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Having worked in a gallery with Native American fine arts, with a number of
really excellent birchbarck basketmakers from the midwest & Canada, I can
tell you that it is really important to gather the bark at exactly the
right time of the year. If it is too cold or too warm, the bark wont handle
correctly, and it may actually kill the tree. I don't know the temperature
range - most people in our area gather in late spring, I believe. I think
that separation, flattening, etc. are done when it is fresh.
You may want to do some research on the birchbark basketry process before
you start. Sorry I cant be more specific.
Good luck!

Robyn ElizaBeth Priestley
Painted Turtle Design
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