Class Theme: Backcountry Crafts

Making Natural Rope, Hot Pads, Bark Baskets, Sitting Mats & More:

Beautiful Basket of Edible Salmonberries

Beautiful Basket of Edible Salmonberries

15 Minutes: Plants Overview, Best Books & Online Videos – The first few minutes of class are jam-packed with information, including which books and videos to avoid, how to use the most important plant guides including Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, People of Cascadia, and Botany in a Day.  We’ll overview the classification of plants so that you can recognize them easily in the field, and we’ll show links to the best youtube videos on basketry and other natural fiber crafts.

15 Minutes: Harvesting Materials – The first 15 minutes will flow into the second 15 minutes, as we take what we learned about plant identification into the field. Depending on your location, we will harvest a variety of plant materials that are excellent for fiber crafts, including grasses, rushes, cattails, nettles, fireweed, ivy, cedar bark, vine maple, hazelnut, rose, dogwood, willow and more. However, harvesting restrictions abound, so we will bring many of these materials with us that you can use for projects today.

15 Minutes: Processing Materials – The next 15 minutes is another natural flow into processing the materials we harvest. There are some materials you can use right away, especially if you are going to “lash” things together. But for most materials, you need to dry them first, then usually re-soak them before using. Why? If you use “green, unseasoned” materials they will shrink, and your baskets, mats, rope and other crafts will loosen and fall apart. Drying the materials first allows them to shrink, and wetting them again makes them pliable.

15 Minutes: Making Rope & Jewelry – We will use cedar bark, stinging nettles, fireweed, or another natural plant fiber and teach you to make rope. Then we will take the beautiful rope you made and craft necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry that you can keep or give as gifts in the future.

15 Minutes: Making Hot Pads & Window Shades – Cattails are great insulators, and we will show you how to cut, arrange, and weave cattail leaves to make a small hot pad that works great for mugs, hot plates, and other uses. The same design, on a larger scale, can be used to make insulative, roll-up window shades!

Survival Camp Grass Mats

Students collecting grass to make Sitting Mats

15 Minutes: Making Sitting Mats & Sleeping Pads – Grasses are also great for insulation, and they are easy to bundle into sitting mats that will keep you warm wherever you sit, guaranteed! The same design can be used to make insulative camping pads so you don’t have to buy therm-a-rests at sporting goods stores any more!

15 Minutes: Bark Baskets – It takes a good amount of time to make traditional woven baskets, so you’ll have to come to our Saturday, November 16th workshop in for that. Instead, you can make a quick basket by folding certain bark materials correctly, and lashing them with green bark from willow and other trees!

15 Minutes: Finishing Up – We’ll save time at the end of class to help you finish the crafts you started.

Class Locations:

Next Regularly Scheduled Class: November 14, 2014 at the Wolf Campus in Puyallup, WA. Other options include our weekend Fall Plant Harvest for Baskets, Rope, Mats & Tonics and Finishing Crafts for Utility & Gifts workshops, plus our summer Traditional Technologies: Classical Crafts of the Ancient Artisan week, as well as custom programs in the following venues:

Bellingham & Sumas at the Sumas Community Center & City Park, Village Books in Old Fairhaven, Western Washington University, and other venues by request with instructors Charlie Borrowman, Bill Baroch, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Snohomish & Skagit Valley at Deception Pass, Edgewater Park, Shambala Farm, Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater, Sultan City Park, and other venues by request with instructors Charlie Borrowman, Bill Baroch, Jason Patterson, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Seattle and the East Side at the UW Burke Museum, Center for Urban Horticulture, Good Shepherd Center, Bellevue Community Centers, Lewis Park Environmental Center, Lake Sammamish State Park, North Rose Hill Woodlands Park Shelter and other venues by request with instructors Charlie Borrowman, Megan Damofle, Jason Patterson, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Silverdale, Kitsap & OlyPen at the Clear Creek Interpretive Center in Silverdale, Fort Townsend State Park near Chimacum, and other venues by request with instructors Charlie Borrowman, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Olympia & Chehalis at Stan Hedwell Park, Centralia Community College, Millersylvania State Park, Burfoot County Park, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Evergreen State College, Grayland State Park, and other venues by request with instructors Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Cle Elum – Ellensburg – Wenatchee – Yakima – Tri-Cities at Central Washington University, Irene Rhinehart Park, Umtanum Canyon, Gigkgo State Park, the Yakima Museum in Toppinish, Columbia Basin College, Whitman College and other venues by request with instructors Nicco Minutoli, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Spokane & Couer D’Alene – Pullman & Lewiston at Riverside State Park, WSU and other venues by request with instructors Nicco Minutoli, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Portland, The Dalles & Vancouver WA at the Columbia Springs Environmental Center in Vancouver, at the Oregon Sierra Club, Peninsula Park Community Center, Tryon Creek Natural Area, and other venues by request with instructors Charlie Borrowman, Patrick Wiley, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Eugene, Salem, Corvallis, Albany and the Oregon Coast on campus at the University of Oregon, on the coast in Florence, and by request in other venues with instructors Charlie Borrowman, Patrick Wiley, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Medford, Ashland, Klamath Falls, Madras & Bend, Oregon by request with instructors Charlie Borrowman, Patrick Wiley, Kim & Chris Chisholm.

Northern California, Central Valley, Bay Area & SoCal by request with instructors Charlie Borrowman, Patrick Wiley, Kim & Chris Chisholm

Other Class Topics During the Academic Year:

January: Wilderness Survival Skills including Bow Drill Fire Demo

February: Natural Navigation, Map & Compass, Lostproofing, & Orienteering

March: Local Wild Edible Plants & Backcountry Herbal Medicine

April: Safety, Tracks & Bird Alarms in Cougar, Wolf & Bear Country

• May: Backcountry Gourmet Camp Cooking Class

• June: Special Week of Classes at the Wolf Campus in Puyallup

October: Climate Change Training – Lifestyle, Debates, Emergencies & Carbon Sequestration

November: Backcountry Crafts – Making Rope, Berry Collecting Baskets, Sleeping Bag Mats & More

Register:

Call 253-604-4681 with a credit card to register for any of these semi-monthly classes. Start anytime. No prerequisite. If you are unsure as to your final balance, just make a deposit of any amount to guarantee your spot, then contact us with the names/ages of those attending, and you can pay your balance at class. Thanks!