Oliver Kellhammer, the artist who started the Means of Production garden came back to town to teach a workshop on harvesting the hazel wood by a method called coppicing. Generally, every 6-8 years a crop can be harvested by cutting at the base the majority of branches, leaving a few main leaders. The Hazel grows quickly, and when harvested regularly grows strong, straight rods great for weaving. As with most harvesting for weaving, winter/early spring before sap is flowing is best.
One of the things that’s great about Hazel is that the wood fiber can be softened/separated from itself and become incredibly flexible.
pictured here: Alicia cutting branches and walking up the branch to soften and make pliable.
over a few weekends we wove the branches into the common’s gate at Means of Production. This was the first harvest of hazel, and as such our wood was a bit nobly and not as easy to split as future harvests will be.
David carved a three sided cherry wood cleave for splitting the hazel
By tapping the cleave into the end of the Hazel, in theory we should be able to split the hazel wood into long strips, this was only partially successful in part due to our inexperience, but also as this was the first harvest and our wood was not as smooth/knot free as future harvests will be.