Instructors

Below is a list of the instructors that have either attended before or will be attending this year. This list will get updated regularly.
We owe everything to the instructors, without them, the knowledge, skills and crafts they practice would disappear.

Want to be an instructor?

If you would like to be an instructor and teach at White Rock, please send us an email or use the contact form.


Richard Waters

Richard is the founder of the White Rock Traditional Skills and Crafts Gathering. He has been a yurt maker for over 15 years and made his living selling and renting yurts through his website CampingYurts.com.
He may or may not be teaching a yurt class as it will depend on how crazy it gets organizing the gathering, but if not he’s always available to chat and talk yurts!
Originally from England, where he attended events similar to Primitive Skills Gatherings. There, they are called Green Woodworking or Traditional Woodland Crafts which is a more contemporary version dealing with skills and crafts from the Middle Ages up to the industrial revolution.
Richard lives with his family in Summer Lake, Oregon.


Hari Heath

Hari, a longtime primitive enthusiast, is from Santa, Idaho where he lives and works in the woods. He teaches bow making, paddle carving and making “diddley bows” which is a primitive musical instrument from the plantations.


Jake Hartner

Jake has a bachelor’s Degree in Recreation management from BYUI where he developed his love for the outdoors and the peace it brings. This grew into a career when he started working for the Anasazi foundation in 2009. Since then he has worked as a professional desert guide teaching Ancestral living skills in a therapeutic setting to teens and Adults off and on for the last 10 years. Jake is an accomplished potter and basket maker.    
You can see Jake on season 1 episode 6 of Discovery Chanel’s “Bushcraft Build-Off.”
Jake currently lives in Kanab, Utah with his wife and 3 children where he teaches classes in ancestral skills and works as a Canyoneering guide.

Teaches/Skills:

  • Basketry
  • Primitive Pottery

Daniel Giddings

Daniel originally hails from California’s North Bay Area. He’s a self-confessed general survivalist, and has done everything from firearms/martial arts instruction, EMS and machining to permaculture, wilderness medicine and singing. He works when necessary in the knife industry as a professional sharpener.

He will be running the knife safety and sharpening class (while peddling sharp and shiny things on the side).

He will also be teaching the “Try Stick” which is a simple carving exercise made popular by Mors Kochanski, the father of modern bushcraft. It teaches the major cuts and notches that would be used in building a primitive bushcrafting camp, as well as building practical knife and carving skills. Anyone can make one in a few hours with a simple Mora style carving knife.


Sofia

Sofia is constantly curious with a background in Biology (MSc), art and nature connection (2 year program with Wisdom of the Earth). She loves to make all manner of useful beautiful things with material harvested directly from the earth. She brings with her a wonder for all things alive and a depth to her teaching.

Teaches/Skills:

  • Weaving
  • Natural dyeing
  • Bird language

Estabon Fire

Estabon Fire lives in Oregon. He is a potter and ceramic instructor, specializing in primitively fire pottery and raku pottery. He regularly attends Winter Count and Rabbitstick skill gatherings where he specializes in forming and firing ceramic cooking pots.

Teaches/Skills:

  • Primitive Pottery

Joshua Sage

Primitive skills and outdoor and environmental education has been a part of my life since the mid 70’s. I was fortunate enough to attend the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Colorado, become a NOLS instructor and work for BOSS (Boulder Outdoor Survival School).
My main area of teaching at this point is yurt building and hide tanning but I am a good generalist with never having a knack for knapping. I am a teacher of group facilitation, leadership and communication and have done this for much of my life.
With my wife Kirsten and my sons Kiyota and Tomoki, we host the Winter Count and Sky Earth gatherings. This too is a great privilege.

Teaches/Skills:

  • Hide Tanning
  • Yurt Building
  • Fire Making

Dave Dye

David is more at home in nature than in a building. It could come from his valued Native American ancestry (Walla Walla & Umatilla tribes) or his adventurous Irish / Scottish roots. Or it may simply be that the Spirit of the Ancient Ones is so much more clear amongst the trees of the forest and the red rock deserts; the Spirit which fills his soul.
Born and raised in Montana, he traded the Bitterroots for higher education. Two bachelors, one masters and two doctorates later, it is still the life in the rustic outdoors that offers the better part of living.  With his large family, of course.

Outdoor-related interests include homesteading and primitive living, the atlatl, wooden longbows, kolrosing, the sweat lodge, some metal pounding, and so much more. A hundred lifetimes wouldn’t be enough time to cover the areas of exploration that he has in mind. 
“The more I learn, the more I love being a student.”


Tyler Doyle

Tyler Doyle is a survival skills and primitive skills instructor from Bend, OR. He co founded and teaches at Nighthawk naturalist school and has been teaching wildlife tracking and reading the land for over 10 years. He looks forward to nerding out over animal track and sign with everyone at white rock gathering.


Chelsea Ernst

Chelsea Ernst is a cofounder of Nighthawk Naturalist School in Bend, OR. She teaches wilderness survival and ecology classes for adults and youth. She has enjoyed studying plants and their wonders for all of her life and especially loves diving into their ethnobotanical uses. She loves that no matter how much you learn about the natural world, it can always teach you more and surprise you; shifting your paradigms when you least expect it. She looks forward to teaching and learning with you all at White Rock Gathering!


Sam Farnworth

Hey, Sam here! I’ll be teaching blacksmithing/bladesmithing.
I’ve taught at various gatherings, and professionally do metal work, specifically crafting knives and axes. I’ll be offering several more beginner focused classes, as well as taking a small group to do a more time intensive and advanced class.


Amy Lusson

I’m a holistic health practitioner; farmer and maker. I work on a 26 acre farm in southern Oregon growing, cultivating and seed saving natural and organic produce to feed my community and have a particular love for medicinal herbs. I own an organic cosmetics company with my focus on highly effective and nutritive products.
I love spending my time being in the forest gathering wild plants, needle felting and serving my community in non profits to improve our quality of life. I look forward to walking with you, laughing heartily and learning from each other! 


Jason Jermain

Born and raised in beautiful southern Oregon, Jason has been living off grid for 15+ years learning and experimenting with all kinds of primitive skills, including yurt building, alternative structures, felting, solar ovens and cookers, water heaters, and other fun older technologies.

“Wet felting is my passion and what I would like to to share with those interested in an ancient, fun and creative skill that can bring a sense of great achievement by making something that is both functional and artistic
I can also share some alternative cooking stoves and techniques for those interested.”


Tula

Originally I’m from Israel. I’ve traveled the world and love learning tribal art, plant medicine, local music, and traditional food everywhere I go.
I’ll be teaching old Appalachian style broom making.


Kurt Phillips

I am a long time resident of Klamath Falls, OR, I have been Flintknapping for 30+ years, percussion and pressure. This will be my first Primitive Skills experience but I’ve been demonstrating and teaching for 15 years at numerous varied events.
In addition to Flintknapping I make and compete with traditional bows and flintlock rifles and pistols. I am also a reasonably accomplished in metal crafting, wood crafting, stone work and leather work.



Brian Deglow

My name is Brian Deglow and am a member of the American Mountain Men. I have been interested in Native American Plains history as well as the Mountain Men pre 1840 period for over 30 years. My experience to share is traditional hide painting with primitive materials and application. The paints I use are earth pigments with hide glue to make paint and various primitive tools used such as sticks and bone pain brushes. I will be demonstrating painting on tanned hides as well as the rawhide containers known as parflech and the preparation of the primitive paints.


Ross Westgate

1820’s Fir Trade Era Camp
I will be demonstrating primitive fire making with flint and steel and the bow drill. I will also show my primitive gear and camp items used for my primitive camps, and answer questions about my mountain man camping experiences.


John VanPaepeghem

I am a member of the American Mountain Men. My interest in the pre-1840’s fur trade and Native American Plains history and artwork has been a learning experience for over 40 years. Along with my good friend Brian Deglow, I will share my knowledge in painting on tanned hides and rawhide parfleche containers. We will be using traditional earth pigments and hide glue to make our paint. Also offering talks on tipi furnishings and mountain man lifestyles.


Lily Chau

Originally from Vermont but a Northern California transplant since 2014. Lily is an herbalist, botanical plant dyer, medicine maker and crafter of many things. She will be offering a hands on Intro to Plant Dye and/or talks about Herbal Medicine Making 101 + Intermediary Methods to boost your apothecary with.

  • Bring non-bulky natural fibers you might want to add in the dye pot! Silk, wool, cotton, etc.

Dulcimer Doug

Class: Making a Rocky Mountain Dulcimer
Learn to build your own musical instrument in a day


Aaron Gutierrez

Aaron is a sailing and bushcraft enthusiast fond of teaching young and old tricks with rope and string. When not tangled up with teaching, he is spinning a yarn online or around a fire.

  • Knots and cordage – Basic common knots and a couple uncommon tricks with small diameter cordage.
  • Rope Making – This will be done with a mechanical device using store bought Sisal, but hand rolling with natural cordage will be discussed.
  • Line handling – “Not knot therapy”, we’ll tie that joke in. Basic line handling including coiling, and line tossing.
  • Splicing and Whipping – Make a simple becket that is eye-spliced and whipped. Discourse on uses, and related knots.
  • Basic Storytelling- I will offer some traditional stories for the campfire, but more broadly present the role of storytelling as a central competency for primitive and modern society.

Paul Wagner (#redyetiforge)

I have been practicing and teaching blacksmithing for over 20 years. My focus is on traditional blacksmithing, relying more on hand tools and hammering skill than on elaborate machinery.  I like the feel of hot steel moving under the hammer and I like to make practical items to be enjoyed in daily use that show good craftmanship and graceful design.  I enjoy doing living history demonstrations of blacksmithing practices of the 19th century and before and introducing people to the craft. 
My 3-4 hour class will cover:
How to use a coal forge; and properly heat steel for work;  Blacksmithing tools and their use; basic methods for hammering and shaping steel such as drawing, bending, twisting and cutting as well as finishing; safety and a bit of lore and history of the Smith. Participants will make an item such as a hook, candleholder or similar. Edged tools and knives are beyond the scope of this class. 
I will also plan to do some demonstration forging in the evenings of larger items where folks can watch and discuss blacksmithing practices. 


Ken Peek

Ken is a flintknapping instructor who has been practicing the art of knapping for over 30 years. He was instrumental in organizing the Coyote Hills Knap-In which recently celebrated its 30 anniversary. He has studied under a number of stellar knappers including Craig Ratzat, Larry Kinsella and Greg Nunn, and has taught knapping classes at numerous traditional skill gatherings including Rabbitstick, WinterCount, Buckeye and Acorn. He has made arrowheads, spear points, knives and blades from many types of stone, primarily those found in the West such as obsidian and various cherts. Ken lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a fifth generation Californian. 


Sydnee Galstaun

Sydnee is passionate about connecting others with skills that allow for co-creation with one’s natural environment. Her chosen craft is often wet feltmaking, in which she creates functional and beautiful pieces from locally sourced raw animal fiber. She has been practicing and teaching this craft for four years.
With a preference to working as closely as possible with the raw fiber, she mostly forgoes special tools and fancy techniques, and instead opts for honoring the simple yet enduring core technique of this ancient art: raw wool, moisture, and agitation using her hands and body. It is through her simple approach that she hopes to make this craft accessible and practical for everyone.


Dr. Dennis L. Jenkins

Dennis Jenkins recently retired as a Senior Research Archaeologist for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon where he received his PhD in 1991. He taught and directed the UO’s Northern Great Basin archaeological field school in the Fort Rock, Chewaucan, and Harney basins of Oregon and the Snake River Plain in Idaho from 1989 to 2022.

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Jenkins’ research focuses on the first colonization of the Americas. When did people arrive, by what method, and direction? Who were they? What was their life like? He has also investigated obsidian sourcing and hydration, prehistoric shell bead trade, and settlement-subsistence patterns of the Northern Great Basin for 37 years. He has conducted more than 100 site investigations throughout his career, authored and co-authored 11 books, >80 chapters, articles, reviews, professional reports, and contributions to reports, and given >80 papers at professional meetings. Most recently, he has been involved in the internationally recognized recovery of ancient human DNA from coprolites (dried feces) dating to 14,500 years. He established the contemporaneity of Western Stemmed projectile points at the Paisley Caves with Clovis technology (~13,000 year old), co-authoring 6 articles in the World’s most prestigious scientific journals Science and Nature, made appearances in 11 TV documentaries, and has had his work profiled in more than 50 newspaper and magazine articles including Parade magazine and New Yorker. In retirement, he is completing the Paisley Caves monograph titled “Archaeology and Science at the Paisley Caves”.


Michael “Clutch” Lambert

Clutch will be working with the youth as he does at various gatherings. He loves all things traditional and primitive but focuses on skills to do hunting, trapping and fishing. Clutch has a background in conservation and in wilderness therapy. He is the owner of Thunderstone Wilderness Ventures where he and his wife instruct, make videos and sell primitive inspired shirts and stickers. He lives with his family off grid near Mount Lassen in Northern California.


Audie Trautman

I have been interested in basic living skills since I was about thirteen years old. I got a little more serious in Highschool when I read some inspirational books. I took my first real classes when I was twenty, and have continued learning and improving my skills/knowledge ever since. I am working on being able to make everything I need to survive in wild places.
Looking forward to passing on some knowledge at White Rock, in the form of shoe and leather water bottle making (see photo), I hope to see you there.


Scott Neal

Scott began his journey in traditional skills 3 years ago. During this time, he has been a student at Night Hawk Naturalist School in Bend, Oregon. The ancient skills he learned have become his passion. Some of Scott’s favorite crafts are flint knapping, bow and arrow making, atlatl and friction fire. In his free time you will find him in his shop crafting, hiking in the desert looking for tracks and identifying plants or furthering his education taking many classes. This will be Scott’s first year at the White Rock Gathering and he is looking forward to sharing and learning skills with new friends.


Nicole Apelian, Ph.D.

Dr. Nicole Apelian is an herbalist, a biologist, an author, an anthropologist, a wilderness skills instructor, and a mother. Nicole was a challenger on the second and fifth seasons of the History Channel’s TV series “Alone”, where she thrived in the wilderness totally solo with little more than her knife and her wits, and was also on the UK Channel 4 documentary series “Surviving the Stone Age”. She is the author of five books, including “The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies: The Healing Power of Plant Medicine”, The Wilderness Long-Term Survival Guide, Forgotten Skills to Make the Wild Your Home, “The Forager’s Guide to Wild Foods: Edible Plants, Lichens, Mushrooms, and Seaweeds” and The Holistic Guide to Wellness; Herbal Protocols for Common Ailments.

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An unexpected diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2000 led Nicole to apply her scientific research skills towards her own personal wellness. She focuses on a healthy living strategy, including deep nature connection and gratitude practices. Through changes in her lifestyle & diet, recognizing profound mind-body linkages, and making and using her own herbal remedies, Nicole went from bedridden to being fully alive and from surviving to thriving.

She has spent years living in nature with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, one of the last Indigenous peoples who still live as hunter-gatherers. Developing strong relationships within the tribe helped Nicole learn many of the remedies and skills she practices and teaches today and she continues her work with the San through her non-profit, “The Origins Project”.

At home in the Pacific Northwest, she makes her own herbal medicines from local plants as part of her healthy living strategy, especially as related to autoimmune issues, and has her own herbal medicinal apothecary line.

Find out more about Nicole at www.nicoleapelian.com.


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