Birch bark easily has a 1000-year history of use in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, and Russia. In this class, you will learn the many uses of birch bark from two seasoned instructors with rich and varied experiences. We will begin with how to read and process bark for a variety of projects. Instruction will continue with the making of the essential basket fid, and move from simple rings, scissors, and knife sheaths to more complex four-cornered baskets and oval boxes. This is an excellent class for beginners and more advanced basket makers, young and old alike, or parent/grandparent and child combinations. Come and be amazed by the birch. There is a small materials fee, payable to the instructor.
Fred Livesay made his first spoon at age seven and has focused his life and career on traditional handwork ever since. He trained formally as a wheelwright and carriage-builder and then went on to study Scandinavian folk art with Marion Nelson, as well as decorative arts and art history, eventually receiving an M.A. in museum studies. Thirty-five years of teaching and studying in the United States, Sweden, and England give him a clear understanding of the joy handmade objects bring to everyday living; the healing art of craft; and the meditative connection between head, hands, and heart. Fred is a founding instructor of North House Folk School and of the Spoon Gathering in Milan, MN. Fred is a sought-after teacher of craft nationally and internationally.
Beth Homa-Style is a full-time basket weaver in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. After studying painting at Hamline University and working as a caseworker for the homeless in Baltimore, she interned at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. During her internship, Beth learned many traditional crafts including boat building, but mostly different styles of basketry. This sparked her obsession with birch bark, which is now her main medium. She locally and sustainably harvests and processes her own materials by hand. Always trying to come up with new and usable birch bark items, she explores the mathematical grids of weave patterns using traditional techniques to make custom orders. Beth teaches birch basketry classes at North House, American Swedish Institute, the Weavers’ Guild, as well as hosts an annual Basket Camp. Through communal learning, public demonstrations, and facilitating harvests, she shares her love for this durable and beautiful material with people.