Monday, March 25, 2013

How to harvest Cedar Bark

How to Harvest Cedar Bark video tutorial

Last year (2012) during the summer, a group of urban weavers headed out to Squamish Country to harvest some cedar bark with Haida weaver Todd DeVries, demonstrating.

at láx’i = inner bark
ts’uu ḵ’uj = cedar bark

Gathering Cedar Bark illustrations by Hilary Stewart in "Cedar: The tree of life"

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Cedar Bark Bracelets

All orders are made on a commissioned or pre-paid basis. No purchase order will be shipped until payment has been made, via cheque, money order or email transfer. Once payment has been received, orders will be shipped within 1-2 days.

Please inquire
about my

Cedar Bark Bracelet
& Braided Headband

(not available for individual resale)

Table Wares

Coffee Mug Coasters

Open Weave Table Mat

Napkin Rings

Tableware’s are all custom made from 100% Western Red Cedar harvest in BC, Canada and available for individual purchase by commissioned order.

Cedar Bark Hats

Traditional Haida Hat
- 15" circumference, 7" high
- fine twilled weave
- custom headband fit
- no design or patterns

Nul-chul-nulth Hat
 - fine twilled weave
- also available with
chaser twill weave

Boaters Style Cedar Bark hat
- available in sizes
medium, large & xlarge
- fine twilled weave
- also available with chaser twill
- 100% western red cedar bark

All hats are available for individual purchase. Please email me for prices and additional info.

Traditional Haida Hat
- men’s style, 15" brim
- chaser twill weave


Traditional Haida Hat
- large, 17" brim
- chaser twill weave

Top Hat
- large, size 23"
- chaser twill weave


Square Plaited Basket

ChaserWeave Berry Basket

Potlatch Gift Baskets

All Baskets are handmade from 100% cedar bark harvested in BC, Canada. Occasionally I have some already made, and can post additional pictures, per request. Happy to make to measure too.

Berry & Gift Baskets

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weaving a plaited basket

It is quite unnecessary to describe one basket after another in the weaving art world, for they are so much alike that after one has made a few simple shapes he or she is able to copy anything that they may see, or to invent new designs for themselves.

The Haida word for these simple plaited baskets is k'áaduu, or small basket made from thick strips of cedar bark. This article will focus on using the cedar bark cut into various widths, but any kind of wide material can be used such as a five strand braid, or other kinds of tree bark, cattails, even wood splints. The method of construction used in these baskets is similar to the spider weaving exercise. Both present the question of whether or not to weave with an even or odd number of warps. If you decide to choose an odd number of warps, your weft can be one long continuous spiral around the basket. If you choose to use an even number of warps, each row of weft lies on top of the other. When finishing the edge of an odd number of warps, care has to be taken to make sure the edge is even and not sloped to one side, which can be remedied with lots of practice.

Plaited baskets are woven with a flat, square or rectangular basket. Both the spider and plaited baskets have warps and weavers. The weavers go over and under the warps, both when plaiting and twining.

Take 4 strips of cedar bark cut to 1/4" width. These strips will be your starting warps. When determining the length of these strips, be sure to include 1 or 2 inches extra length on each side of the basket for pulling and tucking. If you wish to make a 3" basket like the one shown in the picture above, measure your warps 3" for one side + 3" for the base + 3" for the other side + 3" for pull and tuck = 12" or a foot. Start by interweaving the centers of these four strips.

Continuing adding warps, keeping the ends sorta even, the weaving part centered, with the long warps in one direction and the short in the other if you are making a rectangular basket. Weave the warps over and under, making a plain weave pattern. As you weave, keep the warps at right angles, or perpendicular to each other and watch to see that the gaps at the crossovers are square or non-existent.

If you are using a mold, plastic square, or wooden block, to weave around, place it in the center of your weave and check to see if you have enough warps to evenly cover the base of the block. To keep your base together temporarily, use cloths-pins in the corners to keep your warps from moving around. At this point you can decide whether or not to twine the edge of your basket base with a thin weaver. This will be helpful too in keeping the base from shifting as you work with it, and for decorative appeal.

After the base is woven, bend the warps which will become the sides of the basket, using a flat ruler on the edge of the basket base, and bending the warps up at a right angle. If your bark is getting a little dry, dampen it with a water spray or dip it a pail of water and soak a minute.

Since this basket we are making has a even number of warps, you will begin and end a weaver on each row and overlap the ends across 3 or 4 warps. If this basket had an odd number of warps, you could spiral the rows with one long weaver.

Because this basket has an even number of warps, each row is separate from the previous row. When adding new rows, place the overlaps of the ends of the weavers on different sides of the basket. This will keep the basket strong and avoids bulkiness showing up on one side of the basket. End each row with the weavers ends hidden behind a warp. Every couple of rows or so, stop and awl each row down so that it is snug with the previous row, eliminating any gaps.

To finish the edge of your basket, tuck all the rows, and cut the ends of the warps if you like to a point or a slant so that they will be easier to weave back into the basket. If you feel the bark getting a little dry, and cracking, soak the basket for a few minutes upside down to wet the rim and warp ends. Tuck the pointed warps back under the first 2 or 3 rows of weavers into the basket using a awl to help lift the rows. Pull the warp down and through, so the the fold is snug against the top weaver row and cut off any excess below the 2 or 3 row. Pull and tuck down all warps evenly to make a nice rim. Optionally a handle can be added using a braided strand.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How to Weave a "Spider"

Many times, when I started out weaving, was to learn how to twine. Not sure where to start, I looked for a teacher, and in 2005 I learned how to twine with cedar bark.

Much later, through demonstrating my artwork, and sharing my weaving methods, the "Spider" has been a teaching aid for beginner weavers who want to learn how to make firm, durable, practical baskets.

Everything you need to know about weaving or twining a basket, you learn from the "Spider." How to start the beginning weavers and warps, how to twine with two weavers, inserting new warps, and finishing the borders. I recommend making at least 30 or so of these "Spider’s" before the beginner will feel comfortable with the material, its strength, flexibility, and tension.

Starting a basket base or Spider

Often the mistake is made by not using enough warps to make the work firm and durable, and unnecessarily lumpy. And a close border cannot be made in a satisfactory manner if the warps are too far apart.

Start by cutting 7 or 8 pieces of either cedar bark (1/8th inch wide) or split english ivy vines. Overlay 3 warps over 4 warps. Loop your weaver or weft around the 3 warps on the left, with one weaver going under the four warps, and the other weaver going over the 4 warps. Continue with the weaver (over the 4 warps) and go under the 3 warps, with the other weaver, going over the 3 warps. Continue with the over and under to finish the row.

Care must be taken that the warps are evenly separated by the time the third or fourth row is twined, so that warps come out in a straight line from the center.

Beginners often find it difficult to make a basket that will stand straight and not tip to one side. No matter how careful one has been to make the bottom flat, it will bulge some in the center. To avoid this, the weavers should not be drawn too tight, as the "spider" or basket base, must be kept flat. Weaving on a table top or cutting board and this can be easily managed. While weaving with the weaver, place the thumb on the center, and pull on weaver tight enough, but not too tight, for an even strong twine.

After the second row of twining, you can start separating the warps and twine each individually. Careful to keep the warps evenly spaced. If your current row of twining has a gap from the previous row, use an awl or chop stick to press the rows together. Hold onto the warps as you do this.

It will be necessary to hold down the end of one weaver, to prevent it slipping, until the other weaver is passed over it, which binds the previous weaver firmly into place.  Traditionally Haida weavers start on the left and work the weavers to the right. So, your mantra for twining is: taking the weaver on the left, passing it over the warp your holding and under the succeeding warp. Let go of the warp you twined over and hold on the succeeding warp. Repeat the mantra until you are ready for the border and the "Spider" is almost finished.

If an extremely long weaver is used, it will make a nice small "spider" with any splicing or inserting of weavers. When inserting a weaver, make sure the old weavers overlay the new weavers for 4 or more twinings before being trimmed or cut off or tucked in.

To add a border to your "spider", make sure the weavers are long enough to complete another row or two of twining. If not insert a new weaver. The warps should be of uniform length. Cutting the ends to a point will help pushing them down between the weavers. Leave the first loop open, until the whole edge is complete. There are many borders to choose from, but for now learning one is enough, and give you a good idea how other borders are finished. Reading is a good resource, and have many creative finishing edges to pick from.

And now you have a finished "Spider". Making 30 of these is good practice, and will help you remember beginning the base, and adding borders. Twining is the easy part, so in a spider there is less twining, and more learning how to start and end. Spider’s are also useful items when completed, and can be used as coffee mug coasters, small pendants, or two sewn together to form a small pouch, etc... have fun weaving.