10-day Bark Container course in Sweden
“Of all the gifts that nature gave the Native American, bark was one of the most useful,” a quote from the book Wildwood Wisdom.
Bark was used for countless purposes and was indispensable in the daily lives of many peoples. Shoes, vessels, pots, pans, drinking utensils, cutlery, backpacks, bags, tinder, rope, insulation, roofing, lighting, clothes, hats, toys, you can’t think of it crazy enough, even art was made with it.
During this unique course we will mainly work with birch bark. For native Americans, the birch is a sacred tree with many legends. But not only for native Americans, but also for the old East Slavic and Asian culture, the birch is considered an invaluable tree of life.
During this course you will be taken into the craft of many cultures and ancient peoples. From the ancient East Slavic culture of the former great Russia to the First Nations from the northeastern America. Each culture has a different approach when making a bark container. These may even vary by region.
We will tell you everything about how birch bark is harvested and the different methods. And not only birch bark but also the bark of other trees we will discuss and treat such as spruce, es, cedar, lime, etc.
With this course we will work intensively with bark. We will start with simple projects so that you get used to this beautiful product and gradually we work our way to a complex project.
Working with bark is not difficult if you have the right knowledge, in fact, it is very fun, gives a lot of satisfaction and is extremely addictive. Below is a global planning of what we are going to make:
Small projects of birch bark
These small projects will leave you surprised because on the one hand they are so simple but on the other hand so incredibly fun and useful. They are also useful for getting used to birch bark. We’re going to make a star, a bookmark, a cube and a knife sheath. We will also make sets of sinkers and floaters that we will attach to a fishing net and thus try to catch fish. Nice to make something useful on site from birch bark.
A braided basket of birch bark
After we have the taste, we start working on a slightly larger project: a braided basket. Learn how to prepare and strip bark. Then we will treat the cross-weaving technique.
A Native American basket of spruce bark
We will also work with spruce or pine bark. We will collect these and will learn all about this beautiful material. This form of containers were mainly used in the collection of food such as berries and mushrooms. You can also make larger packs that were worn on the back.
A birch bark Tavlinka (old Russian pot for valuables)
This is a very special project. A Tavlinka is a Russian jar where valuables such as jewellery and chewing tobacco were kept. The interesting thing about a Tavlinka is that it may look complicated but is in fact very simple to make. But the result will leave you stunned.
A First Nation berry basket of birch bark
A folded piece of birch bark! A bark container that originates mainly from the northeast of America. Best known is that of the Ojibways and the Penobscots. Often beautifully decorated with hunting scenes or daily life activities. We are also going to work here with birch bark and spruce root.
A Skolotni of birch bark (waterproof container)
We conclude this unique journey by making a Skolotni, a waterproof container for storing milk, honey, flour, salt, etc. A complex project with a lot of techniques and skills.
In the immediate vicinity we will look for resin and roots. Resin for making a glue combination for waterproofing some containers and roots for all the stitching of the different containers.
As you can see, many techniques and projects are discussed. Of course we will also enjoy the beautiful surroundings and if possible, that depends very much on the quality of the birches on location and the weather, we will also learn how to collect birch bark from nature.