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The Joys and Sorrows of Gumboot Dancing

The British aristocracy copied the style of the war hero The Duke of Wellington when he had his custom made utilitarian boot made for him and his soldiers. In 1852 the boot started to be made in vulcanized rubber and the leather was phased out. The boot came along as a labor standard wherever Colonial…

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Spoon Gravity

In ancient Wales if you were a young man and you gave a woman a spoon you were proposing to her. We have all held spoons. Their design is so elegant and so simple. What could be easier than a spoon? I have tried to carve spoons from a block of wood. It isn’t easy.…

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Nobody Wanted To Collaborate: Litvakus and reclaiming Jewish music from Belarus

One strand of the story of Jews is of worn down wandering boot heels. A story of the road. They have heard ‘you should probably get going’ (or worse) often enough that you almost have to wonder how people such as these learned such hospitality. Jews have been in the nation we call Belarus for…

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What’s With Those Beads?: Where Brains Meet Beauty Podcast

Dear Culture Makers and Primal Dermers, Not all of you know what I look like over in my corner of the world. Well take a gander. . What a bunch of people have asked me is, “Hey, what’s with those beads?” Well it’s a good story and you can hear all about it and some…

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The Lion Shakes His Mane

I’m reading a great book called “Culture and the Senses: Bodily Ways of Knowing in an African Community” by Kathryn Linn-Geurts. In the Western world there is ‘consensus’ that we have five senses and if we have a sixth sense that somehow it is associated with some kind of mystical intuition about the supernatural world…

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Tugging at the Lakota Language Thread

Before I was born my mother spent some time in South Dakota living and working with the Lakota Sioux on a reservation. When I was a kid I always admired and was glad to hold the small cache of beaded jewelry that she had. I couldn’t speak to the stories or meanings of any of…

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Icelandic Hay While the Sun Shines in New York

I’m pretty lucky that you lot of people who are willing and excited to put grass fed tallow on your skin and are interested in reclaiming some of these old cultural roots are all here. If you have used Primal Derma I would venture to guess that there is a strong chance that you are…

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Elephants, Zebras, and Reclaiming Old Trails

In the excellent book ‘On Trails: An Exploration’ by Robert Moor he wonders aloud about the paths beneath our feet. How do they form? Why do some get used more than others while others fade? He investigates ants and highways and long-lost Cherokee trails in the rural South. But on page 97 and 98 he…

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Aleppo to Zanzibar: culture in spice with Burlap and Barrel

As I have mentioned before culture making and maintenance is what Primal Derma is very much about. Walking that thin tightrope of making meaning in our days while in remembrance of what it takes to make something come to pass. When it goes too fast we lose the chance for accountability or responsibility. Aleppo is…

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Women as Culture Makers

Primal Derma has been a small venture from the start and this undertaking of chance is in no way guaranteed to achieve any measure of ‘success’ in any conventional sense despite our scrappy charms and bigger story to tell and share. But here we are – alive and lucky for it. Here is a sign…

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