Communities Craft Arts Heritage

Women’s Wilderness Workshops Cultivate Deep Connection to Earth

Pottery workshop. Photo courtesy of Women’s Wilderness Workshops

By Belle Crawford

Women’s Wilderness Workshops, a weekend gathering focusing on primitive skills and nurturing relationships between participants and with the Earth, will take place Wednesday through Sunday, August 9–13, at Camp Daniel Boone in Canton.

“After teaching Women’s Fire by Friction classes for a few years, I routinely heard from women who desired to learn this skill,” says Christina Gordon, Women’s Wilderness Workshops coordinator. “I wondered how many other classes or skills women were missing out on.” As a female farmer and teacher of Brain-Tanning Deerskins and Primitive Skills, Gordon decided it was time to create a place where women could learn these skills in a safe, competent and supportive environment surrounded and taught by other women.

“I feel strongly that learning a basic skill speaks to a deep place in the soul of all people,” says Gordon. “These skills connect all of humanity since all of our ancestors practiced them. Learning these skills allows one to slow down, find gratitude for the ease of flipping a light switch or glimpse what humans have had to do to survive for many thousands of years.”

Women’s Wilderness Workshops started four years ago and has around 80-85 women join each year. The vision of the five-day event is to empower women by strengthening connections between them and with the natural cycles of the Earth. Classes offered this year include Spinning and Fiber Arts, Felting Raw Wool, Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants, Tincture Making, Buckskin and Leather Working, Food Fermentation, Star Gazing and numerous other skills and crafts.

Gordon says she’d like to see the program grow to offer funding for those who may need financial assistance. “I’d like to offer scholarships through donations,” she says, “to reach women who may have never been camping because they did not know how and give them that experience.”

This year participants will have the option to spend more time on a particular skill and develop in-depth knowledge of a single focus, like sandal making. The Tea Party, a ceremonious event honoring the healing and nutritive properties of plants, and involving music making and celebration, will expand to be a longer affair than it has been in previous years.

A typical day at the Women’s Wilderness Workshop begins with Early Morning Yoga located at the Healing Arts Pavilion followed by breakfast in Camp Daniel Boone’s dining hall. Classes run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with breaks for rest and food. Each evening offers time for dancing around the fire, drumming, storytelling and singing.

All participants are provided a tent and small cabins are available for those who prefer sleeping on a bed. Other creature comforts include showers, flushable toilets and drinking spigots. Meals during the weekend will be omnivorous and locally sourced with gluten-free options available.

Camp Daniel Boone is located at 3647 Little East Fork Road in Canton. Tickets are $395 for adults and $365 for youth ages 9–15; those age 8 and under are admitted free. Find out more about Women’s Wilderness Workshops at or by calling 770.893.1616.

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