The Birch Bark Experiment

Real birch bark twig frame

As a fiber artist whose work is always original, most of my pieces are totally experimental. In my head, my ideas always work beautifully. In reality, some do and some don’t. Never discouraged to the point of giving up, if one idea fails miserably, there is always another to take its place. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

After visiting the Adirondack Museum and viewing their collection of birch bark twig frames, I thought such a frame would be the perfect compliment to the Fall lake scene I had just completed. Sounds simple, right? Not if you want to make it on a sewing machine! After giving the idea a lot of thought, mostly in the middle of the night, I decided to give it a try. Through much trial and error, I found that, if peeled away in very thin sheets, birch bark harvested from dead trees could indeed be sewn on my trusty “never say die” sewing machine.

Having conquered the birch bark, it was now time to make the twigs that would decorate the frame. The solution, a mottled brown fabric cut into bias strips and sewn into tubes, then filled with cord. To give the illusion of nail heads, I attached the twigs to the bark frame with grey French knots. Success!

TAA! DAA! My Adirondack Twig Frame!

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