Well, a day or two turned into a week later. But I finished the bark seat I started a week or so ago. I have always woven these in two sessions, letting the first weaving dry & shrink before finishing the seat by adding more strips. I have no idea how other people do them, this method is what I learned & it works for me.
First thing is to let the first round of weaving dry. As the strips dry, they shrink in width. So then you pack them tight again, filling in the spaces that opened up between them. Below is the seat in the middle of this process – I was moving the side-to-side strips toward the back of the seat. You can see the rear-most 6 rows have less space between them than those toward the front. Notice how much space is opened – enough for another full strip. So I finished knocking these toward the rear, then the warp (front to back strips) moved over to our left.
I’ve always called this “packing” the weave. It might be a basket-making term, I’m not sure. The seat is dry at this point and those strips are tough. So you can’t just slide them, I knock them with a short block of white pine. Top & bottom. It’s tough going.
The result is below – so there’s a good bit of space to fill. One full strip & two partial strips on the side. One full in front.
Re-wet it. I don’t wet the whole seat again, just the areas where I’m going to work. Top & bottom.
And then weave in the new strips, tucking them into the weave below as well.
Then snip off the last ends under the seat.
Then I wove the next one.
This bark had been split in half when we took it off the tree, but it was still too thick. So I thinned it with a spokeshave after soaking it. A little frustrating – but every time I try to use a drawknife when the bark is in strips, I slice through it. So spokeshave it is. I didn’t shoot any photos of that process – but here’s one from a few years ago. It’s a slow process, the bark gums up the spokeshave a lot. Sharpening helps.
The bark has a very different look from the first seat here. This is the top half of the split bark – the other is the inner-inner bark, if that makes sense. This is the part directly below the outer bark. Very stripey. Here’s the seat when I finished weaving it, as it dries it won’t be so bright. We’ll see it again when I finish that seat – next week I hope.