Today while out for a walk, I collected a variety of natural materials suitable for use in making a simple basket.
This weekend I ran a basket making course with guest instructor Jo Hammond. We used various sizes of Willow withys to make the baskets. The willow had been harvested last winter, stored dry and then soaked in water for a few days prior to the course.
Here is Jo teaching students how to start making a basket
This is Birch Polypore or Razor Strop fungus which as you might guess, grows on Birch trees.
It is called razor Strop fungus because historically slices of the fungus were cut and used to strop razors and knives when sharpening them.
Today I have been working with Reindeer leather, making pouches like the ones you can see below.
I bought the leather from one of the stall holders here at Jokkmokk in Swedish Lapland in February this year. The market is an annual event that has been taking place for over 400 years and traditional it was where the Saami people would gather to trade their goods.
You can also make some really nice Birch bark containers as well. Here are a couple I have made recently.
This picture also features a Birch cup I made and a bone sewing kit I made for stitching the bark containers.
Birch bark is an amazing material to work with. Unfortunately the quality of bark in the UK is not good so I collect mine from either Canada or Lapland. I have used it to make some really nice baskets and knife sheaths. If you do not have Birch bark available, strips of cereal packets make a really good substitute.