Earthwork Wilderness Survival Training School | 413-340-1161

Not Just Your Everyday Campfire

tending the fireSo everybody has spent time around a campfire, right? Maybe you roasted marshmallows, shared stories, cooked yummy food and enjoyed the mesmerizing flame.

Perhaps, if we were moths, we would be drawn to it the same way they are.

Take a walk back in time and imagine our ancestors sitting around the campfire. This fire wasn’t just there, filling up the space; it was constantly being in use…in a variety of ways, such as heating up rocks for a sweat lodge ceremony, making pottery and firing the earthen ware clay pot vessels, fire hardening tools, and purifying plants and making them softer and more edible.

During my last trip to Alaska, I had an opportunity to talk in great detail about the symbolism and the detail in the carvings that were created within our ancestors’ own personal bowls. These were not just a means to an end; their artistry was an example of their love, respect and reverence for the creator—very much tied to their spirituality. These bowls were carved or shaped from the coals of fire.

How to Make Your Own Coal-burned Bowl

1-photo 2 (1)In these photographs, we show you the process:

1. Need a fire—not just any fire will do; the fire needs to have embers that will last a long time. This is done using hardwood coals, i.e., maple, birch, beech, etc.

kids cutting wood for bowls2. Need a good strong seasoned price of wood—size is up to you; 5” or 6″ round is a great beginning…pine, cedar, cherry, etc.

3. Need a way to extract coals to place on your bowl blank shows the different details that we do when we teach coal burning.

coal burned spoon4. Need a tool to keep ember in place—this could be something that will not catch fire. A green branch to hold ember to bowl blank until depression forms.

coal burned bowl5. Carefully hold bowl and secure green branch to coals and blow in ember so it begins to burn depression. (Warning: if you get a flame, blow out carefully, or it can crack your bowl.)

6. Replace coals and repeat—when the coal goes out, you simply scrape out the char with stone or a stick and get another ember from the fire and repeat.

Enjoy experimenting with these wilderness skills and add a whole new level to having a campfire.

Knife Safety, Knife Skills

The Skill of the Knife (WS 1)

$45/adult, $25/8+ year old child w/adult (add $10/person if pay day of)

The Skill of the Knife Workshop (for adults, teens & families with children 8 years of age or older): Learn why the Mayan culture called a knife the “tooth of the Earth.” Study basics of knife safety, carving methods, handling a knife, and blade care, including sharpening. And make your own kit!

This is Workshop 1 of our Wilderness Extravaganza (see schedule below)






A Weekend of Wilderness Skills Workshops

Saturday, Sept 24, & Sunday, Sept 25, 2016

5 Workshops (click here for descriptions)! Attend all, some or just one!

Join Frank Grindrod & Earthwork Programs to learn new and practice old wilderness skills.

All Workshops are in Conway, MA

For Adults & Teens; some Workshops are great for Families too!

Saturday, 9/24

9:00-12:00 The Skill of the Knife WS 1  Adults, Teens, Families w/children 8 years+
1:00-4:00 Wild Edibles WS 2 Adults, Teens, Families
5:00-8:00 Primitive Cooking & Wilderness Cuisine WS 3 * Adults, Teens, Families

Sunday, 9/25
9:30-12:30 The Art of Fire WS 4 Adults, Teens, Families
1:30-4:30 Animal Tracking plus BONUS–Bird Language WS 5 Adults, Teens, Families

REGISTER NOW for one, some or ALL!


Bring your field guides, a journal and sense of wonder!

Register for all 5 Workshops, save 10% (prepaid)


tentOpportunity to stay overnight on the land on Saturday night!
* Bring own tent & supplies–$5/person/night
* SOLD OUT (waitlist started) Rustic cabins w/bunkbeds (bring own linens/sleeping bags)–$8/person/night (very limited spots)
Both options have use of the kitchen, showers & toilets

NEED TO REGISTER FOR CAMPING BEFORE SEPTEMBER 18 ( and click REGISTER HERE and select the Camping box; be sure to include how many people)