We were lucky to spend Tuesday in the barn at Meadow View Farm in Easthampton MA, learning the traditional art of Pine Bark Basket Making from Native American teacher Jennifer Lee. It took her years to create the patterns we used to create our baskets. The process is fascinating and beautiful. She hand harvested all of the bark we used from a felled tree. Meadow made a large berry picking basket, a waterproof basket option was also available. Amazing as it sounds, you can fold up Pine Bark and create a waterproof container! What a beautiful way to spend a day, surrounded by wonderful people, all working very hard to learn this amazing traditional handcraft!
The baskets are made of Pine Bark, and sewn with Spruce Roots. You can harvest roots without harming a tree, as long as you take less than 30% of the roots. Jennifer said it is almost impossible to hand harvest 30% of a root system, and she hand harvests all materials she uses in basket making.
What an amazing day, and what a beautiful hand craft to learn about! I am so grateful that we were able to experience this! Hopefully we learned enough to give another basket a try here at home. It is quite a process, but worth the effort!