Prepared By Alexander Kotelnikov

The most common material used for making wicker products in Russia is twigs of willow (or vine).

Plaiting is used as a green (brown bark) the twigs and sticks and debarked (peeled bark) the twigs and sticks.

Before you start weaving, you need to learn how to prepare the bars: to determine the places where grows the willow, a good time cutting, and also to be able to process and store raw material.

The main raw material of basket weaving are one – year old shoots of bushy willows (Loza). They should be straight and flexible. With smooth surface and color. How to determine suitable rod for weaving, or not? Just. Cut off the rod and wrapped several times around your finger. Suitable can lead to any number of times without breaking. Now look at the cut of the rod. It is divided into 2 parts: core and wood. The less friable the core and the more woody shell, the stronger and higher the quality.

The willow rods are harvested in different seasons: in spring, in the early growth of the rod (when the buds); in the summer, at the end of growth (July – August); autumn, after the full maturation of the rod, when the leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off; and winter, before spring Bud swelling. Spring – summer billet rods called juice. At juice rod bark separates easily, using Semliki (see Chapter "Tools"). Its wood is white, especially after the bleaching in the sun. Spring rod can be cut, sometimes until mid-may, when the resulting young shoots will begin to form the 2nd and 3rd leaves, and summer – in late July and early August. But the twigs, cut at this time, wood still does not reach full maturity, the tops of herbaceous, stems not very flexible and often break down.

Autumn – winter harvesting starts at the end of the "Golden autumn", ends in April, prior to the beginning sokodvizhenija. The bark of the twigs harvested in this period is removed in one of two ways.

The first method is by using heat treatment. The twigs are boiled in water, after which the bark is removed with semilly (see Chapter "Tools"). Cooking time depends on the type of willow, and what color rod you want to. If necessary lightly tinted rod, it is sufficient to boil it for 30 minutes, and to get a thick dark color – more than 2 hours.

The second method of removing bark from sticks harvested in the winter and autumn – the artificial revival of rod. The rods loosely associated in bundles, placed in a barrel or in the digestion, the butt, i.e. the slices down and pour 15-20 cm from the bottom of the clean room temperature water and then put in a warm, bright room. It is necessary to ensure that the rods do not "drank" all the water. If there is little water left, add. After some time, the rods swell the buds, then the leaves (and sometimes, if you long to keep the rods in the water, you can see the roots). After 10-15 days, you can try semilly to clean the bark. If the bark moves bad, then let the bars stand a few more days.

The remaining neproverennye and debarked twigs store in winter in a not heated room. Without any compromising the quality of the bars can be stored in the open air, buried in the snow. Twigs of willow, harvested in winter and autumn is the most valuable material, as the wood of these rods are durable, flexible and elastic. The cleaned rods are kept tied in bunches in a well ventilated barn or shed. Store them in humid conditions it is impossible – they are covered with mold. In dry and warm room the material is stored for several years. The cutting of the rod should be carried out according to certain rules. The rod is cut with a slope to drain the water up. The cut should be smooth, not tearing the bark. When the billet comes with garden shears. Leaving the workpiece, it is necessary to have: semelka (summer or spring), garden shears or knife, bag, cord, gloves, first aid kit.
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