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Chippin' in Chippawa
© Fisher, James V. (2001). CHIPS: The Flintknapper's Publication. Vol. 13, #2 April. (unauthorized reproduction prohibited.)
Some of the Genesee Valley Flintknappers recently made their way to the Niagara Falls region on St. Patrick's Day to join in a small international knapping event in Chippawa, Ontario. Despite the formidable late winter snow that fell upon the region, a group of prominent knappers from Southern Ontario, Western New York, and Northwestern Pennsylvania gathered around a small wood stove in Dan Long’s workshop to break rock and share some laughs.
The Exalted National Janitor of the Ooga Booga Society, Jim Woodring, and his friend Linda Fischer traveled to the Cataract City from Oil City, Pennsylvania. They first visited the Holland Lithic Laboratory at the Buffalo Museum of Science on Friday prior to the knap-in. On Saturday we were delighted to be joined by lithics specialist Jack Holland and Ontario archaeologists Jacquie Fisher and Jim Molnar. The New York contingent
including Chief Dana Klein and John Cappellini arrived early on Saturday morning as did Ken Wallace, Tom Pedlow, and Jim Fisher.
The atmosphere of Dan's custom-designed knapping workshop and his wife Patti's hospitality was conducive to a very enjoyable and productive event. A more suitable place to knap on a snowy winter day would be very hard to find. Once inside the workshop we found ourselves surrounded by frames of inspirational examples of modern work that Dan has collected from a number of master knappers. The aromatic smell of cedar lingered pleasantly in the air as the workshop’s wood stove scoffed at the morning chill. There was no shortage of quality knapping material to be worked. Jim Woodring brought a supply of Texas chert he had recently procured on a rock run to the Lone Star State and
Dan generously provided a large variety of flakes and spalls for his guests.
Though the gathering was small it consisted of a wide range of knapping talent. The intermediate and beginner knappers on hand were inspired and awed by the master knappers in attendance. Ken Wallace crafted a beautifully thin Vosburg point of our native Onondaga chert and a Dalton of Bayport chert. Tom Pedlow busied himself by converting about ten prepared Onondaga bifaces into finished New York points types. John Cappellini created some impressive large blades as did Jim Woodring. Kentucky Black chert was the material from which Jim Fisher released a Fulton Turkeytail with a bit of cortex left on the stem for bragging rights. Not to be outdone on his home turf, Dan Long added a killer Dalton of Collingwood chert and a large Dovetail of Colha chert from
By the day’s end about two dozen points and blades were arranged on a debitage littered tarp for everyone’s admiration. As is tradition at knap-ins large and small, many fine points were traded amongst friends who gathered in the perfect knapping workshop to share a common passion for creating modern reproductions and lithic art.