By Jaana Rehnström
In today’s world, when we all just sit at our computers and type away, it is refreshing to get to do something creative and three-dimensional with your hands.
Elaine Moe, whose four grandparents all came from Finland, came from Massachusetts on a Saturday in November to instruct a small group in birch bark weaving - an old folk tradition in many northern countries, including Finland.
Birch bark is harvested from trees 3-4 feet at a time. This allows for it to grow back (although apparently it’s slow, takes about 10 years) and thus does not harm the tree in the long run. Where logging is planned, you can go in the days before and harvest the entire tree. Birch bark is also sold commercially but in the raw state. That means you still have to do all the work to remove the outer layer and cut the bark into ½ - 1 inch wide, long strips.
It actually took about three hours to make one Christmas ornament! But the results are beautiful. Elaine also showed us some beautiful small baskets which are even harder to make. If there is interest, we can arrange another course, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.