Due to the popularity of the winter woodland workshops we decided to add a summer workshop to our events, which some volunteers thought was good enough to miss graduation for!
Mark Lloyd returned to run the workshop showing us how to do bark weaving.
|Mark giving a health and safety talk at the start to the team|
As this was a shorter than normal workshop, Mark had pre-prepared harvested inner bark, but he showed us how to harvest bark in a short demo.
|After scrapping off the outer bark, the inner bark is scored|
|...and peeled carefully|
|The freshly peeled bark was passed around, it almost felt like supple leather.|
The harvesting process does involve either removing a tree or cutting branches of a certain size. This should be a tree which you’re already going to remove due to management, or a well-established coppice where the stems are thick enough for the work (which won't unnecessarily kill the tree).
Dried bark made flexible for working by dunking it in simmering water for a few seconds.
|Cutting a straight bit is much trickier then you would think!|
|Longer than expected|
Mark showed us the weaving technique and also talked us through establishing the length of the strips needed.
|Mark talks us through the maths|
|Anam and Amtul quickly get the hand of creating the base|
The base of the basket was the relevantly easy part to do with many of us trying for different patterns on the base, or sides…the tricky part was weaving the sides.
It took most of us a while to come to grips with this part of the weave and this was the quietest that we had been as we all concentrated in getting the first three layers of the weave in place.
Once we managed to get past the third layer, things were a little easier.
|New sustainability team members get weaving|
We finished the tops of the baskets with some binding, using either very thin strips of bark, or, for those of us who were more ambitious, bark string, which Mark showed us how to make. A lot of string had to be made so we only ending up with two of the team deciding to go for it, but it was surprising how much string they ended up making.
|Teaching us how to make string|
|Julia and Melissa knuckling down to make enough string to finish off their baskets|
|Weaving to the finial moment to get baskets finished|
|Plenty of variation in size and design|
|Oma finishing off his basket|
|First use of a basket|
|A satisfying end to a fun afternoon|
A big thanks to Mark and the volunteers for a great afternoon in the woods.