April 2015, in the mountains of eastern Norway the snow is thick and almost blindingly white, great to have the time to slow down, fill the stoves with wood, press the music play button and get down to some craft work.
Repetitively making relatively simple items such as birch bark knife sheaths over and over again is the only way to make something fast enough to a saleable quality. The birch bark we are using came from a local log building company in Vingelen who use vast quantities of birch bark sheets as a traditional means of water proofing roofs before turfs are fitted. The quality is adequate for roofing but for craft work it can be variable, you have to take the good with the bad and work with it.
When making birch bark sheaths I always think of basket makers who have to work fast, accurately and intuitivly, no time to waste on inadequate material and the right amount of hand pressure has to be maintained throughout, recognising in advance when a problem could occur and if it does put it right quickly.