For Email Newsletters you can trust

Course Catalog

Course Catalog

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 13, 2014 at the Wolf Campus in Puyallup, WA. Other options include our weekend Fall Plant Harvest for Baskets, Rope, Mats & Tonics, plus our summer Traditional Technologies: Classical Crafts of the Ancient Artisan. Call 253-604-4681 with a credit card to register or to schedule a custom class at another time or location.

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