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Dismember December

Butchering & Tanning Camp



Esmont, Virginia

We are at full capacity & unable to accommodate any more inquiries about this camp.

Thank you for you understanding.

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.

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Lyrra Magda

Camp Lead


Willa Moore

Camp Lead



Nicole/ Bobe

Camp Host




Part Time


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Joan Kovatch

Part Time


Want to come learn?

If you are a beginner and want to learn animal processing, consider this an opportunity to learn hands-on from a variety of tanners & dismemberers with different skills, perspectives, and focuses, by simply immersing in the flow of work & activities happening each day, whether you come for a day, a week, or the whole month. In real life there is no curriculum but the animals themselves, whose bodies are the teachers every day. 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 fulfillment of communal crafting time.    


While all the core camp members will be working hard during the month putting up personal stores of meat & fat for the next year, Lyrra & Willa are also committing to being available for the entire month to help & to teach others wanting to learn dismemberment arts. This is offered as a gift of their time & energy. If you are coming to camp specifically to learn, a suggested donation of $20 per day is deeply welcomed to help support the camp & its needed materials. 

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How to come camp:

To participate in this camp, email Lyrra & Willa at

You will need to bring your own camping set-up (like a camp tent, wall tent, bell tent, camper/trailer, or something like that) appropriate for cold weather for sleeping, enough food for your meals, & any tools you have. A communal house with wood stove, electricity, well water, hot water, bath & shower, & kitchen will be available for a lot of the daily processing work.  

This camp welcomes and acknowledges the spectrum of ability, dis-ability, and neurodiversity that any one individual is comprised of. Please reach out to share or inquire about access needs in any regards. We are committed to supporting each other in advocating and claiming our needs. Unfortunately we also acknowledge we may not logistically or structurally be able to meet certain access needs, but we stand in solidarity, honor, and respect of your needs regardless. 

This camp is hella queer. Please come with respect & care for all humans, gender identities, pronouns, etc. 

Please consider bringing as many tools as you think you may need (if you have them), including knives, knife sharpeners, hide scraping tools, saws axes mauls or chainsaw (if you will be needing firewood for personal tent/trailer woodstoves), & any crafting tools & materials you may want. Contributions of bulk foods (like vegetables & root vegetables, or dried foods) to add to any communally prepared stews are also greatly appreciated! 

Concerns & needs related to covid will be formulated & discussed by email closer to the Winter season once this Winter's pandemic situation becomes clearer.  

More about the gift economy:

Core camp members will be supplying materials like pressure cookers, electric slow cookers, meat grinders, purchased bulk local fat (like pig), 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 bring ball jars and/or 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. 


Visiting learners 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. Participant donations can be in the form of cash, food, materials, or tools.

More questions about the camp gift economy? Email Lyrra & Willa at

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. Together we grieve as well the very existence of roadkill in this culture, & the reasons we have access to it: White Supremacy, Colonization, Industrialization, Capitalism, & US empire. While the dismemberment of animals/roadkill can be deeply personal and intimate, we invite those gathered to the embodied experience of grieving for those historically and currently experiencing violent systemic oppression and displacement, locally and globally, of human and non-human kin, and of our own lineage or lived experience to such.  

We come together 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. 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: 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