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Thing-a-Day – January 23 – weaving a birch bark basket/vessel

February 7, 2015

Day 23 of the Thing-a-Day Challenge

Materials: Birch bark, water, wifi

I have had some sheets of flattened birch bark sitting in my studio for a couple of years.  I have used birch bark, years ago, but only in little bits enclosed in jewelry.  Maybe I made something out of it in summer camp when I was a kid, but I don’t really remember.  I brought some of the bark along with me in hopes that I would get the time to experiment with it here on this retreat.

I didn’t get terribly far into trying something new, instead falling back on an old fairly familiar form – a simple woven basket.  It was a bit of a challenge, since the bark strips were quite thin, but I enjoyed myself and I think the end result is beautiful, if only a preliminary foray into figuring out this material.

Birch bark, soaked

Birch bark, soake



I soaked the bark to soften it a bit.




Bark strips, front and back

Bark strips, front and back



Then I made strips (noting that the inner and outer colors are strikingly different and deciding to showcase that).



starting to weave the strips

starting to weave the strips



I wove a simple basket structure, but had forgotten how to finish the ends. Thank goodness for wifi!  I looked up a few possibilities online and then made up a technique that could accommodate the shorter pieces I was working with (due to my lack of advance planning – typical me in experiment mode).






Vessel exterior

Vessel interior





Enough of that.  An OK piece, but not something I feel I need to get into much more deeply here.  Done!



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