The traditional Buckeye Week and traditional Pathways Week are taking a Chrysalis year off for fire recovery and organizational revisioning. For info on what will be happening this year click here

Stone tools making class

Offering a Deeper Dive…

The Buckeye Gathering grew over the years and a new offering naturally emerged; Pathways is a deeper dive into a smaller village experience, in which you choose one class to jump into for five full days.  We have invited an incredible bunch of teachers to share their immense knowledge and expertise with us.  Much different than the Buckeye Week, you actually find the class that will be your focus, and register specifically for that Pathway.  See 2018 descriptions below.   

Beyond the classes, Pathways has only a third of folks on site, and entirely new possibilities for relating and creating our village.  Be part of an emergent culture, cross-pollinate, share stories and song in a more intimate setting throughout the Pathways Week.

In 2016, we gave this new formation it’s first go, and are delighted to offer it for a third time.  For years, the Slickrock gathering has been doing something similar in May in Utah.  Thanks for sharing the name ‘Pathways’ and the model!  Join us for Buckeye Week, Pathways Week, or both!

Using stones to grind things.

New Possibilities

We learned a lot in our first experimental years, and we are still playing out new possibilities.  There will be emergent properties, so come prepared to go with the flow and have some easy-going fun as we learn what this new aspect of village calls for.  There are many overlapping aspects with Buckeye Week and Pathways Week.  For instance, we will feed you breakfast and dinner, you bring your own lunch. A major difference is there will be no more than 200 folks onsite, and less overall activity than the Buckeye week.  We will have a small Youth Camp, as well as other delightful offerings and surprises along the way.

A Pivotal Moment in our Growth

Let’s just see how this 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 through 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.

Registration for 2019 will open in early March

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.  Below you can see some details on what we have so far.

Arrival is May 8, and five full days of classes begin the next day.  Camp will close and disperse on May 14.

64 is the age we are counting as “Senior.”

Find a Ride/Ticketshare to the Gathering.

Youth Camp

Though only some of the Pathways are open to youth who are attending with parents, we like keeping all ages in our village setting.  Youth Camp includes 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.

Last years classes:

Our 2018 Pathways instructors. 

  • Weaving ~ Margaret Mathewson     
  • Osage Bow Making ~ Paul Rodgers 
  • Stone Age Tools ~ David Holladay
  • Braintanning Buckskin ~ Jay Sliwa  
  • Fine Pomo Basketry ~ Corine Pearce  
  • Track & Sign: “Where Do you Live?” ~ Meghan Walla-Murphy  
  • Blacksmithing ~ Bryce Wood   
  • Green Woodworking ~ Kiko Denzer 
  • Twisted Fiber Intensive ~ Tamara Wilder 
  • Primitive Pottery ~ Kelly Magleby & John Olsen
  • Sew & Tailor: Buckskin Revolution ~ Woniya Thibeault
  • Plant Medicine ~ John Slattery   
  • All Things Tule ~ Dino Labiste   


Tule Ethnobotany ~ Dino LabisteI

“All Things Tule”

Dense patches of tule rise like forests of green spikes from wetlands or areas of seasonal flooding. Once you recognize the genus, you will see them everywhere. Come and explore the world of Tule Ethnobotany. We’ll learn what makes tule, a large bulrush that is abundant in marshy areas of California and all over North America, such a versatile and practical plant for cultural uses. Tule was made into baskets, mats, dolls & toys, boats, slings, duck decoys, sandals, thatched houses, visors and clothing. Even the rhizomes, a continuously growing horizontal underground root, was eaten.

In this weeklong immersion you’ll learn:

-The botany of tule. How to identify the genus and where tule grows.

-How and when to gather, dry and prepare tule for a particular purpose.

-Twining techniques

-Making cultural items out of tule: mat, visor, sandal, basket, model boat and other utilitarian uses.

-Incorporating tule into educational programs, teaching traditional skills, school curriculum and conservation.

You learn by observing, deducing and applying, which leads to a deeper understanding and respect of tule and the environment. Come and join me on an adventure of learning and a relationship with our natural world. Start your journey with “shoshin”, a beginner’s mind. Knowledge is not complete until it is passed on.

Materials fee: $9

Age Limit: 16+

Helping people develop an interconnection with our natural world and our past history has been a passion for Dino Labiste. He works as a Naturalist for a regional park. Dino has written articles for the “Bulletin of Primitive Technology” periodical. He has taught workshops and presented demonstrations of indigenous skills at museums, regional/state/national parks, native communities, universities and traditional skills gatherings. Dino is one of the co-founders of the website called


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.

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.

Willow, Redbud, Sedge and Basketgrass

Materials Fee: $100 for the average weaver, includes an awl
(to be paid to instructor at event)

Class Size: 10 person limit

Age Limit: 17 years +

Corine Pearce is a Pomo basket weaver with ancestry from Lake and Mendocino counties.  Corine began weaving at the age of 9 and has over 30 years experience specializing in the many varied styles and techniques perfected by the Pomo people including twine, coil, cradle and gift baskets.

In an effort to preserve this rich skill and heritage, Corine has decided to share the knowledge in hopes that others will come to love and appreciate the beautiful art, dedicated skill and the important environmental impact of Native basketry.

Plant Medicine ~ John Slattery 

“Becoming a Bioregional Herbalist”

Learning to become a bioregional herbalist is as simple as going for a walk. Again, and again. Deep connection through continued observation is the foundation for a bioregional herbalist. 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. 

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.

In this 5-day workshop we’ll explore the fundamental aspects of becoming a bioregional herbalist: developing relationship with place and the plants within it. This endeavor leads us to the study of field botany, respectful wild-crafting 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.

Brodeia bulb and flower

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

Southwest Foraging by John Slattery

I consider myself a bioregional herbalist helping people develop authentic relationships with wild plants. Beginning with a relationship to place, one can go deeply into the knowledge of one’s local plants for food and medicine, even with very limited access to third party educational resources (e.g. teachers, books, studies, etc.). Because I see our current system enrapt with the phenomena of the reductive scientific paradigm, I feel it’s essential we come to exercise and embrace the unspoken “feeling sense” which connects us to all living things and delivers knowledge directly from the ‘heart’ of the matter.

Through my exposure to various indigenous cultures throughout the Americas, and, in particular, within my bioregion in the Sonoran desert (and surrounding areas), and engaging in deep relationship with the place and its plants, I have been developing an approach to becoming a bioregional herbalist which incorporates a holistic 4-directional model of healing. I’m excited to share my experiences, help guide others along this path of infinite knowledge and discovery, and encourage those who are called to find their particular path on the ‘green road of self-knowledge’.

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

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 included will be dyes and soft string basketry from all over the world.


  • 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 ambitious 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: $40 – $60

Age Limit: 13 years +

Margaret Mathewson

Margaret Mathewson has been a student of basketry and weaving of the world since the early 80’s.  

She works privately for universities, museums and indigenous tribes, on many aspects of plant and animal fibers, foods and other traditional skills.



Osage Bow Making ~ Paul Rodgers

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
  •  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: $140

Class Size: 12 person limit

Age Limit: 18 years +

2 persons between 16-18 will be accepted, to be OK’d by Paul in advance


New for 2018: Paul has a limited selection of top quality Pacific Yew bow staves available for an additional fee

Paul Rodgers has been a woodworker all of his adult life. With decades of experience as a primitive bowyer, he has made more than a thousand bows of varying designs, always striving to learn something new each time.

Some of his bows can be found in the Traditional Bowyer’s Bible, as well as in museums. He is passionate about bow making and especially enjoys teaching the skill to others.

In addition to teaching, Paul cuts his own trees and sells bow staves to the public.

Paul, Melissa & Gypsy Wagon

He and his wife Melissa travel to various primitive skills gatherings in their Gypsy wagon, where they both teach.

Phone: (925) 550-4759




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 B. Holladay was born in 1956, when the atomic age was in full swing. He was a first grader when he saw his first Clovis point, was deeply impressed that it was beautiful art and at that moment committed to be an artist. From his youth he has been blessed to work, travel and camp out for long, extended adventures from the Arctic Circle to Central America.

David Holladay

Of all of these places, his favorite is “out of town.” David was/is always asking himself and parents and teachers and friends & how did we do things before we had what we now have?” His love for the natural world/universe and his concern for our headlong dive into the “techno” future began his search for a slower and more fulfilling life way. So he decided to major in “being in love with living free” with a minor in “rocks, sticks and bones.” Or in other words, an organic education majoring in all Sciences and Humanities, with a special focus on archaeology and its connections with geology, botany, zoology and anthropology.

David says “a special thank you” to his first grade teacher Mona Dayton, Larry Olsen and David Wescott and all other educators who continue to keep the experiential education form of schooling and learning alive. Please come help David to continue his education.

Twisted Fiber Intensive ~ Tamara Wilder

Immerse yourself in the world of plant & animal fibers.

Learn all about native & naturalized plants, discuss the processing and characteristics of fibers in general, extract fibers from a variety of sources, and learn ways those fibers are used to make string, ropes, nets, belts and much more.

It’s all about the energy of the twist!  In this intensive week, we will explore the different aspects of what makes this essential craft work, how people figured it out by observing natural phenomenon and the many ways that this knowledge can be applied to create beautiful and durable products that have been pillars of our existence for tens of thousands of years.  This week also includes: three ply string, knotless & knotted netting, net-making tools, cordage weaving techniques, cardweaving, ropemaking and much more.

Materials Fee: $50

Age Limit: 10 without a parent, 7 with a parent

Tamara Wilder became fascinated by ancient living skills in 1989 when she first attended the Glass Buttes Knap In and Rabbitstick Skills Gatherings.  She was “hooked” and immersed herself completely in practicing skills in the mountains outside Santa Cruz with only a bicycle and feet for transportation.  In those first years she feels blessed to have met and become close with numerous friends and mentors.

Ever since, she has been dedicating her life to enjoying, learning, researching, experimenting with, writing about and teaching Paleo Technologies through a variety of programs, workshops & demonstrations on a range of skill topics at a plethora of locations through her company Paleotechnics: Arts & Technologies of Earth Peoples.  Her main offerings are currently her Ancient Living Skills Overview Programs. 

More info can be found:

Website, facebook page and Blog 


Primitive Pottery ~ Kelly Magleby & John Olsen

We will get in-depth with all the steps in the process of pottery making, from finding and processing clay from the land, to shaping, painting with plant and earth pigments and different ways to fire.

$25 materials fee

Class Size: Up to 10

Age Limit: 15 on their own, 8 with a guardian

Kelly Magleby is a primitive potter and who is inspired by the ceramic art of the southwest, particularly of the ancient Anasazi culture. She has been traveling and teaching pottery for seven years with a focus on how various landscapes shape culture, art and design.  Kelly is interested in promoting clay as a path to re-connect to the earth using all the elements.

Kelly currently lives in Orem, Utah with her two daughters, and an assortment of animal friends. 

John Olsen is a prehistoric pottery enthusiast. He worked as an archeologist for many years. His interest in pottery began in high school and continued into college, where he majored in ceramics. He taught himself traditional pottery through experimenting. John is also an archaeologist, large machine operator, and goldworker, specializing in prehistoric metallurgy. He has not only mastered the art of pottery replication, but also flint-knapping, anasazi masonry and many other traditional and ancient skills.  He joins us at Buckeye as one of the masters of his craft. And, of the ancestral arts. 

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 Nastasha

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

Age limit: 12 years +

Jay Sliwa cutting buckskin

Jay Sliwa grew up on a ranch on the Northern California coast where for many years he has cultivated a deep connection to the land through extensive seasonal foraging and wanderings, striving always to find ways to live closer to the beautiful wild places he calls home.

Jay has been honing his skills as a hide tanner and teacher for 20 years. originally learning through trail and error then apprenticing with his friends and mentors Doug “Digger”Crist, Sunny Baba, Sheome Rose, and others, Jay then moved on to teach brain tanning at many of the primitive skills gatherings around the western states and at his home. Jay now supports himself mostly as a brain tanner and leather crafter.

Most importantly, he shares with his students his deep love and gratitude for the Deer people.

Email: (please also text Jay to notify about any emails sent)

Phone/Text: (707) 889-2941

“Where Do you Live?” ~ Meghan Walla-Murphy 

How Tracks, Signs, and Pattern Literacy Helps You to Better Understand Your Home

I am excited to welcome you to a weeklong intensive of animal tracking, behavior, ecology, and animal medicine. Unlike a one day class, this in-depth multi-day exploration of track and sign will build your pattern literacy and offer skills on how to read a landscape. As we explore the stories left on the landscape by the animals, you will learn the tools that will allow you to answer your tracking questions on your own, regardless of where you call home.  

Daily practices include:

  • Story
  • Journaling
  • Research 
  • Mapping
  • Bird Language
  • Trailing
  • Sensory Awareness
  • Track Plates
  • Wildlife cameras
  • Gaits
  • Ageing Tracks
  • Baseline behaviors
  • Tracking in Wildlife conservation 

After more than 20 years of the deeply practicing the art of tracking, I have come to understand that tracking my internal landscape is as important as reading my external landscape. More often than not the patterns we see ecologically mirror our internal landscapes, whether it is in the intimacy of our family unit or in a larger cultural context. While we immerse ourselves in practical dirt time, we will also look at tracking as a metaphor for emotional, political and social patterns. 

By the end of our time together we will each walk away with not only a better understanding of Lake Concow and its many animal species, but also with the knowledge to establish this same Sense of Place both externally and internally, where ever you may call home. 

As a wildlife ecologist, author, and an educator of both young people and adults I am often asked, “what is the most important way to ‘show up’ during this interesting and inspiring environmentally, socially, and  politically wrought time?” I too have asked myself this question and pondered it deeply. And the bit of action I keep returning too is this… To know one bit of land deeply and well over a long period of time. For when we can create empathy for something as Other as a lizard, a Muslim or Republican becomes far less scary and much more approachable.  I believe our work right now is to create relationships, to embrace the Other, and bridge the differences. 

Because of this deep belief of being in relationship with things other than Humans, I have spent the past 20 years dedicating myself to the art of wildlife tracking. This dedication has now become the lens through which I see my world, allowing me to have great tolerance for those people and moments that are uncomfortable. It has also given me the skills to read a landscape, better understand ecology, and apply these to conservation and social justice challenges in my community. During Pathways, I look forward to sharing my tracking story and also learning from you. For more details about my path, visit

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

Using an anvil

Age limit: 16-year-olds may attend by themselves with parental consent

Bryce Wood studies and practices a pared down, minimalist approach to blacksmithing.  He strives to craft lightweight edged tools, with clean utilitarian form, valued by hunter-gatherers, past, present and future.


Green Woodworking ~ Kiko Denzer 

In this Green Woodworking intensive Kiko Denzer will teach you to make all kinds of practical household items from green wood: chopsticks, butter spreaders, cutting boards, limb hooks, eating spoons, ladles, spatulas and other cooking utensils as well as shrink boxes (canisters made from hollowed whole branches), small cups, and bowls. We’ll also cover basic decorative techniques, including chip carving, kolrosing, 3-d sculpture, paints, and oil finishes. 

Mora blade 106

Class will include discussion, demonstrations, and practice. We’ll cover tools, knife and axe technique, use of the froe for splitting and dividing timber into useable lumber, shave horse and draw knife, the dynamics of wood, grain and shrinkage, sharpening theory and practice, and design. As I will only be able to bring one lathe, I will demonstrate basic bowl-turning technique, and then we’ll arrange for interested students to take turns trying it out. 

Kiko using one of his foot pumped lathes. 

Materials to bring: Mora Blade 106 or something close, preferably w/a Scandinavian grind and any other hand tools you’d like to bring — especially a carving hatchet.

Class size: 8-10

Age Limit: 13+ years; younger children need to confer with Kiko before registering.  Email Kiko at to ask about your younger child’s participation.




Buckskin Revolution ~ Woniya Thibault

Sew and Tailor with Buckskin

This class will be a deep dive into the world of brain tanned buckskin. Our aim will be to learn about not just the material, but the deer themselves and how we live into our own skin and clothing. We will work to understand the variability between different hides and within one hide, what this has to tell us about the lives of the deer, and how to work within this variability to make the best clothing from it. We will discuss pattern making and layout, different seams and stitches, shaping and design. Students will begin with a small project to learn basic techniques and stitches and then have the opportunity to start a larger garment of their choice with support in pattern making, stitch selection and more. Buckskin is not provided so students must bring or purchase their own hides for the class.

Materials Fee: $40: handmade awl, buckskin scissors, come with class.  Other tools available for use.  Buckskin hides not included.

Class Size: Up to 10

Age Limit: 14 

Brain tanned buckskin has been a passion for me since 1995, when I attended my first primitive skills gathering, Rabbitstick Rendezvous in Rexburg, Idaho. My week there changed the course of my life. Always fascinated by the natural world and a student of biology and botany, the skills taught at the gathering resonated with me deeply. Here was an opportunity not just to study the natural world, but to interact with it in a meaningful way. To have it literally form the substance of my life. Tanning and working with buckskin were perhaps the most compelling of all of the skills I saw presented. I vowed to one day make myself a full set of buckskin clothing.