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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in arts & crafts

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Animal Guardians on the Roof

A while back, my husband and I came across Escape to the Country on Netflix. We love house-hunting shows in general, and we enjoyed the glimpses into the local cultures, traditions, and landscapes of different regions of the UK, where the majority of our ancestors came from. In episodes featuring thatched homes, the straw bird finials that sometimes occupy the roof lines stood out to me as a particularly interesting craft. The show didn't make too much mention of them, but it was obvious that there was more to them than mere decoration.

 

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Kitchen Witch Dolls: Modern Household Icons

My great-grandmother, whose father immigrated from Norway when he was around nine years old and whose mother was a third-generation German American, had a kitchen witch that was passed down to my mom, her granddaughter. Unfortunately, it was lost over time, but my mom remembers that it wore a long, red dress and perched on a straw broom. This is the traditional form of the kitchen witch: a long dress, usually a kerchief tied around its head rather than a witch hat, often a characteristic long nose on a friendly face, riding upon a miniature broom (or a wooden spoon!)

Over time, craftspeople have branched away from this traditional form, creating kitchen witches that reflect the various interests and needs of contemporary cooks. This is typical for folk traditions: to remain relevant, they transform over time, taking on new elements and meanings. One thing has remained the same, however: they are always friendly, always helpful, always good luck.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember a little kitchen witch over the sink in my parents house. I think one of my sisters got it after my mother died, but I

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
We are the Weavers

Ic wæs þær Inne þær ic ane geseah
winnende · wiht wido bennegean
holt hweorfende heaþoglemma feng
deopra dolga daroþas wæron
weo þære wihte ⁊ se wudu searwum
fæste gebunden hyre fota wæs
biid fæft oþer · oþer bisgo dreag
leolc on lyfte hwilum londe neah
treow wæs getenge þe þær torhtan stod
leafum bihongen Ic lafe geseah
minum hlaforde þær hæleð druncon
þara flan on flet beran

The Anglo-Saxon riddle above falls in the group usually classified as 'domestic' items: better to call them work tools. The aim of the riddle of course is to disguise a very familiar object with an unexpected description. Here's Paull Franklin Baum's translation (because it is hot even in Scotland, too hot to come up with my own translation!):

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Lots of great info in Max Dashu's book: https://feminismandreligion.com/2016/09/19/weaving-and-spinning-women-witches-and-pagans-b

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Fiber Art Success With the Goddess Frigga

Here's another story of abundance made manifest. When I made the Northern Lights Goddesses Brew, I included dried linden flowers and leaves to honor Frigga. I still had some after making it, and I decided to use some to make a brew specifically for Frigga. The Frigga Brew flavor was linden and vanilla. When it was ready, I raised a toast to Frigga with it. I also brewed tea with the dried linden, and raised a toast to her with hot tea. 

Frigga is a mother goddess and the queen of Asgard, but the aspect of her with whom I relate best is her aspect as patroness of fiber art. I first connected with her fiber art aspect while I was spinning at a Renfaire, but after that I have been connecting with her when I do hand embroidery and when I make quilt tops and turn my hand embroidery into finished projects such as bags. 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Corn Dollies: A Harvest Tradition

Since I can remember, my mom has had two small corn husk dolls. I’m not sure where or why she got them, but it was before I was born, so they’ve always been there, through all my family’s moves from city to city, country to country. Even now, they’re nestled among other knick-knacks in the enormous Bavarian schrank my parents keep in their formal living room. They are quaint, dainty little things, and they’ve always held a kind of mystery to me that, for a long time, I couldn’t quite pin down.

As an adult, I learned that corn husk dolls originated among the Iroquois, and the tradition was picked up by European settlers who had similar traditions. In some ways, corn husk dolls are the indigenous American cognate to European corn dollies, which are usually not so much “dolls” as we think of them as they are decorative objects taking a variety of shapes: hearts, handbells, lanterns, horseshoes, to name just a handful. Another difference is that corn dollies are often made of wheat, barley, or oat sheaves, not the ears of maize used to craft corn husk dolls.

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  • Hugh Gadarn
    Hugh Gadarn says #
    Fascinating. I find corn dollies intriguing and there are examples in early Britain. On the eve of St. Bride's day girls used to m
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Thanks for sharing, Hugh! I love learning about the similarities and differences in corn dolly traditions across European cultures

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Flower petal & herb crafts

Creating beautiful craft items with flower petals, seeds and herbs is relatively easy, here are a few suggestions for you to try...

Flower Fascinations

Fascination means ‘to bewitch and hold spellbound’, they are flower spells and charms.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Crafting a Valknut for Odin

Coming up on the one year anniversary as a Bride of Odin on June 28th, 2015, I asked Odin what he wanted for our anniversary, and he said he wanted something to represent him in my "shrine." I clarified with him what he meant by shrine, and he meant the glass display cases on the wall where I had recently starting putting spiritual souvenirs. So I made a Valknut. I made two, in fact, one for the monthly anniversary which is every 28th of the month, on May 28th, and one for the one-year anniversary on June 28th.

I made the first valknut from silk ribbon on a silk hoop. I made the template for it on the 27th and made the art object itself on May 28th. The paper template helped me put the points of the triangles in the right places. It was interesting making a val-“knut” (knot) as a fiber craft, with the lines of the triangles crossing over and under each other like a real knot.

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