Crafting Corn




Crafting Corn

The 'Ceres' Project

Ceres - Mythology in brief

Ceres - Life giving godess of agriculture, grain and harvest.

In Roman mythology, Ceres provided mortals with plants, food and vegetables. She gave them the ability to cultivate wheat, as well as showing them how to plants seed, nurture and harvest them. She is even attributed to teaching humans how to grind grain into flour which they could turn into bread.
One day, while Ceres was attending her duties her daughter Proserpina wandered off to admire a beautiful narcissus flower. As she bent down to pick it the ground opened and Pluto emerged in a chariot pulled with black horses. Proserpina was grabbed and whisked into the underworld.  

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Ceres searched endlessly for her daughter, neglecting her duties on earth. Plants whithered, animals died and famine ravished the earth.
In mythology freedom from the underworld can only be achieved if nothing has been eaten in it. As the world could not continue in the state it was, the gods agreed that as Proserpina had eaten 6 pomegranate seeds, she could be freed for half a year and spend half a year in the underworld.
And so....it was believed that the story explained the seasons of the year. The time spent away is Autumn and Winter. The daughters arrival brings signs of hope, fertility and fruitfullness for Sprin and Summer 

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The project

The project used folklore, rural heritage and craftskills as a backdrop for a show with a story which explored the history of rural life, local justice and the lives of 18th Century women through the rituals and customs of the time. It used circus, physical theatre, music and storytelling and was totally amazing
It was a colaboration between DOCA , Bassline Circus and Full Tilt Aerial. 

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The Workshops These drop in workshops catered for all ages and abilities.The aim was to create objects from corn which were used in the show as decoration for the set, the actors or representing offerings for the goddess.

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The 3 Strand Hair Plait

Anyone able to weave a hair plait was able to choose from these projects. One plait could be shaped into a simple favour which could be used as an offering to Ceres in the play, while 2 plaits could make a beautiful heart

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4 Straw Compass Plait

Possibly easier than the 3 strand hair plait for a person who had never plaited was the compass plait.The board displayed a few simple shapes from one or two plaits. 

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The Arrow Plait

The arrow plait. This proved more complex. However the ankh was an appropriate item for the show.

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Glory Braids

These are developments of 3 strand plaits. These plaits are particularly suitable for paired working as two people can help each other to remember the sequences and there are more hands to hold the strands. 

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Cages/Combs

These provided plenty of opportunity for variation of a plait

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Cathedral Plaits

Simple Cathedral plaits provided decorated 'offerings' for Ceres. Some participants chose to make several and join them into a cross, while other participants made interesting shapes by combining plaits. 

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A goddess?

One of the larger items made

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A corazon

This design is beautiful. Single corazons were used by some actressess as necklaces. They had a very middle Eastern feel.  

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A tree?

This was another items worn as a piece of jewellry by the performers. 

Scenes from the workshops

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Personal LearningI was fortunate to attend a workshop with Ashley Peevor, fashion designer interested in wearable nature.Reeds were used for these items but straw can be used.

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Tying damp reeds to string

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Weaving the reeds to make a more solid 'fabric'

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Layers bound together

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A shaped bodice.

Images from the show

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Decorating.....

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...many sides.....

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.....of the shrine

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Beautiful necklace on the right. Unfortunately I can't claim any credit for the masks.