Tulip Tree : Tulip Tree Baskets

Tulip Tree Baskets

Tulip Tree Baskets (Douglas Elliot, 1979)

Baskets made from Tulip Tree bark is an important staple of the people from Appalachia.  These baskets in the past were seen as important carrying devices before the day of plastic bags.  Traditional Tulip Tree baskets are made from young Tulip Trees.  The best time to harvest the bark to make baskets is in the Spring and early Summer because this is the time with the heaviest sap flow and the bark is easy to remove.  The bark of the Tulip Tree is excellent to make baskets with because it is a very pliable bark and can be easily shaped.  Different barks have been used in the past, but this is the preferred bark of people of Appalachia because it is so flexible.  

Ken Peek, a woodsman and excellent basket maker learned to make these traditional baskets from author Richard Schneider who wrote Crafts of the North American Indians- A Craftsman’s Manual.  On his website (link reproduced below) he shows you step by step how to create baskets made from Tulip Tree bark and the tools and materials necessary!