Instructions for Making a Quilled Birch Bark Pendant
Cut a small disk or other simple
shape out of birch bark.
Draw your pattern on the bark
- make sure the decoration will be on the pinkish/orange or brown
side of the bark (the inner-most layer).
Make two perforations for the
first quill using a triangular awl from the surface to be decorated
through to the underside of the bark. The hole on the decorated
side will appear somewhat large (don't worry - it's actually hard
to get your adjacent holes too close together.), while the hole
on the underside will appear as a pin prick or a small slit.
Insert one end of the quill through one hole from the top (decorated side)
through to the underside of the bark.
Use your fingers, tweezers, or
pliers to pull the quill through the hole so that about ¼
inch is left visible on the bottom side.
Making a staple shape, bend the
quill back down and insert the tip of the quill through the second
hole and use pliers to pull it through to the underside so the
quill is taught (but don't stretch it too much).
If the quill is very long you
might be able to use it to go through the next pair of holes.
If the ends of the quill are too long even when they are bent
over, you can trim them to 1/8 inch. (Be REALLY careful what
happens to those nasty little barbs you trim off - you REALLY
don't want to get them in your foot or in your food!!)
Continue making pairs of holes
and inserting each quill as in steps 4-7. If you are clever you
can use the dark ends of the quill to your advantage, incorporate
them into your design and get a 'shaded' effect.
With the quilling complete you
have to make the backing for the pendant. Trace the decorated
piece against a new (preferably a little thinner) piece of bark
with the 'good sides' together, (inner-bark sides pressed together).
Cut out the new bark backing and
press it firmly against the underside of the quilled piece. (With
your third hand) hold a little bundle of grass against the seam
on the edge of the pendant and whip stitch every 1/8" to
¼". Stitch around the coil and through the layers of
bark until the bundle is stitched on all the way around the perimeter
of the pendant.
Cut a hole (using a drill or an
awl) for the pendant, or for a more contemporary option, glue
on a pin backing.