I was happy to celebrate Youth Arts Week at The Roundhouse by giving workshops on hummingbird nest baskets. Students from Elsie Roy made some awesome bird buntings and they were really good at weaving the wool around the weeping birch twigs.
I've been gathering the weeping birch twigs for weeks, especially after the strong winds we've been having. The trees prune themselves by dropping their brittle twigs. My neighbor was delighted to find me collecting them and she showed me the traditional way to gather long bundles of twigs, and knot them to use for kindling. I wanted these twigs to be pliable, so I soaked them in warm water for about 40 minutes before we used them.
As you weave and tighten the yars, the twigs naturally start to bend upwards.
Once you make a basket you can hand attached it to a twig and install it in your home or hang it outside in a tree and fill in with lichens, unprocessed cotton and seed fluff that hummingbirds can use to make their wee nests.