Birch Bark Containers with John Manthei

Saturday, June 14

During this day long class we will make two containers from a single section of green birch. The tree is harvested in the spring when the bark is "slipping." We will first remove a cylinder of bark into which we will fit a wooden bottom resulting in a container called a tues. We will then make a shrink pot with the remaining piece of log by hollowing it out and fitting a dry wooden bottom to it. The green wood cylinder will then shrink around the bottom resulting in a tight fit. You will learn how to decorate the containers and make lids as well. The tradition of these two containers has been around for over 2500 years and they have been used to store milk, water, butter, tinder, tobacco, coffee, tea, salt and more. Rectangular shrink pots were even used to keep rats from eating Bibles.

About our instructor:

Long-time Alaskan, John Manthei, is a carpenter, furniture-maker, carver and teacher. He has been working with wood since he was a youngster. John is one of the founders of and an instructor for The Folk School Fairbanks and Week In The Woods.

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