August 06, 2014

Flintknapping, pottery workshops scheduled

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  -- A pair of hands-on workshops at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center will introduce participants to two historical and useful art forms:  arrowheads and primitive pottery. 

Learn how early Americans shaped stone into arrowheads and useful tools at the flintknapping workshop from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 at Touch of Nature’s Upper 40 Cabin, about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.  Larry Kisella, an experienced arrowhead crafter and quarter-century archaeologist, will present the program.  

His handiwork is on display at the Illinois State Museum and in museums across the Midwest and is also featured in the Discovery Channel documentary “What Killed the Mega Beasts.”  He presents demonstrations and programs in venues all over the country, introducing people to primitive technology and archaeology in a fun, educational way. 

The cost of “The Art of Flintknapping” workshop is $45 per person.  The fee covers instruction and use of all tools needed to craft arrowheads.  Participants may also bring their own tools.  Lunch is not included.  

The class is limited to the first 25 people to register.  

Touch of Nature will also present a four-day Primitive Pottery Workshop, Sept. 27-28 and Oct. 4-5, from 9 a.m. to 4 pm.  The workshop also takes place at the Upper 40 Cabin.  

Chris Dunn, an SIU alumnus who earned his master’s degree in ceramics at California State University, Long Beach, will be the instructor.  After a visit to the Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site in Massac County, he became interested in Mississippian ceramics.  He researched and experimented to replicate the early pottery discovered at the mounds, using techniques used by the ancient artisans.  

The first weekend of the workshop will focus on creating pottery using ancient Native American methods while the second weekend will incorporate finishing pottery in an open-fire pit.  

The registration fee is $75 per person and includes use of all tools needed.  Lunch is not provided.  However, on-site camping is free and overnight lodging is available.  The class size is limited to 12 people. 

No experience is necessary in order to attend these workshops.  However, pre-registration is required.  To sign up for either workshop, or for more information, visit, call 618/453-1121, or email