Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gathering and Processing Hazel

Baskets are comprised of two parts, the weavers (weft) and the sticks (warp).  Klamath River basketry generally uses either hazel or willow sticks.  Where willow makes pretty, straight white sticks, hazel is a little more zigzag, but is prized for its strength.

The best time for gathering hazel is during the spring when the leaves are just starting to grow.

Like beargrass, the best hazel is often found in areas which have been burned within the previous few years.  In fact, the area we gathered hazel from this time was the same spot where we gathered the beargrass last summer.  The best hazel sticks are long, thin and straight.  Slightly thicker sticks are used for baby baskets and burden baskets, but because of their strength, they are harder to bend.  The smaller hazel sticks are used as weavers on baby baskets, burden baskets, and jump dance baskets.

 Gathering and Processing Hazel
This video takes just over 17 minutes.
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