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Artisans Role Group

Artisans Role Group

Skilled artisans were an important part of the Ross Colony. There were carpenters, metalsmiths, shipwrights, and more. Artisans had a variety of skills that were both practical and artistic. For example, fine ocean-going ships were built by the Russian colonists in Fort Ross’ Sandy Cove. The first altar fixtures for the Sonoma Mission were made by craftsmen at Ross. Mariano Vallejo relied upon Fort Ross blacksmiths in the early years of the Petaluma Adobe. For ELP, Artisans may choose to practice the fine arts such as sketching or watercolor; or fiber arts such as weaving, spinning, needlework; or other crafts working with wood and metal. See the links below for instructions to some of our suggested projects.

Artisans Classroom Preparation –

  • Research the tools that a particular artisan would need to do his or her job at Settlement Ross. What tools would an artist, woodworker, blacksmith, cooper, shipwright, tailor, or other craftsperson use?
  • Do these crafts exist today? Can you find modern examples of someone practicing this craft in the community where you live?
  • Try to visit people in your community who are engaged in woodworking, weaving, or metalworking. Are these artists using modern or traditional equipment? How does this craft differ from what was practiced at Fort Ross?
  • Ideas: Learn to embroider, weave, or spin. Stencil head scarves, hats, aprons, or tablecloths. Design patterns for painting spoons or boxes. Make an Artisans role group banner

Here’s a list of equipment the Fort provides for the Artisans –

  • Coping saw
  • Blades
  • Auger bits
  • Hand plane
  • Hammers
  • Wooden mallets
  • Handsaws
  • Nail puller
  • Hand drills
  • Draw knives
  • Odd chisels
  • And more…

Artisans Classroom Preparation and Onsite Activities –

General Information, Rules and Expectations – Please read through this carefully

Artisans Role Play Characters – Use this list to select your role play characters

Artisans Onsite Task List – An essential list of your tasks and responsibilities

Artisans Russian Lacquerware Projects – Instructions for these projects

Artisans Bench Project – Instructions for this project

Artisans Lantern Project – Instructions for this project

Night Watch – Night Watch is mandatory, read all about it!

Items to Bring – A list of items to bring…Check it twice!

Russian American Company Travel Permit – Don’t forget your papers, to gain entrance to the Fort


Artisans Additional Information –

Brief History & Walking Tour – Learn about the history, buildings and grounds of Fort Ross

Creole Privileges – Read this to learn about the Russian American Company’s historic regulations and privileges regarding Creoles