Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Estonian Craft Camp - Wood Box

On our third day of workshops Mr. Crafty and I made bent wood boxes! This is a bit far from my usual fiber arts experience, there was splinters, saws, and maybe a tinsy bit of blood...
Our instructor usual teaches week-long classes. And thus he often starts with planing the wood from raw planks and using goose feathers for stitching. He explained the process, which involves stripping the fluff and soaking the stems until soft, but we did not have enough time for such an involved method.

 Instead we had planks precut, soaked overnight, and thin enough to bend with just soaking (as opposed to steaming.) In the background are pine roots, dug in the spring. We stripped the bark and split them, some were several feet long! Having been soaked as well they were soft and supple.
 The strips are wrapped and clipped, holes drilled, and stitched. The stitching process involves splitting the root a second time and drawing it through from behind. The result is a look like split stitch in embroidery. Pictured here are two boxes and two lids, Me and Mr.'s.

Here's where the photos become sparse as I was working frantically to finish the box that day. But, after making the sides we marked on planks the outline of bottom and top. The bottom sits entirely inside the ring of bent wood. The top, however, overhangs the side and so had to be cut down with a chisel. (This is where the blood happened...)

The entire box is free of metal fasteners, the lids were held on with small pegs whittled down from wood slivers. The end product is still sturdy and well fitted. After the sides dried they drew in and hugged the lid and bottom even tighter!
I had enough time after completing mine (and waiting for Mr. Crafty) to add some decoration. The teacher had a wonderful pyrography tool, made in Soviet times and therefore with no temperature limit. I was able to turn it up rather hot and burn quickly and efficiently. I am considering hacking my burning tool...
 Here's all the workshop participants! Even using the same materials we all managed to add our own flair in shapes and details to the box. The box came home with me filled with stones from our trip, and now holds ritual items and special artifacts.  I would love to make more! It was a reasonably challenging project for a woodworking newb, but not brutally difficult.

Check out my other projects from Craft Camp - Bone Carving & Mulgi Embroidery.

Do you want in on this awesomeness? Registration for Estonian Craft Camp 2016 is open!

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