Schedule & Workshops

Here is the draft schedule for Epic Skill Swap 2018, June 1-4. Workshop descriptions are listed below the schedule in alphabetical order.

Note that we have open spaces for folks to lead workshops who weren’t involved in the initial workshop selection process. Please bring your last-minute workshops, or email us at epicskillswap@gmail.com with your ideas.

A Happy Body is a Limbered-Up and Badass Body

Or, How I Would Take Care of You if I Couldn’t Be Your Massage Therapist
with Scott S.

In sophomoric bodyworker zeal, after learning both a dread fear of muscular imbalance and a feverish idolization of perfect posture, I ceased to trust weights or conventional practices of working out. Fortunately, before too long I crossed paths with a weird system of eccentric-contraction-based exercises that met my hypervigilant fresh-out-of-massage-school scruples. Many of those scruples have since fallen away, but this kind of exercise still rocks my socks, and it can rock yours, too. It looks like torture, feels like an action movie, sounds too hard, and smells like the friendship of heroes. It is the primary practice that I employ to provide for my body’s happiness in the face of a job that needs it to be functional and comfortable, and which would otherwise maybe grind me into a sad, creaky mess. It is the kind of exercise I recommend to massage clients to keep themselves improving between appointments. It is safe for all age levels and abilities. It is a sincerely explored and useful expertise. I would be glad to teach it.

Ask a Midwife

with Danielle B.

You never know when you’ll need to deliver a baby — on the side of I-91, in an airplane, if you ever find your way to that island in LOST… this workshop will teach you the basics of what to do, and will leave plenty of time for questions about IUDs, fertility awareness, abortion politics, childbirth labor support, basic anatomy, or whatever else is on your mind. Index cards will be provided for you to write down your anonymous questions, and no question is too basic.

Bike Camping Basics

with Dave M.

Like regular camping but with less gas and more adventure. Bike camping can be a great bonding experience with friends, and rolling into a campsite knowing you got there under your own power is a great feeling. We’ll talk about getting your bike ready, picking a good route, best practices to feel safe on the road and delicious lightweight foods.

Braiding and Caring for Hair Naturally

with Hannah P.

I’ve had a lot of hair for most of my life, and being someone who likes to research things, I’ve learned how to best take care of it with as little effort and money as possible. Hair can be a sign of our body’s health, and the way we arrange it is often a way of showing people a glimpse of who we are. Learn to use household products to take care of your hair (and skin, if there’s interest), and stick around for a shot at learning how to braid in various ways, either on yourself or someone else. Hair not required for participation; we’ll be talking about scalps, too. 😉 (Most of my experience is with straight or wavy European-texture hair, but anyone is welcome to contribute what they know about other textures!)

Dirty Pour Paintings

with Christine T.

A fun and easy way to make interesting cells of color in acrylic paint.  This playful process involves putting colors into a cup and flipping or dumping it out, then tilting or possibly adding heat and seeing what emerges.  The paint mixture is a combination of acrylic paint, water and lube (yup that kind of lube.) You’ll learn how to make the paint mixture and then two ways of getting your color on. The above images are some examples of dirty pours, swipes and other liquid acrylic paintings in this manner. I’ve been using these as backgrounds, but they are often interesting enough for a finished piece.  Painting skills not necessary! $2–$5 materials fee.

Drinking Local: Classic Cocktails Sourced in New England

with Brian H.

Cocktails have historically been made using whatever grew nearby, and there’s no reason we can’t still do that today! We’ll talk about local substitutes for common cocktail ingredients, nontraditional ways to sour or sweeten a drink that capture the flavors of New England, and the growing corps of craft distilleries around the region. Then we’ll make a few classic drinks together, using 100% New England-sourced ingredients! By the end, you’ll be able to incorporate your favorite local products into cocktails and have a sense of how to balance the drinks to accommodate them. Limited to participants who are 21 and over. Materials fee.

Engaging with People in Conversations About Oppression

with Eric G.

For the last few years I have been engaging in more conversations about oppression–racism, sexism, classism, speciesism, etc. I have learned that some patterns of communication are more effective at helping me connect with people around these issues than others. I will use this workshop to explore both effective and ineffective patterns of communication around topics of social justice.

Getting Media Coverage

with Christopher P.

Your message deserves to be heard!  Your story has value. Nothing beats media coverage in becoming known and being heard and you can make that happen. Topics we’ll cover:

  • Reporting is a relationship game
  • Who you need to know
  • What is news, and how to be newsworthy
  • Optics for TV
  • Letters to the editor
  • Write your own news as a freelance writer
  • Press Releases

I’ve been on both sides of this relationship with many years of cultivating relationships with the press as Executive Director of Vermont Rail Action Network and years of writing freelance for newspapers and magazines. 

Home Haircuts

with Emma A.

Ever wish you could just cut your own hair? Or your friend’s or family member’s? I’ll show you how! We’ll cover using both scissors and buzzers for short hair, and using scissors to cut longer hairstyles. We’ll also talk about things to keep in mind for different hair textures, thicknesses and curly/straight hair.

How to Build a Wall

with Alison N.

Thinking of remodeling? Come learn how to construct walls in a residential setting. We’ll discuss the various components of wall construction, from framing to drywall to exterior coverings. We’ll talk about installing doors and windows, and frame a wall from scratch!

How to Teach/Lead a Song in a Group

with Dana D-Y

Have you ever been in a group of people singing songs, and thought, “Ooh ooh I have a great song and I want to share it right now!” and then it didn’t go quite as planned? Or maybe you’ve never led a song before. Come practice this skill and sing together! We’ll focus on finding pitch, teaching notes, listening, organizing who sings what where, and being confident/humble/yourself. We’ll also talk about choosing a song, attributing songs, and how different singing groups have different cultures around this stuff. Bring a song you’d like to lead or teach, short or long. 

How to Tie a Bowtie & How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

with Sarah P.

Title says it all: two seemingly unrelated skills in one convenient workshop. Instruction on both these flummoxing tasks followed by time for practice and troubleshooting. There will be a collection of bowties and sheets provided for practice purposes but feel free to bring your own. We might also touch on other random folding tips and tricks if desired.

Make Your Own Shekere

with Laura M.

Africa meets Vermont in this crafts and music workshop. We’ll use gourds grown and dried in Vermont, decorate them with strings of beads, then have a music jam using our hand-made shekeres.

Making Homemade Tortillas

with Sonja B.

Homemade corn tortillas are easily produced from just cornmeal, water, and a little salt.  In this delicious workshop, we will practice doing so!  We can also play around with other kinds of flour (jowar roti, anyone?!) if people are interested.  

Mapping

with Adam F.

Maps are fabulous things, both fascinating and powerful as they shape our perception of the world around us and guide us to where we want to go. OpenStreetMap is a community open-data project (along the lines of Wikipedia) that allows everyone to collaboratively create a free-for-all map the world. Since 2004 the OpenStreetMap project has grown tremendously and in many parts of the world is far more detailed than the proprietary maps offered by Google and other commercial map-providers. Thousands of people often collaborate to map remote places during disasters or crises to allow rescue and aid workers to locate those who might be in need. Detailed trails and natural features in OpenStreetMap make it an excellent resource for hikers and many navigation systems now rely on it. During this workshop we’ll learn the basics of editing the OpenStreetMap and give you a chance to edit the area around Wilmot, your hometown, or anywhere else you desire. We’ll start by practicing “armchair” mapping based on tracing satellite imagery and discuss best-practices and community resources. We’ll follow this up with a survey of Camp Wilmot, collecting GPS traces with your smartphone that will let us map trails and features not visible in satellite imagery.Lastly, we will discuss ways that you can use OpenStreetMap in our daily lives, from topographic maps for hiking, to in-car navigation, to printing custom maps. While I’ll have a couple of computers available, bring your laptop or tablet if you can, as well as a smartphone.

New Games: Games for Fun Competition

with Mary P. & Annie W.

Do you enjoy playing outdoor group games? Do you enjoy friendly competition? Do you enjoy absurdity? This New Games workshop may be for you! The New Games model for playing hard, playing fair, and having fun was developed in the 1970s. This workshop will provide opportunities to try out silly fun group games. You might be interested in how to facilitate a group or how to debrief after an activity. Maybe you just want to learn a new game idea that you could take back to your friends, family, school, camp, or festival. Expect to sweat and laugh. 

Nightmare Solutions

with Veronica & Christine T.

Acupressure to calm the parasympathetic nervous system, or in Veronica’s words, “pressing on your face to make you be able to go back to sleep.” A short, easy routine that lets the anxiety fall away.

Old Clothes to New Costumes!

with Veronica & Hannah P.

Do you like dressing up? Costumes are fun, whether they’re for Halloween, a costume party, a movie premiere, or just goofing around. In this workshop, you’ll get to learn how to turn your everyday clothes into costumes. We’ll bring examples of costumes we’ve made, and part of the workshop will be dedicated to coming up with outfits together. Come and hang out!

Organize an Event like Epic Skill Swap

with ESS organizers

Come hang out with the Epic Skill Swap organizing team for a roundtable conversation on organizing a skill swap or other weekend event in your area.

Primitive Fire

with Caelen D.

Learn how to start fires with primitive methods (bow drill and hand drill), including sourcing materials and technique.                     

Primitive Pottery 101

with Laura W.

Like to play with clay? Learn to find and purify your own clay from natural sources and mold it into cooking pots, bowls, seed pots and more. We will use traditional and historical methods employed by indigenous cultures both here in the Northeast, and around the world. You will also learn an easy method to fire your pottery at home in a shallow pit. (Pots won’t be dry enough to fire during the workshop).          

Quilt Planning and Construction                    

with Alice S. & Dana D-Y

Learn how make a quilt, from picking a pattern block to sewing the final binding. Designing, planning, and sewing a quilt is a big project — we’ll help you break it down into simple steps. We’ll work on design, choose fabrics and calculate how much fabric you need, explore different ways of cutting out pattern pieces, plan how to assemble the blocks and quilt top, and talk batting, backing, binding, and different options for quilting the cozy and delightful sandwich that is a quilt. We will bring some sample quilts to look at and cuddle under for inspiration!We’ve made quilts for ourselves, and participated in community quilting projects for babies and weddings as well. Quilts can be easy or complex or anywhere in between. We can help you choose a project that’s right for your skill level, and help you start to build the additional skills you need to complete a colorful, cozy project.        

Running for Office 101

with Meghan K.

In a political era that feels increasingly urgent, we are seeing a groundswell of grassroots candidates who desire to run for office. If you’ve considered this but don’t know where to start, this workshop is for you! We will cover basics of running for office, including filing, building a network, win numbers, campaign teams, and endorsements. This will be a high-level overview, however, it can be tailored to the needs of the workshop participants. I am a sitting municipal official and can speak from my own experience, and am happy to answer as many questions as people have about my own process.

Salad! And Salad Dressing!

with Jadrian M.

Salad is an incredibly versatile and expressive type of food. And making your own salad dressing is the key to making every salad unique, and uniquely yours! We’ll talk about the building blocks of a good dressing, how to match flavors, kitchen tricks, considerations in constructing a salad, etc. We’ll swap tips about the wonderful salads we’ve encountered along the way. And we’ll (hopefully) end up making some delicious salads we can share at lunch or dinner. I’ll provide a variety of ingredients, jars for dressings, and a handful of kitchen implements like bowls, knives, and cutting boards. If you’re really excited about this workshop, you can help me out by bringing supplies of your own, but they’re not required by any means.

Setting Up a Website

with Ruthie B.

You can build a sweet personal homepage with WordPress, but wouldn’t it be great if you could do it from scratch?  It will take more time (to start with), cost less (by only a little bit), look worse (without extra effort and expertise), give you more freedom (that you probably don’t know what to do with), and, most importantly, it will make you feel like a badass. We’ll talk about what all the moving parts of a working website: html, css, javascript, templating, version control, hosting, servers, DNS, and more.  Then we’ll work together to build and deploy a simple website. You’ll leave with a sense of how things fit together, and the words you need to google when you are at home trying to do this yourself. Out of scope for this workshop: 1.) Web design. If you give me a picture of how it should look, I can make it look that way, but I don’t have the skills to draw the picture of how it should look. 2.) How to make websites that have persistent data, such as user accounts. These are awesome, and very much too much to cover in a single workshop.

Shape Note Basics!

with Chris B.

That thing where a crowd of people start singing in loud harmony about Jesus and death while looking at music where the notes aren’t all circles? That’s called shape note singing (sometimes Sacred Harp)! If it mystifies you, but you’re curious, or if you’ve done a little bit and would like a better grounding in what the heck is going on, this is your chance! We’ll cover a little history of the style, what the deal is with the shapes, some of the social etiquette of organized singings, and then try some of the more straightforward songs from the most commonly used book, The Sacred Harp (or Denson).You don’t have to know how to read music, and I’ll supply the books!

Sketching What You See

with Eliza W.

Put pencil to paper with no greater aim that depicting what is in front of you — be it a tree, a chair, or a person. Leave your ideas of what share something should look like at the door, and instead focus on what your eyes tell you about the world. I’ll have paper and pencils and will share a few tips on how to capture an image, and we’ll do a few activities or exercises. We can share our work and exchange tips and tricks as we go. There will also be time to just draw and enjoy ourselves. 

Stargazing 101

with William M.

Want to find constellations and view interesting objects in the night sky using eyeballs and binoculars? We will learn about what is involved in amateur astronomy! During the daytime workshop, I will cover the movement of the night sky, some different kinds of objects, and reading star charts as time allows. Weather permitting, we will go out at night with binocular and any telescopes anyone cares to bring to try and see some cool things! Bring your own binoculars or telescope to use and share. (The higher quality, the better.)

The Art and Science of Procrastination

with Shana F.

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today” was Thomas Jefferson’s advice, but it’s natural to avoid daunting and unpleasant tasks. We fritter away minutes and hours. We make excuses. We sidestep things we don’t want to do, or even things we want to do … just not right now. However, once we muster the energy and resources to tackle a job that we’ve been putting off, a sense of accomplishment is worth the reward. In this interactive workshop, we will examine causes of procrastination and develop personal strategies for making more effective use of our time.

The Climb

with Noah H.

We have arrived at Camp III, precariously perched 6,900 meters up on a cliff-face high above the Tarphel Valley of Bhutan. In an age of well-trodden paths, no human being has ever been higher on this peak than we are right now. This is a secret first ascent without the knowledge of Bhutanese authorities, who have forbidden climbing for religious reasons since 1994. No one knows we are here. If we descend into Bhutan we will be arrested. If anything goes wrong, there is no one to rescue us.

THE CLIMB is a short, six-ish-person, live-action game about an expedition to a virgin peak in the Himalayas.  (We may adapt the game’s setting to better fit the local terrain).It’s part of a movement of freeform role playing that has elements of improv story telling and uses props and sets to ease players into the elements of make believe we may have forgotten since we were children. Bring a headlamp. We’ll build pillow forts. If someone has a pair of walkie-talkies, please bring them! Some limited mountaineering gear — like rope, goggles, oxygen tank, emergency blanket — wouldn’t hurt. Good to be prepared, right?

Tips for a Tricky Trinity Talk: Exploring Christianity and Interreligious Dialogue

with Alicen R.

Over tea, we will work to create an open, positive atmosphere to discuss and dissect questions related broadly to interreligious dialogue and more specifically around Christianity in US culture. Furthermore, we will explore how the confusion and tension that can arise in conversations among people of varied belief systems (even within the different expressions of one tradition) can more easily be transformed into deeper listening and engaged learning. This workshop wholeheartedly welcomes input from all religious and spiritual perspectives, including none in particular. (I, myself, will be coming at this from a nomadic-Christian/interfaith pilgrim lens, after five years of working in nonprofits engaged in interfaith education in Boston and Jerusalem, and now nerding out with glee in Divinity School.)

In this workshop, we will…

  1. Begin by sharing our personal interest in this topic and from this we will jointly compile an agenda for discussion.
  2. Practice some paired listening and dialogue activities, based in Interreligious/Interfaith Dialogue models and nonviolent communication techniques.
  3. Hopefully grow in awareness of some of our own biases and sensitivities, through a concluding time of artistic reflection and sharing. (Coloring/drawing and clay supplies provided.)

Violin (or Fiddle) Lessons

with Cedar S.

Join me for one on one violin lessons! If you already play, I can help you improve in whatever areas you need, whether you are a beginner or have been playing for years. And if you’d like to try out the fiddle, I can give you your very first lesson!

Writing Workshops

with Marisa K.

I’m offering one-on-one writing workshops. Bring a piece of writing (be it a poem, a résumé or a fantasy novel), and learn how to assess what it’s doing and make it the best it can be. As an editor, I’ve worked with writers of all levels on all kinds of writing, and I’d love to share my editing strategies with you!