After procrastinating for ages over where to get birch bark without shamefully nicking it off trees at the local nature reserve (am already in their bad books for putting up a hazelpole bender for local kids to get drunk and light fires in), i realised that the wood dumped on my boat roof several months ago by tree surgeons is, of course, silver Birch and Cherry. Duhh! But looks like these workshops are meant to happen.
So, went at a log last night with a potato knife from the 1970s as I have lost both my bushcraft knives. Surprisingly good results, except the bits over the knots. Beautiful colour changes in the bark layers. Art paper to be made, maybe?
Even Ray Mears threw in the towel at this point and used glue, but i succeeded in using another smoother log as a form and a rubber band from some asparagus to hold my bark confection together long enough to slowly slip it off whilst clumsily pushing coarse string through holes made with a cup hook end. Apparently your’e supposed to use ‘spruce roots’ to tie it together, but i draw the line at the gratuitous killing of a spruce tree just to tart up a container, and best to not chop trees down in the close neighbourhood of a crawling baby!