Although I make as part of my living it is still also my favourite hobby and now and then it’s lovely to work with a new material and make something just for the pleasure of it. This weekend I got out some of the birch bark that I collected on a North West Coppice Association day in the spring. It’s thin, delicate stuff to work with and needed a fair bit of preparation to clean and smooth out the surface. I followed a traditional pattern, cutting notches into each end of a strip of bark which is then curled round and interlocked. A second piece of bark is glued inside to add strength and so the inside and outside of the pot can have the smooth inner bark showing though I decided I wanted the outer bark on the inside for texture. While the glue sets I used carved blocks and wedges to press the layers together. A handy hazel stick was cleft and shaved to make the base and lid. I carved the lid with a taper so it is a snug push fit and the pot makes a satisfying subtle ‘pop’ when opened. The handle is another piece of hazel with a round tenon carved onto it which passes through the lid and is fixed with a tiny peg inside.
It seemed to occupy a lot of the weekend though I wasn’t working on it solidly and it was very pleasing and satisfying to do. I’m very pleased with the result and will definitely make some others.