Cedar Wing

Cedar Wing

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gathering Cedar Bark

Here's my crew!

Asha and Calla are in charge.

The owners of this property have decided they need to remove these two Western Red Cedar trees.
Passiko and Dean waited to get them cut down, until the sap was up, so that we could gather the inner bark.

We've all made our personal apologies to these beautiful cedars for what we are about to take from them.

Their skin!

But since these trees will be cut soon, a part of them will also live on in my work and the work of my students.

At IslandWood and Suquamish Elementary, I'll be working with 224 students in the month of May.

I am grateful that Spence, our eldest son, has grown up with a deep love for nature, being outdoors, and for making things.  Particularly for making beautiful Timber Frame buildings. (http://westtimbercraft.com/)

Because Passiko and Dean know the value of this culturally important living material, now Spence has an opportunity to teach is children about gathering the bark.

And here is my little studio, built in 2007 by my sons Spence and Jeff, and my husband Paul. 
(Please see more beautiful timberframe work at http://westtimbercraft.com/)  

Here is where all that bark is now layed out to dry inside. 
Not much room for me right now, but that's OK.

Thanks - to these two beautiful cedar trees - to Passiko and Dean for sharing - and to my bark gathering crew!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Images of Winter Work

What is it?

It is Pacific Madrona bark.  My first chance to work with it was this summer after we had to cut down a beautiful old, but injured tree, that happened to be precariously leaning over our old house.  The only other sculptural basketry in Madrona I'd ever seen before was made by Canadian artist Joan Carrigan, who is my total inspiration here.  She mentioned that she was inspired by Dorothy Gill Barns, another, whose work I've always found intriguing and imaginative.

This picture above is taken in a Madrona Forest.   I would never want to cut a Madrona down unless it was absolutely necessary.   There is something almost "human" about these trees.  They lean into the prevailing winds and seem to dance as they grow.  They reach from one direction, then to another, as if they were spinning or twirling in delight. The bark is soft like skin on some parts of the tree, some is pealy, and some bark is hard and scaly.  And this is all on one tree!  If you've never had the chance to see the setting sun linger on the limey-green fleshy bark of a Madrona tree, with the crimson curls of bark back-lit....well, I hope someday you will...it could be considered one of the natural wonders of the world.

Madrona Bark with Stone

Iris Woven With Cedar Bark

How many more natural wonders are out there each day for us...when we take the time to look?

Art makes us look.

West Gardens Harvest Baskets – at Persephone Farm, Indianola, WA - June 1, 2011

What could be better than eating delicious locally-grown food from Persephone Farm, or a CSA in your area?  Well, how about picking up your CSA share each week in a beautiful West Gardens Harvest Basket, crafted by local artists Melinda West and Laura Llewellyn! West Gardens Basketry, located in Indianola Washington, has been in the business of creating baskets from the Northwest Landscape for over 25 years. The roots of this plant-fiber-weaving craft are ancient and universal, nurtured by an ongoing appreciation for the plants that grow in local landscapes and gardens.

West Gardens Harvest Baskets are made for use in the garden and for carrying produce, but their functions are limitless, from home decor, to storage, to gift-giving.  Each basket shape is unique because of the character of the sustainably-gathered apple, plum, hazelnut or willow branches that are used for the handles and the ribbed construction.  Bonsai wire lashes handle to rim making these baskets famous for their strength and durability.  West Gardens Harvest Baskets come in two models with price ranges that reflect the size and materials used in each.

The Heirloom Harvest Basket is made entirely of local hand-gathered, prepared materials, which include Western red cedar inner bark gathered in a respectful manner from trees that were destined to be cut down. Vines, like akebia, periwinkle, ivy; willow twigs; split cedar root or limb; cattail, bulrush, iris or sweetgrass; may also be used as the weavers.  West Gardens Heirloom Harvest Baskets range in price from $160 to $380.

The Basic Harvest Basket is made of locally gathered branches, Bonzai wire and purchased rattan has been hand-dyed, painted, or stained, with food-safe finishes. West Gardens Basic Harvest Baskets range in price from $80 to $240.

Each year we create a few dozen baskets before the branches loose their 'bendy' ability. But by that time, like you, we are ready to be outside in the garden again.  We are grateful there are people who understand, embrace, and support the growing and eating of poison-free local foods, and the craftsmanship of local artisans.

My Husband Paul's Pea-Patch