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Learn About the Art Form

About the Ancient Art of Birch Bark Biting

A birch bark biting is a very unique piece of Indigenous artwork.  They are made from by biting an image, using only the teeth, into a thin, single layer of birch bark from the birch tree.  Birch bark had many uses historically, from making canoes and cooking pots, to medicinal uses. Birch bark bitings were used as a means to create bead work patterns on clothing and moccasins, to share stories and to record ceremonies.  Birch bark biting is an extremely rare skill in modern times, and the rarity of the art form makes them even more special.  

The artist begins by peeling a strip of birch bark from a birch tree and works to peel a very thin, single layer of bark to begin working with. Then, by carefully folding the bark, the pattern imagined is pressed into the birch bark, using only her teeth. Because each piece must be created individually, birch bark bitings are like people; no two are exactly alike! 

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