Monday, April 12, 2010

Ground Stone Family Fun Day

Drilling through slate
Lori and I had a great time at The Rooms yesterday helping kids make ground slate ulus, Thule men's knives and soapstone carvings.  I'm not sure exactly how many people we saw, but I think we had at least 30 or 40 kids and 15 or 20 parents drop by.

Dad's were a big help
For the older kids we had slate blanks and wood handles prepared ahead of time that kids could file, drill, and tie together.  We used bow drills to make the lashing holes in the stone, which was great fun for the dads.  We'll have to keep this program in mind for Father's Day.  

Bow drill and examples that I prepared ahead of time
 Here's a quick clip of the bow drill in action - it can get pretty hot!

Soapstone Plummet
For the younger kids, we had a couple tables of soapstone that they could try carving.  We had a few examples of soapstone artifact reproductions, like a soapstone plummet and some animal carvings, but like Lori said this was more of an "Imagination Table", where kids could experiment and play freely with carving the soft rocks.

Soapstone carving at the Imagination Table
Great Job!
I think everyone was able to take away a project at the end of the day.  It was nice to have an activity that kids could get involved with and dirty.  Flintknapping glass or stone is just a little too sharp for big groups of young kids to attempt in a hands-on way, but the ground stone carving is much safer.  Its perfect for older elementary school age kids.  Its an especially good fit for the grade 5 curriculum in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Frederick and his amazing knives!

Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. I wish I'd gone to that. XD

  2. Thanks, Lori & Tim!
    From a very proud Meemps.

  3. I've been looking into this a bit for NW Alaska. Thought you might like these links.

    Eskimo Bone Bow Drill from Kotzebue, Alaska. 1910 AD.

    Charlie Iyapana 1960

    Looks like the class went well!

  4. It was a good day - definitely something that I'd like to do again.


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