My discovery of using cedar bark for basketry happened over two decades ago when a cedar tree had been cut down in the spring on my family’s property on the Sunshine Coast. For some reason, I started fiddling around with the bark and to my surprise it peeled away from the tree with ease. I realized, “this must be how the First Nations people peeled the bark to make baskets”! That is the moment when my journey and fascination of basket weaving captured my enthusiasm for this ancient craft.
The making of a cedar bark basket entails a lot more preparation than a kelp or tule rush basket. Once the bark has been harvested and had months to dried, I soak a round of bark in a tub of water overnight, then I will cut and split the bark into desired pieces. Once I’m done with this process, half of the basket’s work has been complete. I love incorporating the use of kelp, wild cherry bark and tule rush into some of my cedar baskets. The contrast of the colours and textures brings an aesthetically pleasing attraction to the eye.