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Wood Craft / Brich bark weaving

Birch bark weaving

All throughout history birch bark has been used all over the sub arctic regions, for many purposes and in many ways.

Sweden has no weaved bark artifacts older than the 15th century. In Finland there are many prehistoric archeological finds of weaved bark, so it is believed that bark weaving came here with  the Finnish immigration during the 15th and 16th centuries.  Bark weaving is a common craft in the Finnish areas in Värmland, Dalarna and south Norrland.

Bark for weaving is usually harvested in strips by cutting or tearing it in a spiral.   Those strips do not follow the grain, or fibers, of the bark and are consequently not as strong as strips cut from harvested sheets of birch bark.

 


Common items made from weaved bark were:

Back packs. Being waterproof, light and insulating, they were made for children as well as for adults. They were used to carry food when hay making or sheparding in the woods.
Shoes. They were easy to make but not very durable. The distance you could walk before wearing them out was called a bark shoe mile.
 Sheaths for knifes, scythes and other tools.
Baskets, straight or diagonally woven, often with the rim reinforced with roots.
Salt bottles and woven boxes, occasionally with wooden bottoms and lids.


Flätat näver / Woven birch bark

Flätat näver / Woven birch bark