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Siberian Birch Bark

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Siberian Birch Bark

Birch Bark has been a popular material in Russia for hundreds of years. Relatively abundant throughout central Russia and Siberia, birch bark is waterproof, and has the same antibacterial properties as many other wood products. For centuries birch bark baskets, boxes, canisters and other containers were used for practical purposes such storing grains and liquids, serving food, as well as decoration.

Contemporary birch bark craftsmen in Russia use the same basic techniques today as their predecessors did centuries ago. The process begins by collecting good quality birch bark that can only be gathered for a short time in early summer and is generally taken fro the trees that are already marked for cutting. Craftsmen cut and depress birch bark blanks, creating multiple layers and lacy designs. Stamping with metal dies is still the main artistic technique that is used to decorate blank boxes. All natural marks and texture of the birch bark remain intact throughout the process of manufacturing. These natural markings make each item unique.