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Dismember December

Esmont, Virginia

(20 min South of Charlottesville)

Month-Long Roadkill, Butchering, & Tanning Camp

2022

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*camp & learn

*skinning & butchering

*pressure canning & drying deer meat

*hide tanning

*fat rendering

*processing sinew, hocks, hooves, gut, antler

*rawhide crafting

*leatherwork & hide garment construction

*fur spinning & fiber arts

*bone tool making

*solstice magic

*fire

*songs

*tallow candle-making

*grief/ death

*cooking & celebrating with good food

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More info: StormsofDaylight.com/dismember-december-2022

This is a camp of a core group of tanners & animists during the Solstice month, to communally process & preserve large quantities of meat, fat, & hides, mainly from roadkill deer & butcher's scraps, & practice dismemberment arts. It's an old fashioned circle of love, where tasks are shared as animal bodies are unfolded over the weeks, processing every usable part (hide, meat, fat, organs, sinew, bone, gut, hoof, hock, etc.), food is cooked round the clock, and life revolves around a burning wood stove, daily work, songs, sharing stories, craftwork, & learning from each other. 

 

Main activities will focus on preserving deer meat (by pressure canning & drying), rendering large quantities of fat, tanning hides, & detailed craftwork. As well as picking up & processing roadkill of all species, skinning, butchering, meat aging, bone craft, working with sinew, gut, hoof, hock, fur fiber processing & spinning, tallow candle making, hide garment construction & other leather crafting, rawhide crafting, & more.

Camp Lead

she/they

Willa Moore

Camp Lead

she/they

Nicole/ Bobe

Camp Host

she/they

Soizic

Part Time

she/her

Joan Kovach

Part Time

they/them

Want to come learn?

Better than a class, come simply immerse (for a day, a week, or the whole month). And have the opportunity to learn hands-on from tanners & dismemberers with different skills, perspectives, and focuses. There is no curriculum but the animals themselves, whose bodies are the teachers every day. Come for one particular skill or to engage in whatever work is at hand. If you are coming to learn tanning in particular, know that this entails long processes, and may require many days, or weeks to follow through the whole process with a hide. You can also bring your unfinished tanning projects or leatherworking projects or garment making projects or other crafts for troubleshooting, new ideas & perspectives, & the joy of communal crafting time. 

Lyrra Magda

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Dismember December

Month-Long Roadkill, Butchering, & Tanning Camp

2022

Esmont, Virginia

*come camp & learn

*skinning & butchering

*pressure canning & drying deer meat

*hide tanning

*processing sinew, hocks, hooves, gut, antler

*rawhide crafting

*leather crafting & hide garments

*fiber arts

*fire

*fat rendering

*songs

More about the gift economy:

Core camp members will be supplying bulk materials like flats of canning ball jars, pressure cookers, electric slow cookers, meat grinders, purchased bulk local fat, hide fleshing beams, hide softening frames, extra tools like fleshers & knives, knife sharpeners, buckets, pots, firewood, bulk hide salt, hide softening oil, bulk wood ash for tanning, & more. If you come to pressure can meat or render fat, please make contributions towards the cost of ball jars and/or fat. 

If you are coming intending to do hide tanning, we encourage you to bring materials like wood ash, bags of plant tannins (if you want to do vegetable tanning), buckets, pots, bulk salt (if you are wanting to store & preserve hides without tanning), & any tanning tools you have. 

Donations of firewood (or money towards firewood) are also highly welcomed. 

 

Participants are welcomed to donate to the camp based upon your means, how long you stay at the camp, & your use of materials. These donations help to make this camp possible, to cover costs of materials, & to support the round-the-clock work of the core camp members who will be donating over a month of their labor to run this camp. Lyrra & Willa will also be available for the entire duration of the camp for instruction & mentoring. Participant donations can be in the form of cash, food, materials, or tools.

More questions about the camp gift economy? Email Lyrra at StormsofDaylight@gmail.com

On Grief & Death:

Grief & the full spectrum of emotion are welcome at this camp. In fact, you may consider grief & all else that you are carrying during these darkest days of the year, as an offering you can bring. During this Solstice month, surrounded by those who are dead & a landscape that is dormant & sleeping, grief may arise, and we will be here to embrace it. As well are we here to touch & abide in the mystery of that strange light that lives within death & darkness. Dismemberment & tanning arts are, above all, alchemies of death & transformation.

 

If you would like to bring gifts or other offerings, for the fire, for the animals, for the land, or for your own heart, those things are all very welcome. This is not just a skills class. You are invited to be slow, & to spend time with the dead ones in whatever way you feel called to. We are not here to just hack things up. We are here to grieve as well the very existence of (& access to) roadkill in this culture, & the reasons for it: white supremacy, colonization, industrialization, capitalism, & US empire. 

While we come to see, grieve, love, & be moved by the profound beauty & magnificence of these animals--with all the power & intimacy that animal dismemberment has always held for all of human existence-- and to respect the life that was and is in these bodies, we also grieve for those historically & currently experiencing violent systemic oppression and displacement, locally & globally, of human & non-human kin, of each of our own lineages, lived experiences, & more.  With the warmth of human company, the gratitude for these animals, songs, rich food, and fire, may we be filled & fortified to hold grief, suffering, & the sometimes blessed & sometimes unbearable contrasts of life on earth, with the care & witnessing they truly deserve.

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Resources one might find helpful:

Staying with the Trouble; Making Kin in the Chthulucene

An Indigenous People's History of the United States

My Grandmother's Hands
(All of these are available as audiobooks. Bobe also has these all on audiobook and can share directly with whomever desires.)

The Location:

This camp will take place at an easily accessible private property in a rural area of Esmont, Virginia. The property is accessible by all vehicles, & includes a small farmhouse, outbuildings, 2-ish acres of flat space for camping, access to hundreds of acres of woods for walking trails, & a stream and springs about a 10-15 minute walk through the woods. 

The location is a 10-15 minute drive from the small town of Scottsville, VA, which has a grocery store & hardware store. It's a 20-25 minute drive into the city of Charlottesville. 

Time at this camp will be divided between processing work on site, & regular roadkill scouting trips. 

This camp is being hosted on ancestral Monacan land: https://www.monacannation.com/. We encourage folks to learn about the Monacan people, give donations, and educate oneself about the indigenous people and lands folks reside in or have relationships with. Visit https://native-land.ca/ 

More info: StormsofDaylight.com/dismember-december-2022