In the process of gathering cedar bark I cut down the entire tree. However I use different parts of the tree for different purposes, and nothing is wasted. After cutting down the cedar tree, I cut all the limbs off, leaving a short stub on the trunk so the bark will lift off more easily. The peeled trunk is put aside and is used for landscaping, bridge building and kindling wood. The cedar bark that I peel off, is processed into weavers, and is one of my favourite materials to use for basket weaving. Large branches and small diameter trunks form the legs for twig furniture. Smaller branches are put to one side and are also used in twig furniture. This year however, I found a new use for the small cedar branches that I haven’t thought of before! I love it when I get a new idea that I am pretty certain will work out successfully. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this idea before!!
In the past, I have often peeled vines and used them for basket frames. I have peeled basswood branches for wall weavings. I almost always include peeled willow and peeled dogwood in my baskets, but I have never peeled cedar branches with the intent of making a basket frame. Impulsively, I decided to peel a pair of small cedar branches, exposing the creamy coloured wood that I knew was underneath. Then I carefully bent and flexed
the cedar branch over my knee so it would bend to form a fish basket shape without breaking. This worked well because the branches were so fresh, so I made several fish basket shapes and wired each pair together. I have set these frames aside in my studio to let them dry out. If I keep them out of the weather they should slowly age to a yellowish patina.
I will use the peeled cedar frames in my basket courses this summer, and I look forward to using them myself to add to my basket repertoire.