Celebrating Birch (Paperback)
  • Celebrating Birch (Paperback)
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Celebrating Birch (Paperback)

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£17.99
Paperback 192 Pages / Published: 01/11/2007
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If you think of birch as simply a wood to work with, think again. For centuries, this legendary tree has been vital to the survival of mankind and is celebrated by cultures around the world. In this stunning salute, the "North House Folk School" will delight your curiosity with the fascinating history and myths of the birch, while sharpening your woodworking skills with 15 beautiful projects that include carved ornaments, turned bowls, bark baskets and more.

Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing
ISBN: 9781565233072
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 726 g
Dimensions: 9 x 11 x 13 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"The beautiful photograpy makes this book a perfect option to leave on your coffee table, too." --"Mother Earth News"
"The projects, beautifully and clearly illustrated with photos, are ones that students of the folk school would tackle and range from the simple and small to the more complex." --"Lake Superior Magazine"
"Guides readers through 15 craft projects including carved ornaments, turned wooden bowls and folded bark baskets. It also explains that birch was used to weave shoes, clothing and even make primitive roof shingles." --"Woodshop News"
"First place winner in the Art/Photography category of the 20th Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards"
"This extraordinary book introduces the birch tree in a truly engaging way." --"Cook County News-Herald" (Minnesota)
"Excellent photography and clear photos of procedures make up this wonderful tribute to traditional craft." --Woodcentral.com
"If you want to know how to weave a mat, carve a spoon, or make the components for a game involving throwing logs, plus several more, this book is for you, and if you delight in beautifully illustrated volumes, and have a love of heritage, you'll want to read it by a glowing fireside." --"Router & Power Woodworking," UK
As long as the living layer under the outer bark isn't destroyed, the tree isn't damaged, Mayo explained, and the bark will grow back. He noted that harvesting birch bark in state and national forests is illegal. North House Folk School gets its birch bark by asking the U.S. Forest Service about who is cutting birch for lumber or pulp and wouldn't need the bark, Mayo said.
This book was created to celebrate ten years of instruction at the North House Folk School in the village of Grand Marais, Minnesota, on the north shore of Lake Superior. The non-profit was formed by "spontaneous combustion" according to its editorial board, and what began as a single kayak building class is now 249 classes, 91 instructors, and over 1200 students from 33 states and five countries over the course of one year. Word really got around. Celebrating Birch covers everything from "Birch Splittin Bitter, Icicle Lickin Sweet Root Beer," recipe included, to woven bark baskets, birch tar, spoons, carved bowls, turned bowls, throwing logs and carved toys. There are instructions on harvesting the tree: the leaves for medicinal tea, the sap for a sweetener, the roots and bark, even fungi to be used as food and medicine. A lesson on the botany of the tree is a thorough lesson in hardwood anatomy as well as facts specifically on birch. Lore and Legends is an entertaining chapter telling the worldwide traditions and symbols of the birch tree, bringing together history and myth to describe the significance of this widely dispersed species in many cultures. Excellent photography and clear photos of procedures make up this wonderful tribute to traditional craft. School founder Mark Hansen says, "This is about doing, making things happen, and finishing something. There's a healing that happens when you work with your hands. It's not about efficiency; it's not about proficiency. It's about learning to be a human being with all your senses." Up in the far north woods, it sounds like sombody is getting it right.
The step-by-step photos will guide you through each project. In addition to the beautiful photography throughout the book, the "Lore and Legends" and "Biology and Ecology" sections make this book a perfect option to leave on your coffee table, too.
The projects, beautifully and clearly illustrated with photos, are ones that students of the folk school would tackle and range from the simple and small to the more complex.
Celebrating Birch: The Lore, Art, and Craft of an Ancient Tree, by instructors at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn., was written to "honor a tree that has been significant to the well-being of civilizations in the Northern Hemisphere since the last ice age." It guides readers through 15 craft projects including carved ornaments, turned wooden bowls and folded bark baskets. It also explains that birch was used to weave shoes, clothing and even make primitive roof shingles. Other topics of discussion include the tree's biology and ecology, how to harvest birch, and how to use different parts of the tree, such as using sap to make glue, soap and beverages.
Excellent photography and clear photos of procedures make up this wonderful tribute to traditional craft.
Subtitled "The Lore, Art, and Craft of an Ancient Tree" and compiled by a not-for-profit organization called the North House Folk School, this book sets out to demonstrate how former cultures relied on birch forrests for more or less everything, and then shows us how we can, through craft, still honour this tree. North House is a woodworking and boat building school on the shores of Lake Superior, Minnesota, and is run by the man behind the book, Greg Wright, on the lines of the Norwegian folk schools. Birch bark was formed into a tar used for lining and repairing pots, was woven to make shoes and was used for writing on. Finely ground bark was added to flour to stretch out the supply, and taxes could be paid with it. Oh, and its sap was an ingredient of root beer. All of this research makes a fascinating backdrop to utilising the timbe for making items ranging from skis to more mundane bowls, and most of the book is devoted to various members of the folk school demonstrating traditional crafts using birch. If you want to know how to weave a mat, carve a spoon, or make the components for a game involving throwing logs, plus several more, this book is for you, and if you delight in beautifully illustrated volumes, and have a love of heritage, you'll want to read it by a glowing fireside.
There are step-by-step instructions on how to create 20 different practical objects from birch, including a woven bark basket, carved box, and turned wooden bowl.
After teaching traditional hand crafts for a decade, Minnesota's North House Folk School commemorates their tenth anniversary with a celebration book, "Celebrating Birch" in honor of the natural resource that has sustained northern culture throughout history - the birch tree. The birch tree was an essential resource, as was all landscape, for centuries. Birch bark, wood and sap were invaluable assets central to everyday life. Traditional crafts preserve that bond and are a link to our common past. North House Folk School instructors guide readers through fifteen handsome craft projects, including carved ornaments, turned wooden bowls, folded bark baskets, and more. Years ago birch was used to weave shoes, clothing and even primitive roof shingles and was thought to have protective and medicinal qualities. Many of these crafts are a union of our past and present through the preservation of skills handed down through the ages. The North House Folk School, located on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, MN, is made up of master craftsman who facilitate courses in woodworking, woodcarving, basketry, timber framing, boatbuilding and more. Their goal is to preserve traditional crafts of the past by teaching their practical use in today's modern world. This book is 192 pages beautifully designed with full-color photography throughout. The reader would learn a great deal about how to use different parts of the tree, such as using sap to make glue, soap, or beverages. Also, the reader will read about how to harvest birch and about the tree's biology and ecology.
The book shows, in step-by-step fashion, how to make 20 traditional crafts, including those with roots in Scandinavia. It's the first book printed in English to do so, Pollock noted.
So much here is written and photographed, displayed and exampled, the reader feels completely versed in everything there is to know about birch - not botanically as much as pragmatically.
CELEBRATING BIRCH from Fox Chapel Publishing offers readers the secrets of not only how to build numerous great objects of art from birch trees but is also richly illustrated with detailed photographs. Further, the book offers an intimate look at the ecology and biology of birch trees. This is an important book and should not be overlooked by anyone interested in fine craftsmanship and the art of working with birch.

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