Birch Bark Crafts

Russian Souvenirs / Birch Bark Crafts

The appearance of birch bark craft is rooted in the distant past. Ancient people associated birch with strong tree, but other properties of birch have put it in a number of exceptions.

Birch attracts people by its dazzling white bark and herbs. Everyone knows medical properties of birch sap, leaves, and birch bark since ancient times. Birch relates to an ancient way of wood usage for domestic needs.

Birch bark is easily removed from the trunk; it is processed using simple tools. It is lightweight, durable, waterproof. This is an excellent auxiliary building material, the likes of which is hard to find in the forest.

In the past, birch bark took large place in the northern peasants’ life. Widely it was used by peoples of Siberia and the Far East. Without bark it is impossible to imagine the life of a peasant. Birch bark was used everywhere, starting with toys and ending with the construction of the houses. Birch bark was used in construction as an insulator against moisture. Birch bark protects against decay due to water resistance and antiseptic properties.

Going into the farmhouse, you can see much birch bark utensils, much is needed in the household: baskets, bags, boxes, “tuesa” (like birch bark jar), saltcellars.

People went into the woods with baskets and boxes to gather mushrooms and berries. Boxes were used for storing vegetables, flour and cereals. “Tuesa” have been indispensable for the storage of dairy products, honey, fish and pickles. Saltcellars were of different sizes and types.

Firmly established birch bark in "the world of childhood" in the form of toys. Each baby had birch rattles. In the future, child was surrounded by woven from birch bark toys in the form of animals, people, and objects. The child could make a simple toy himself: balls, boats and others. The peoples of Siberia often used a birch bark cradle that was portable. Birch bark was used to make musical instruments.

There are series of truly outstanding birch artists who have won at exhibitions and competitions of various ranks genuine recognition of the professional community.

Birch bark crafts are widely distributed on the national craft fairs. They are bought as souvenirs and gifts. Birch bark crafts are popular not only among the Russian population, but also abroad. They usually present the image of the country - white birches and brown bears.

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