The Fabulous Forager

Hey, everybody! I hope someone sees this…

Pretty soon I’m going to be starting a new blog called “The Fabulous Forager.” It’s going to be a light-hearted look at the more luxurious elements of hunter-gatherer life (sleeping on a bed of furs, anyone?) with an emphasis on girly-girl stuff like fashion, makeup, and jewelry. The idea is to use humor to dispell the widespread notion that tribal life is “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Now here’s the thing: I don’t actually know anything about primitive fashion, makeup, and jewelry. I’ve read primitive skills books, sure, but they always focus on the really basic stuff like making fire and building shelter. Sometimes a guide to edible plants will mention in passing that this one particular plant has berries that were used by some Native American group or another to make paint… but of course, it never explains how. I am not yet the “fabulous forager.” As my screen name suggests, I’m the prissiest primitivist. I aspire to be the fabulous forager, but I’m not there yet. Mainly, I’m going to be learning as I go; if I write an article about, say, how various hunter-gatherer women take care of whatever body hair they want to get rid of (for instance, I’ve heard of clamshells being used to pluck eyebrows), that’s probably because I just learned about it the week before.

So this is a general call-out for information. If you know any nifty tidbits about primitive luxury that you’d like me to know/write about, please post them here! And if you know of any websites that specialize in that sort of thing, please post those links as well.

Oh, and, er, also if you can find any campy pin-up girl-style pictures (for example, a glamorous woman wrapped in fur and/or feathers) that Jason could use when he designs the logo for the new blog… that would also help a lot. :wink:


That is hilarious and super cool. really, pretty damn funny, Il like the idea. I find alot of the primitivists “humourless”. seriously I like this one.

You should be the campy pin-up girl-in-furs in the logo.

this is an awesome idea, giuli!

i’ll keep an eye out in my field guides. just off hand, i remember that mullein leaves were used to rough up the cheeks and make them rougey.

so are you going to try out these pretty primitive processes before you blog them to give us the first-hand perspective?

post the address here once you’re ready. i’m sure lots of us will be happy to add you to our blogrolls.

also, if you’re going to use a creative commons license (or otherwise won’t mind releasing your work) i’d be happy to put your articles on the wiki. or if you’re game, feel free to put them in the field guide yourself. wiki markup isn’t too hard to figure out.

Hey Guili, you down with OPP? (other prissy primitivists? ;D)

Glad to have you here! I can’t wait for your blog. Totally awesome.

I found one of storm’s articles on making pendants from soft stone and copied it to the wiki.

Not quite luxury, but some fabulous adornment.

I can try to help out. It’s true about the mullein leaves. If you rub your cheeks for a minute the redness will last for hours. I read about a face powder made of dry rot wood. And then there is greasing the hair with bear grease or sunflower oil. Doesn’t sound too pleasant to me but then I never liked using “product”. I like to make necklaces out of porupine quills and stick feathers through my ears and such. I’m sure I can find lots of information on herbal beauty treatments for nice skin and hair.

I’ve had similar ideas but not-girly related. Like I want to make a primitive lazyboy with a beer holder and everything. I also want to make a primtive hot tub.

I’ve read about Kohl being used in Asia/Africa. I believe that dates back a really long time. It’s used for beauty as well as sun protection. You apply it around your eyes.
Henna has a really long history as well in Asia/Africa. It’s used on hair and skin for beauty, sun protection, strength and cleanliness.

I’ve read that Jojoba oil was used by people native to the Southwest of North America. I use it as a skin and hair moisturizer. It protects skin from the sun too.

Oh that reminds me that St. Johns Wort Oil is supposed to protect from sunburn. The flowers soaked in oil that is, not oil derived from the plant itself. I heard this from Susun Weed.

I’ve recently heard about a hair removal technique hailing from Ojibwe territory, wherein one takes a quantity of a certain (unknown) species of ant, smashes them up (sorry ants!), applies them like a wax, lets it set, then tears it off!

wooh hoo!

Hey, Giuli, I just read this at Steve Brill’s site about elderberries (linky):

You can also boil them in vinegar to make a black hair dye.

Hey Giuli,

We were at a gathering last weekend making dogbane cordage, and I noticed that when you separate the fibers from the chaff, they have a soft consistency, like hair - and they just happened to be the exact same color as my hair, so I tried making little dogbane hair extensions! You’d probably need a ton of dogbane to do it, though, because the fibers are pretty fine. Imagine, dogbane wigs, dogbane toupes… You might also be able to use the fibers to make small paintbrushes for delicate or detail work.

Sorry I haven’t responded to this topic - I haven’t been back here in a while. But thanks for everything, everybody! And if anyone’s still reading this thread, keep 'em coming!

The blog isn’t up yet (it’s waiting for Jason’s big redesign/rehauling - yes, I know, another one)… I’m trying to come up with a clever subtitle that plays off of “Nasty, Brutish, and Short.” Fancy, Beautiful, and Adored? :::shrug:::

I have stopped believing in Jason’s “revamp” and now I think he just spends his time doing the same thing every night: trying to take over the world! (Narf).

I’ll have you know I passed off the login and temporary URL so Giuli could start writing drafts just earlier today. :stuck_out_tongue:

Awesome. I can’t wait to color myself prissy.

i’ve read a sage rinse darkens the hair. You could also cover henna haircolor and tattoos, and I think the celts used indigo or something blue as a temporary tattoo. The cassia plant (senna) is sold as clear henna (but not related) makes the hair shiny.

The Celts used woad… which is actually psychoactive and absorbed through the skin. They wore it in battle. Those stories about Celtic warrior fighting towering demons? Well, that is genuinely what they experienced…

Two of the fanciest pieces of primitive luxury I know of are twisted rabbitskin blankets, corded on dogbane wefts, and eider down blankets, where the feathers are fitted into cordage. They both took a village to make and were wealth items.

I spent some 300 hours making a rabbitskin blanket based on information from Paul Campbell, but used waste furrier rabbit hides, which are domestic. The blanket turned out very hard, and I traded it away just to get rid of it after all that hard work. But now I understand the construction, so it was worth it.

Here’s a question: what do hunter-gatherer women the world over do for hygiene when the “moon is full” (ahem)? I just started mine. The question was imminent.

Part two of the question: Does anyone know of natural medicines for cramps? (Maybe some h-g ladies don’t get cramps, depending on diet and overall well-beingness.)

SilverArrow, I have pondered that one a great deal. Some folks use sea sponges these days. . .? I’ve heard of women using cattail fluff, but how does one keep it where it needs to go? Some kind of uncomfortable leather thong contraption? Or just letting the bleeding happen, without any attempt at “control”?

I have little experience with cramps, but i think the many, many estrogen disrupters in our culture/environment might make the problem worse. Chinese medicine calls most pain stagnated energy, so maybe exercise? H-G ladies probably walk a LOT more. The Mayans do some rad abdominal massage and teach it as basic maintenance.