybe a blister kit and some good leather gloves.

Come immerse yourself into the arts & sciences, combined with a lot of physical education (also known as work).

Age Limit: 10 years +

David’s favorite place is “out of town”… (click for bio)

Become an instructor ‘helper’ for Stone Age Tools ($100 discount)

Tule Boats ~ Caleb Soltau

Tule boat leaving the shore

Take a personal journey into building and using tule boats.

Students will pair and and build a 2 person tule boat from start to finish with emphasis on connecting with the whole experience and getting to know the Tules & Cattails.

  • Understanding harvesting techniques
  • Habitat awareness
    Bigger picture ethics of harvesting, etc.
  • Boat Design
  • Construction techniques and weaving principals development.



Gathering cattails to make “tule” boat

Side projects will emphasize another dimension of:

  • Cordage making using Cattails
  • Using basic hand tools
  • Wood working to split it down and carve canoe paddles.
  • Using the boats for transport and harvest

Age Limit: 10 years +

Caleb’s passion has led him into many wild and wet situations… (click for bio)

Become an instructor ‘helper’ for Tule Boats ($100 discount)

Weaving ~ Margaret Mathewson

“Weaving of the World”

Overview of weaving techniques of the entire world and discussion of different weaving regions all over the globe.

photo credit: highway199

A huge teaching collection will be there to look at….examples, split bamboo, cane, willow, birch, lots of grassy and leafy things, barks, roots, you name it……

Materials from all over the world will be available for people to try out and specific topics taught will depend on what individual students want to learn.

Also include dyes and soft string basketry from all over the world.

Some more funny things participants can do for an “Extreme Weaving Series”

  • Part 1- “Walk out and weave”– an excursion with no tools whatsoever to weave plaited, twined, wicker and/or coiling from whatever there is. Secrets to learn will include splitting and harvesting with no tools. (Students caught with tools that day, will be asked to swim across the lake…..)
  • Part 2- “How tight can you make it?” – a class in watertight close weaves and stable, solid open weaves. Bring a project you would like to improve upon in any style. Materials provided for those without a set project. (Hemorrhoidal cream also provided…..).
  • Part 3- “How small can you make it?” for the truly insane weaver. Make tiny, even, tight weaves of many styles and materials. Material provided. Advanced and quiet students only.
    (I reserve the right to dismiss students for sneezing….)

Materials fee: $5.00-30.00 (depending on project(s) selected)
(to be paid to instructor at event

Age Limit: 13 years +

Margaret works on many aspects of plant and animal fibers… (click for bio)