It is that time of year when firewood piles are appearing in driveways and the cold weather is filtering in. I see bark everywhere and in this bark I see art. Bark is so interesting to look at, with all of the crevices and contours, as well as the color variations and textures, moss and lichen. It can be left rough or made smooth, carved, cut, chiseled, planed or sanded. I used to start the fires in my wood stove with bark. It is a great fire starter. Now I consider other uses for the bark before I burn it. Many of the larger pieces are saved for artistic purposes, and only the little bits that are left over from the art make their way into the wood stove.
When I am out driving I often see firewood piled in driveways. I sometimes stop and ask for bark scraps. If you are piling up your winter store of firewood and have some large pieces of bark that have fallen off, please consider donating them to a worthy cause before throwing them into the fire. Curved and straight pieces of bark from most hardwoods, especially maples, are very welcome. It does need to be thick, a quarter to a half inch or more. I do not use red oak bark because it is very tough and stringy to work with. I use bark from the area towns that are close to Townsend, MA, local bark you might say, so no insects or tree diseases are transported from other areas. However, if the bark is very dry and aged it could be from somewhere else.
In the meantime you could visit Gallery 529 in Littleton, MA, at 529 King Street, and see a few things that I have made from bark. There is a lot of great art at the gallery, about 30 artists at the moment. It is a great place to do some holiday shopping. www.gallery529.com
Nancy A French
Recycled Art, Wood, Felted Wool, Tree Bark, Branches, Woodcarving,' Re-purposing, Wool Sweaters, Nature, Fairy Houses, Tiny Tree Houses, Firewood, Twigs, Creativity.