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Theresa Kamper

Bushcraft Survival Australia presents
Dr Theresa Emmerich Kamper

A Bushcraft Survival Australia exclusive course

Bushcraft Survival Australia is excited to announce that we will be hosting Dr Theresa Emmerich Kamper from the UK to run two specialist 7 day traditional living skills courses at our Victorian venue in October 2024.

Each 7 day course will comprise of 3 shorter modules; Use the Whole Animal, Skin Tanning and Soft Fibre Basketry.

Pre-Requisites
This opportunity is only available to people who have already completed the Bushcraft Survival Australia Fundamental Module 1 & 2 courses. Maximum numbers for this 7 day course will be 12 students.

Dr Theresa Emmerich Kamper

Theresa has been tanning skins using traditional technologies for over twenty five years. She holds a Master of Arts in Experimental Archaeology and a PhD dealing with the ‘Microscopic Analysis of Prehistoric Tanning Technologies’ from the University of Exeter.​

Theresa’s expertise is in the following areas:

  • Prehistoric tannage technologies
  • Animal processing
  • Using primary by products such as bone, sinew, internal organs, fur, horn and antler

​Theresa has taught various groups ranging from bush crafters to University students for over ten years, drawing on her extensive personal experience to provide a broad understanding of the processes of:

  • ​Fat tanning
  • Vegetable tanning
  • Alum tawing
  • Rawhide production
  • Animal processing

Instruction includes a diverse range of information, from skin morphology to helpful hints in dealing with the numerous and frustrating problems often encountered when first learning to tan, and often long after.

In addition to her main area of expertise in tanning technologies and animal processing, Theresa also teaches and demonstrates a wide range of traditional living skills including:

  • Patterning and clothing construction
  • Use of plant and animal fibres
  • Constructing and using traditional hunting tools
  • Basic flint knapping, stone tool construction and use
  • Shelter construction and use
  • Friction fire lighting
  • Basketry
  • Clay processing, pottery manufacture and firing

View Theresa’s full bio on her website.

Using The Whole Animal

Have you ever wondered what happens to the parts of an animal which don’t make it onto your grocery store shelves? Or how you can take a raw skin and transform it into leather? This 7-day course will give you the knowledge you need to break down an animal carcass in an efficient way, using as much of the animal as possible! You will then have the opportunity to process a raw skin into soft, grain-on leather and learn the techniques needed to coil, plait and twine soft fibre baskets.

This course will introduce you to what parts of an animal are useful for what products and how to preserve those parts until they can be used. We will cover all basic butchery for both food and utilitarian items, as well as those parts not often seen as useful. Multiple levels of technologies from stone to steel will be covered!

Some examples of what will be covered in Butchery Section of the course are as follows:
Organs: Removing, sorting and cleaning the edible organs as well as the utilitarian ones such as: brains for tanning the skin, the bladder for water bags and intestines for thread.

Skin: Removing the skin, de-fleshing and preserving the skin until you can tan it as well as using the scraps to make hide glue.

Meat: Removing the meat, what cuts are best suited to different uses. How to debone, make roasts, jerky and soup meat. Basic meat preservation.

Fat: How to render fat to preserve it.

Bones: How to separate joints, bones as food, how to make tools from bones such as: skin
processing tools, awls and needles, fishhooks, harpoon and arrow points, and jewellery.

Sinew: How to remove, clean and preserve both backstrap and leg sinew and how to later process it for fibre for sewing, bowstrings, hafting, bow backing etc.

Hooves: How to process the hooves for decorative items or for hoof glue.

Antlers: If antlers are present how to remove them, and a discussion on how best to work with antler.

Kangaroo and Deer Skin Tanning

Before the advent of modern tanning agents, humans were turning raw skin into usable leather products using very basic techniques and materials. Learn to produce incredibly soft, strong and durable leather from raw animal skin using one of humankind’s earliest tanning technologies!

Utilizing materials readily available in the surrounding environment we will walk through the steps of this transformation. Come learn the progression of this process from raw skin to beautiful, usable, finished leather!

The tanning section of this course will focus on tanning Kangaroo and Deer skins with a variety of fat tanning which uses Lecithin and oil* as the dressing agent. Whilst not for the squeamish the end product is worth the work! The class will cover removing the meat and fat (de-fleshing), alkalining for ground substance removal, applying the tanning agents (dressing), softening and smoking the skins. In addition to enthusiastic instruction, I provide comfortable, easy to use tools and detailed handouts covering the tanning process, as well as ethnographic anecdotes and a list of helpful literature for those who wish to further their own knowledge of tanning! The course is sure to contain plenty of memorable moments, lots of practical information and, provided that you put in the work **, one that will see you heading home with a beautiful, unique and usable piece of traditionally tanned leather!

Note: Kangaroo will be used on the first course and Deer used on the second course. Please check the notes to see which course you are booked on.

* The use of brains or egg yolks as an alternative dressing agent will be covered.
** Please be aware that a reasonable amount of fitness is required for this course. I will provide instruction on good technique and timing with the skins, but you will need to be able to be on your feet and active for 6 to 8 hours per day.

Soft Fibre Basketry

The last section of the course will cover learning to craft soft fibre baskets. Containers are one of the most practical, useful, yet underrated items needed in the outdoors, often not even considered until you need one!

We will cover Coiling, Plaiting and Twining techniques using materials such as grass, rush, leaves and fibrous bark. These materials can be used to make expedient containers for impromptu collecting or more durable but time intensive baskets which will serve the maker for years to come.

This skill takes some practice, and I will encourage you to embrace the uniqueness of your first baskets. The skills you take away from this will allow you to make containers anywhere you find yourself and will make you look differently at the natural world around you.

Refer to the information above for information about what will be covered.

This opportunity is only available to people who have already completed the Bushcraft Survival Australia Fundamental Module 1 & 2 courses.

Accomodation

This course is run entirely outdoors from an expedition style base camp, and you will either be sleeping in your own camping equipment that you will bring (see clothing and equipment list) or in the emergency shelter you will build yourself.

Amenities

This course is run entirely outdoors in a field environment. A screened trench latrine and gravity fed canvas bush shower in a secluded private spot, along with strict camp hygiene measures will give a natural wilderness expedition feel to your experience as well as teaching you essential outdoor toilet etiquette and how to leave no trace. You will be taught how to wash with limited water and stay clean in the bush. Our measures are low-impact and environmentally friendly.

Food

On this mixed course, breakfast, lunch, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits, a fruit bowl and fresh water will be provided at the base camp.

Three of the evening meals during the week we will cook together using the animals we process while the other three you will be required to bring and cook yourself. We suggest you make up your own simple lightweight “ration” packs. Please see our YouTube episode on Making Your Own 24 Hour Ration Packs.

Whilst we try to cater for most dietary needs (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose intolerant etc.), we cannot cater for lifestyle choices or ultra fussy eaters due to the remote nature of our courses. You can supplement the provided food with your own snacks/food, but unless you are allergic/intolerant, you will be expected to eat the food supplied, as this provides in-context learning. After all, this is a bushcraft/survival course, not a wellness retreat and in a real survival situation you eat what you have or you go without!

You will need to bring:

  • Something to sleep in, on and under (sleeping bag, groundsheet, tarp/hootchie/hammock, mozzie net etc)
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Belt kit (knife, ferro rod and saw)
  • 1 pair of leather/pigskin gloves (for flint knapping)
  • 1 pairs of tight fitting fabric gloves with plastic palms (for tanning)
  • 1 pair of clear safety glasses
  • 3 simple “ration pack” type meals to cook yourself in your cups/canteen or nesting cup (see Food section)
  • Cutlery set

We have small cooking pots, nesting cups, water bottles, ground sheets, hootchies, knives and ferro rods to lend if you do not have your own. Refer to the BSA Module 1 Kit List if in doubt.

Make sure your Morakniv knife is sharp before you arrive!

Bushcraft and survival training is closely intertwined with nature, the sun, stars, natural resources and the weather. There is no electricity. Therefore modern 40 hour week timetables you are used to need to be adapted.

Lessons will be taught both day and night and at unusual hours to accommodate nature, natural daylight hours and traditional cooking times using fire and natural resources. Some lessons and activities will take longer than others and some are sun and weather dependent so you need to remain flexible as things don’t always go to plan.

Traditional cooking using fire takes time so we will generally cook at night so we can maximize daylight hours for other tasks and activities so evening mealtimes might be later than you may be used to. There are a lots of skills to be learnt on this course so expect long days and later nights than you may be used to.

This course held in an expedition style camp, entirely outdoors. You will need a reasonable level of health and fitness to maximise your participation and enjoyment of the course. In the weeks leading up to your course we recommend you do several walks over uneven terrain to ensure your boots and backpack containing your gear (approximately 10-15kg) fit correctly.

There are late nights, early mornings and you will be on your feet a lot of the time.

Please be aware this is not a wellness retreat!

View frequently asked questions on our dedicated FAQ page.

If your question is not answered on the FAQ page, please contact us.

Prices

Price: $1695 (7 day course)

Other information

Number of places: 12
Course start time: 8.30am on Day 1
Course finish time: 5.00pm on Day 7

Note: Kangaroo will be used on the first course and Deer used on the second course. Please check the notes to see which course you are booked on.

Upon making your booking you will receive a link to the participant consent form (which must be filled out and returned immediately), along with other documentation about what to bring and where to go.

Cancellation policy

  • Cancellations made within 6 weeks of a course start date will be refunded less 10%
  • Cancellations made within 2 weeks of a course start date will be refunded less 25%
  • Cancellations made less than 48 hours before a course commences will be refunded less 50%

Extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis

This opportunity is only available to people who have already completed the Bushcraft Survival Australia Fundamental Module 1 & 2 courses.

BSA PRESENTS: Dr Theresa Emmerich Kamper
Date Course Venue Subject to change Booking
14/10/24 - 20/10/24 Traditional Living Skills Course with Dr Theresa Emmerich Kamper (7 days) Wangaratta, VIC Fully booked
Email us to go on the waiting list
Kangaroo Skin Tanning
23/10/24 - 29/10/24 Traditional Living Skills Course with Dr Theresa Emmerich Kamper (7 days) Wangaratta, VIC Book Now Deer Skin Tanning