Tuesday, June 23, 2009

birchbark canoe

After watching this awkward little film, I am in love with the birchbark canoe.

It's a beautiful construction, and the stitching (Watan Sewn Gunwales) which follows the mid-section and wraps around the top edges of the canoe, really got me. The method for building the canoe calls for using materials available in the forest (basically all that's used is a birch tree, the thread are spruce roots, some binding goo made by boiling spruce resin) and the tools are minimal: an axe. I wasn't aware of the unique properties of birch to split into these thin flexible 'sheets' of wood. I am a little blown away by the whole process of production and the finished product.

The Algonquin tribe are responsible for the creation of the birchbark canoe, being nomadic peoples their livelihood was dependent on the quality of their transportation; necessity, as such, lead to the development of these beautiful high caliber objects.

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