Monday, March 31, 2014

O-JAM 2014

The week before we left Missouri we found out that Oklahoma has a Self Bow gathering, O-JAM, at the end of March.  This was perfect timing for us to go on our way to Arizona to visit Michael's family.  Michael, or Wylden Freeborne, has been making bows for the last two years.  Our daughter Fair made her first bow earlier in January of this year.  So the two of them were really excited about going.  I was happy to share in the experience and found out I could set up a booth to vend.  Whitman was glad to be running amok with other kids and eventually started expressing his joy when shooting a bow and arrow... it was pretty sweet! 

Arriving a day before the event started, we pitched our lodge right next to the pond...early birds get the worm!!
Making a ladder so I can lace up the tipi.
Over the next few days six more tipis popped up.

It was refreshing to be back in our tipi living on the ground, around the fire.  I was feeling more and more present in my body as the days went by.

I had very few things already made to sell at a Bow Gathering, so I hauled out the treadle machine and worked on bow socks, hunting hoods and a man brought me his tipi to repair as well.  The old-timers thought it was great that I was sewing on a foot-powered machine and it reminded them of their mothers and grandmothers.  I think a few people were inspired to get their treadle machines up and running! I sold almost everything that I made while I was there.  A lot of suggestions on future creations were made and I think I may have launched Fair Ophelia Designs into the Bow Hunter Marketplace.

Got a custom order for a little person hood
I couldn't help but put a little applique on it.

This is the land of Osage... hundreds of staves, but we had a surprise bit of Yew for them!
Fair was gifted a kids Osage stave and learned how to work the new wood, in the flat bow style.

She worked hard and I had to remind her to take breaks and play with her friends.  Many people helped her started her own tool kit: a rasp, files, a draw knife and a scraper.  Starting at nine years old, she will grow into an amazing bowyer.
There were multiple work areas for people to get mentored on bow making.
Jerry, one of the locals I meet, at his work station.
The gathering ended with the Clout Shoot, a long-distance target...this one happens to be across the pond!
Everyone lines up and shoots as many arrows they's a Robin Hood moment.

 Through out the gathering people were very curious about us...tattooed, using a treadle machine, our son with longer hair than any of the girls... but everyone was so kind!  We had many in depth conversations, shared our family's stories and learned a bit about Osage wood working.  We look forward to making our way east again next year!  Hopefully Carson, from Echo Archery, will come out with us and show off his amazing bowyer work and arrow-making skills.  Maybe a whole Oregon caravan...

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