11 December 2008

Birch Craft at West Moss-Side

In early October I went to West Moss-side Farm near Stirling to attend a yurt building course. When I was there I signed up for another class, to learn how to make Christmas decorations and other items with birch bark, roots and twigs. Birch is a native species in Scotland, silver birch in particular thrives in our cool, damp climate and you never have to travel far to find one. So discovering what you can do with the bark of a birch tree was pretty fascinating.


Native Americans long used birch trees to create baskets, wigwam covers, canoes etc. and we were looking at uses in a modern setting - decorations, baskets, jewellery etc. Starting with sheets of bark, stored in piles like paper, we made small baskets and star decorations. Using small strips with holes punched into the ends and layered onto a twig and then dipping in boiling water, created the most amazing spiralling decorations....it was fascinating to watch. We also wove a basket which was the first time that I have tried this and it was fun - quite fiddly, involving lots of fingers and clothes pegs but I was pleased with the remarkably sturdy basket I produced.

As ever, the food, the hospitality and the tutors at West Moss-side was second to none! Here's a few of the things that I made, that will be decorating my home this Christmas.


7 comments:

Bethany Hissong said...

That is SO great that you got to try it! There was a PBS special on Artists and their crafts and one woman who was my favorite, made birch bark baskets that were more works of art than utilitarian. I need to find that for you! You'd love it now after having such a hands-on appreciation for it!

amy said...

what amazing pieces of work! i would LOVE to learn to do this (also i would like to learn to weave a carpet). i am plotting my move to the middle east!

Bethany Hissong said...

I just tagged you! See my blog for directions!! ;))

life in yonder said...

How lucky you are to have the oportunity to takae courses like that.

By the way, I can't wait to see the result of your messy table. I love your felt goodies! Have a wonderful weekend!

taimarie said...

This is inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

jojo-caramel said...

Lucky you ! So wonderful ! Your home will be nicely decorated ! Beautiful photos too !
ps - I did add your link in my favorites :)

sosser said...

i love birch trees and anything made from them. looks like an amazing craft experience!