As part of the Gibsons Landing Fibre Festival, held during the week of August 13 – 19, 2001, Anna Billy taught a class in traditional cedar bark weaving. Workshop participants learned how to weave a cedar bark basket using plaiting and twining techniques of the centuries-old Coast Salish tradition.
The bark was harvested for these baskets in the early spring. If done properly, the bark removal doesn’t harm the cedar trees, making this a tree-friendly fibre craft.
Weaving with Cedar Bark Class
The cedar bark is soaked in water until it is soft. The cedar strips are woven and then held in place by twining with narrow strips of rafia or cedar bark.
The edge of the basket is finished by folding the bark over. It can be folded inside the basket or folded outside to create a decorative edge. The cedar bark can also be torn into narrow strips to create a fringe.
More About Cedar Bark
Cedar Bark Traditional Gathering Methods
An article from the U’Mista News describes the method for gathering cedar bark.
Julie Joseph is a member of the Ditidaht band and has been weaving with cedar bark for over 30 years.
Haida basket weaver, Lisa Tilford, explains how she harvests cedar bark for spinning and weaving baskets.
Cedar Bark Dyes
I dyed some wool with cedar bark. Here’s how.
The Chilkat Blanket
Chilkat blanket weaving originated with the Tsimshian people and spread to the Tlingit. Wool from goats was blended with cedar bark and dyed with lichen (wolf moss) for yellow, urine and hemlock bark for brown and copper and urine for blue/green.