Traditional bow-building workshop winds down

  • Feb. 16, 2015 6:00 p.m.

By Adam DurrantSpecial to the Observer A wildly successful program teaching the craft of bow building came to a close in Old Massett Feb. 6.Skidegate-based Archer Arts donated its time, equipment, materials, and instruction for workshops and one-on-one tuition in a wide variety of skills, including bow building, arrow making, leather works, forging, bushcraft, sharpening, sculpting, carving, glass blowing and music.Old Masset Workshop Program was supported by Gwaii Trust, with grants applied for by Vernon Williams and supported by Harmony Williams and Christian White to provide free workshops for the youth and people of Old Massett.In the course of the program, which ran from Jan. 12 to Feb. 6, participants completed nine bows of birch and hawthorn woods, made the traditional way with handmade bowstrings and fur silencers.More than 20 arrows were completed with instruction for making your own. More than 10 people also participated in flint knapping, producing stone knives and arrow heads from flint, obsidian, and other materials. Many also tried their hand at leather work, learning leather tooling and tool construction while producing their own arm guards.Thanks to the grant from Gwaii Trust, Archer Arts moved the 50-foot mobile workshop to Old Massett, where it has been parked outside Tluu Xaada Nay, Christian White’s longhouse. The enthusiasm and dedication of participants in the workshop exceeded all expectations and although this caused 18 to 20 hours all night working sessions for the staff at Archer Arts, the results are shown in the beautiful, functional art produced and in the satisfaction of participant’s faces when their long effort pays off.The organizers extend their thanks to Gwaii Trust for supporting this workshop, Vernon Williams for applying, Harmony Williams for letter of support, Christian White for the letter of support and the kind use of his longhouse. Thanks also go to Lisa White and the rest of Old Massett for supporting Archer Arts staff with wonderful meals.

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