About Practical Primitive
Founded in 2007 by Eddie Starnater and Julie Martin, Practical Primitive is dedicated to the
and individual instruction of adults in all aspects of Primitive, Traditional and Self-Reliance skills.
To Provide these Skills in a Manner which is
Accessible, Achievable and Attainable to all who seek to Learn.
Our Passion is Teaching
Workshops for adults 18 & over that focus on specific topics, our traveling Skills 2 You program, one-on-one Mentoring, and Virtual Instruction; we provide options that will fit your lifestyle, and help you to build a strong and stable repertoire of skills.
Our Workshops are Small
By keeping our workshops under 10 people we ensure you get the most out of your experience. You'll get your hands on every skill we teach, with plenty of time to practice and lots of opportunity to ask questions. We tailor each workshop to the people attending and make sure that you learn exactly what you came to find out!
Our Focus is You
We are dedicated to providing top-quality instruction from teachers with a wealth of personal experience at an affordable price. With single-day and weekend workshops, a free monthly Open Skills Night, our popular e-newsletter, Virtual Instruction, Home Study modules, a variety of Intensive Skills Programs and work-exchange Internship opportunities, we are constantly striving to find new ways to bring these skills to anyone who seeks to learn them.
"The Instructor's Instructor"
Co-Founder, Director of Programming and
Eddie Starnater is one of the top Primitive and Survival Skills experts in the United States, and has been practicing and perfecting Primitive and Survival skills since childhood. Over the past 40 years Eddie has become a Master Flintknapper, and an expert bowyer, tracker, primitive potter and maker of all types of primitive weaponry. He has spent years living in the woods and off the land, learning edible and medicinal plants and perfecting his wide range of Wilderness Survival skills — both on countless Survival Outings in many eco-systems around the country, and while living for months at a time in a long-term shelter in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
As a teacher and instructor of all aspects of Primitive and Survival skills, tracking, hunting, fishing, traditional living, self-reliance and awareness for over 20 years, Eddie has been a major influence on the current generation of primitive skills instructors. It is because the majority of Primitive and Survival Schools in the United States, many in Canada and a select few in England, Australia, Germany and Taiwan all employ instructors that were taught by Eddie that he has become known as “The Instructor’s Instructor”.
The subject of interviews and articles in publications ranging from Wilderness Way to The New York Times ("A Primitive Way to Learn Global History" Oct 20, 2011, pg A26), Eddie has been featured in multiple television segments for local and network news programs, including ABC 7 in Philadelphia. He was a consultant on the 2003 feature film, The Hunted, for which he provided many of the stone tools used by Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro.
Eddie has published instructional articles on topics ranging from flintknapping to kiln building to primitive cooking. He was chosen to write a feature article in the very first issue of Primitive Archer magazine, and his article on "Building a Primitive Kiln" (Wilderness Way) is referenced in Kiko Denzer's definitive work on adobe ovens, Build Your Own Earth Oven (page 104).
A former Hunter Safety Education instructor for the State of Texas, Eddie is an expert marksman in everything he does. Whether he is shooting firearms, using a longbow, crossbow or atlatl, throwing knives, tomahawks, spikes and screwdrivers, or flinging a sling or a throwing stick, Eddie can hit his target.
More than just an expert practitioner, Eddie has an amazing ability to teach the many skills he has perfected and pass them on to all who wish to learn. His unparalleled ability to break a skill down into easily understood and quickly learned Principles allows his students to progress leaps and bounds beyond what they may have learned at other schools. His “Beyond Instinctive Shooting” method of teaching archery consistently has students who have never previously shot a bow hitting pie plates thrown into the air or rolled across the ground, after a single morning of instruction.
9 Step Knapping™, Eddie’s breakthrough method of teaching flintknapping, has been hailed by students and expert knappers alike. His Flintknapping Made Easy techniques allows brand new knappers to create usable bifaces in a single day workshop, and his top-selling DVD of the same name has quickly become know as what “should be everyone's blueprint for teaching new knappers.” (Woody Blackwell)
Eddie spent over 10 years conducting workshops in Texas prior to becoming an instructor for, then Direcor of, Tom Brown Jr.'s Tracker School. During his tenure as one of "the finest instructors and Trackers I have ever had the privilege of teaching", (TB Jr., Case Files of the Tracker), Eddie has taught all types of primitive skills, tracking, and nature awareness to many thousands of students from across the globe.
In 2006 Eddie became tired of the huge class sizes, lecture format and “industrialized” teaching style of the major schools, that had become more focused on “notebook knowledge” over the hands-on learning and internalization of the skills to which he had dedicated his life. He decided it was past time to return to his roots and get back to teaching in the manner in which he was taught. Eddie left Tracker and founded Practical Primitive together with Julie Martin in January 2007. The small-group, adult-only workshops for which the school has become known provide a unique and unparalleled opportunity for those who wish to learn quality skills from one who has spent the majority of his life working, learning, and perfecting the Sacred Primitive Arts that have served mankind for millennia.
To contact Eddie for Primitive Skills & Survival consulting,
speaking engagements or seminars, call 908-637-8137
or e-mail Media@PracticalPrimitive.com
Co-Founder, Head of Operations & Instructor
Julie Martin has been practicing Primitive & Survival Skills full time for the past 10 years and teaching for the last four. She was raised on a farm in the Mennonite region of Southern Ontario, where wild edibles, organic gardening and traditional methods of food preservation were a regular part of her everyday life. A love of animals and of the outdoors was cemented
into her life from the start; she spent her childhood wandering the woods and fields, and surrounded by horses, pigs, cows,
ducks, dogs and cats on the family farm. She began riding her brother's pony at
the age of 4, and has had a dog for a constant companion since before
she can even remember.
After 15 years of traveling, and pursuing a career as an actor/singer/writer in cities throughout Canada and the United States, a serious car accident caused Julie to re-evaluate how she wanted to spend her time on this earth and in this life, and she left the urban world without looking back, to once again focus her life around the earth-centered skills of her youth.
Julie spent some time recovering from her accident in the deserts of Utah. Upon learning of Julie's desire to be able to "Aragorn" a set of tracks they came upon, a friend suggested finding a place to go and learn this ancient skill, so Julie did. She attended some classes at the Tracker School, which led to an internship there, followed by full-time employment. After spending a year increasing efficiency, improving student relations, reorganizing the Tracker office, and running the School Store, Julie left Tracker behind and, together with Eddie Starnater, founded Practical Primitive.
What originally began as a way of overcoming the trauma from her accident quickly developed into a life-changing passion into which she jumped head-first and has never looked back. While fascinated and humbled by all the skills of our ancestors, Julie's biggest passions have become fire, rock, and plants. She has been continuously practicing, experimenting and honing her primitive and survival skills for over a decade and continues to follow her strong and uncompromising vision to provide a place where people can receive hands-on instruction in a small group setting from instructors with a depth and breadth of skills, knowledge and understanding. Julie is very excited to be expanding Practical Primitive's Self-Reliance workshops to include some of the traditional skills of her own youth, as well as leading Practical Primitive's new Women-only workshops (Feral Females: Being an Outdoor Woman), bringing a whole new dimension to the school's offerings, and reaching out to a new community of people seeking to rebuild their relationship with the Earth.