An Earthskills Rendezvous History

Earthskills Mission

Supporting sustainable lifestyles through educational gatherings, practicing experiential archaeology, primitive technology, and bioecology.

Core Values

Respect for all people, Honesty in all relationships, Selflessness in community, and Happiness and Laughter


Earthskills Rendezvous was founded in 1985 by Robert Slack, Jr., Stephen "Snow Bear" Taylor and Darry Wood. They began the gathering to preserve and promote indigenous primitive skills like making white oak baskets, foraging for wild food, starting fire by friction and tanning deer skins with brains and smoke. The three founders eventually invited their Cherokee friends to come share their living traditions of baskets and pottery, weapons and music. From these elders they learned many wonderful things, not the least of which is about being both humble and good-humored.

Many instructors come to 'Rendezvous' to teach us ways an incredible array of skills.  We make fire, which is the basic tool we use to light and heat our camp, cook our deer, harden our clay pots, straighten our blowguns and a long list of essential things. We make incredibly functional and beautiful tools, from stone & bone, wood and steel; shelters and musical instruments; cordage and felt; traps and snares; atlatls and spears; bows and arrows. We practice stalking and tracking skills, primitive fishing, native fiber arts, belly dancing and so much more. For over 30 years, we have convened this modern village, with people coming from all across the United States and other countries as well.  During each day, one may wander the camp and find over a dozen instructional sessions going at once; then at night, there are glorious campfires, with story telling, singing and dancing. 


Our focus is to provide top quality primitive skills classes instructed by experienced professional primitive technologists. It could be said that primitive skills are not primitive at all and that to master even one skill is a lifetime goal for most people. Our ancestors practiced these skills in order to survive and did so from a very early age. However, if there are indeed any skills that could be considered truly "primitive" they would be the ability to make fire, twist fiber and shape flint. It is largely the essence of these skills which are combined to produce all others and are essential ingredients to life from the paleolithic. This is why time is taken at the very beginning of each event to address these core skills, and they are offered as the foundation for many classes throughout the week. Each evening there is a chance to experience ancestral life ways by attending the council fire where the ancient art of storytelling is revived or dancing to the rhythm of drum, didgeridoo, and other primal instruments played by top quality musicians. This list is representative of some of the skills you can expect to study at Earthskills Rendezvous.

  • Fire making
  • Open Hearth Cooking
  • Pottery
  • Blacksmithing
  • Flintknapping
  • Bone and Antler Tools
  • Stone Tools
  • Weaving and Textiles
  • Cordage and Twining
  • Netting
  • Basketry
  • Knots
  • Knife Sharpening
  • Nature Awareness
  • Edible and Medicinal Plant Harvesting
  • Slings
  • Bolas
  • Rabbit-sticks
  • Bows and Arrows
  • Atl-atls and Darts
  • Treen
  • Traps and Snares
  • Spears
  • Primitive Cookery
  • Soap making
  • Natural Dyes
  • Useful Wild Plants
  • Pitch Sticks
  • Primitive Shelters/Structures
  • Blowguns
  • Indigenous Musical Instruments
  • Hide Tanning
  • Clothing and Adornments
  • Moccasin making
  • Tribal Life
  • Tribal Games and Sports
  • Tracking and Stalking
  • Sustainability

Earthskills Rendezvous, Inc. is now a 501c3 non-profit organization.  All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.


At Rendezvous, we like to welcome the well-behaved canine companions of our participants, instructors, staff, and worktraders.  We know these animals are important members of your family, so we like to make space for them. Still, please keep in mind that having your pet attend the event with you is a privilege.  If you and your dog are unable or unwilling to abide by our doggie rules, you may be asked to remove your dog from the premises.


-LEASH + YOU.  Please have your dog on a leash at all times.  The other end of the leash is attached to a person.  (Or attached to a tree near their owner.) Please stay with your dog.  No dogs wandering around without their people.

-NOISE.  No howling dogs.  Especially no howling dogs left alone in camp for hours, please.  It is really unpleasant for your neighbors, and probably for your dog as well.  If your dog is a howler, maybe Rendezvous isn't the place to bring it.

-AGGRESSION. Limit dog on dog aggression and no dog on person attacks!  If your dog is aggressive, please be vigilant and proactive to prevent any drama, or do not bring your dog.

-POOP.  Pick up pup poop.  Clean grass for all our barefoot folks and their hand-made things.  Bring bags to capture, contain, and dispose of your pet’s excrement promptly.  Right after the poop hits the ground, you should be bagging it.


If your dog is bothering someone, we encourage them to come talk to you and try to resolve the issue.  So please be open to people approaching you to discuss your dog’s behavior.

If someone’s dog’s behavior is bothering you, please gently and respectfully approach the dog owner and let them know how you would like to see things change.  Help them help you. If that fails or if you feel uncomfortable approaching that person, then please report dog issues to the Event Coordinator.


STRIKE 1 - First the owner gets a warning to reel their dog in.  Event participants have complained about your dog’s behavior. Please take action to correct this behavior.

STRIKE 2 - Second the owner gets informed that their dog is continuing to cause issues.  This is your last chance to correct your canine companions behavior. If we have to ask again, we'll ask you to remove your dog from the event site.   

STRIKE 3 - Third, the owner gets asked to remove their dog from the event site now. The person can stay, but the dog cannot.  There are several local dog boarding options in the Seneca, SC area. Some are listed below. The owner is responsible for all costs incurred for boarding their pet offsite.

Local Dog Boarding Options

Foolish Heart Farm.  864-972-3678

Garrett’s Pet Ranch Grooming & Boarding. 864-933-4901

The Pet Spa.  864-710-0277

DogVacay (local in-home dog-sitting options)

*Please note that many kennels have limited drop-off and pick-up times.


For more information, please contact us.