Thursday, June 9, 2011
Poplar Bark Baskets!
We spent the first half of class today working on our black ash baskets. We were all in different stages of the process. I spent class working through the frustrations, but eventual joy, in weaving. Some students went on to put the rims on their baskets. Liz finished hers. Check it out! Pictured as well is Bru finishing up the rim on her beautiful basket.
During the second half of class we learned to make baskets out of Poplar bark. Poplar is also known as Quaking Aspen and Popal. This project proved to be nice and easy compared to the tedious work of making the black ash baskets. Here are the steps we followed:
1) Using a safety knife, we made slits down a nice, smooth section of the tree. The longer the piece, the wider the basket, the wider the tree, the taller the basket.
2) Next, we peeled the bark off of the tree. It is amazing how easily the bark slides off. Jodi told us that the wet, inner part of the Poplar makes for good sunscreen.
3) Now we can form our baskets. With a knife, we cut an eye-shaped line running about half-way through the bark in the middle of the bark piece. This allows us for a bottom to the basket when we fold up the two sides.
4) We then stitched together the two sides to close up the baskets. We used nylon string and a baseball stitch.
5) Using a slice of leftover bark, we stitched on rims for the baskets. The inner-side of the bark is on the outside for this piece.
And that's all! There are many opportunities to be creative with these baskets and each one is very different because all trees are different. These baskets will dry out and harden. I love how much these baskets look like the material that we were using. We completely transformed the look of the bark that we used for the black ask baskets. These, however, remind us moreso of the trees we used to make them with.