Friday, July 19, 2013
Gathering and Processing Bear Grass
The third week in June my husband and I took off on a week-long camping trip to look for and gather bear grass and black fern. We had heard of an area of bear grass that had burned in a forest fire last year, so we decided to check it out. Bear grass is best for weaving if it has burned the year prior, making the grass soft and pliable. Only the center shoots are gathered.
This year since we were camping / traveling for a week, the bear grass laid on the dash of our truck to begin its initial drying. Everyday, I would lay it out in the sun for an hour or two when we were in our camp site. Once we got home I laid it out on a tarp for a few hours each day in the morning sun, before it got too hot. The goal is for the grass to turn from green to a nice creamy white.
Like some other weaving materials, once bear grass has dried, it can remain usable for some years. Simply soak it well in water before using.
Next year we will be looking for another burned area.
This YouTube video takes 5 minutes.
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