Woven Birch Bark Backpack
This is the granddaddy of woven birch bark projects: the beautiful, functional birch bark backpack. The course will begin with an introduction to sustainable techniques for legal harvest. Students will then use hand tools to prepare the provided bark strips and then weave them into a backpack, measuring roughly 9"-10" x 11"-12", depending on material selections. Students will choose from two designs: either a birch bark base with a hand-stitched leather flap, pocket and straps, or a slightly smaller, all-birch pack with a bark flap and leather straps. All backpacks will be woven using the diagonal plaited pattern. This project uses fresh bark, which has a surprisingly different feel than working with older bark. Because of the quantity and quality of the bark needed for this project, it will only be offered once per year in a small class setting. Although no prior weaving skills are necessary for this class, all students will be expected to process their own weavers, which requires good hand dexterity. Some experience working with your hands is helpful. Most students have found this class to be harder than expected.