Two recent visitors have wondered aloud about weaving bark, and how it might be possible to retain the wet colour of the bark.  This also interests me, so I thought I would give it a try while looking after our granddaughter.   We collected some bark which was close to the house, soaked it in water for half a day to soften it, and then ripped the more supple pieces into strips for weaving.

From this process I learned a few things:

  1. Thinner, newer bark softens more quickly and is more pliable
  2. Some of the richer, darker colours come from thicker bark, which splits more easily, often in awkward places
  3. As the bark has been laying in sandy soil, one soaking is insufficient to remove all of the grains
  4. Tearing the bark into weavable strips  is a hit and miss process.  Some bark tears evenly. some unevenly, and some bark just disintegrates into shreds
  5. The bark we had collected was too short to do anything other than a small woven square mat.
  6. As the bark dries, it does have a tendency to push out, requiring some kind of finer fibre to be woven around the edge to keep the weaving tight.

I’m motivated to give this another try, and will take more notes on the type of bark collected, as well as the length of the bark strips.  So far, I have not done any research on bark weaving techniques, but I may devote some time to this over the next week or two.

Bark Weaving
First we collected bark and soaked it for half a day to soften the fibres.
Bark Weaving
The varying colours and thicknesses can be seen in this image.
Bark Weaving
The thinner the bark strips were, the easier they were to weave. Some of the thicker bark split when bending it around the warp or the weft.
Bark Weaving
While wet, the colour variations in the woven bark are beautiful.