MINOT – Big rocks, little rocks, arrow rocks, any rocks. Unique stones of all different shapes and sizes can be found by an artistic craftsman at the North Dakota State Fair.
Howard Anderson, Sheldon, shapes stones through a process called flint knapping at his tent he set up in the Fur Traders Rendezvous area at the fair.
“I make little stones out of big stones,” said Anderson. “And then every once in a while, I’ll get an arrowhead.”
Anderson said people give him stones that he can chisel into little designed stones, saying it’s hard for him to find flint on the eastern side of North Dakota, so he gets most of it from the western side or other parts of the country.
“I use glass too, a lot, to make the arrowheads,” said Anderson.
Anderson said he uses the technique of pressure flaking, where he uses a wooden tool with a copper blade to pry flakes from the stone.
“The Native Americans in this country used deer horn and leg bones and smashed them so they could make tools out of them,” Anderson explained.
Anderson said he recently had a house fire that destroyed almost 10,000 pieces of his work.
“Now I’m starting over,” said Anderson.
Having done this for over 25 years, Anderson said he used to go to several events like the fair to showcase his work, but now he sticks to just setting up at the fair, saying he’s had people from over 10 different states stop by his tent over the years.
Anderson said he prefers to simply showcase his stones rather than selling them, because it would require the process of obtaining a permit at the fair. He shared what got him started in the hobby.
“I had a collection, and I wanted to know how it was done,” Anderson described. “I went to different shows like this, and watched others, and started from there. I’ve had guys who hunt deer with them. I make them the way I find them. There’s some old-time artifact collectors who have looked at my stuff, and they say it’s hard to tell the difference between mine and the original.”