The Moon and the Furrow

Lughnasadh Organic Handkerchief

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For this seasonal release of Lughnasadh I have teamed up with May Queen Crafts who has designed a "how to" to make your own corn dolly or grain mother. The instructions are contained in the Lughnasadh booklet along with the usual feast plans, ways to celebrate and background to the design.

Lughnasadh or Lammas is roughly halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox and marks the first of the harvest festivals and at home we are really beginning to see the fruits of our labour materialise. Most evening meals are comprised of food we have grown and harvested and it seems that only recently we were worrying about not having stored and preserved enough food to keep us going in the hunger gap to wondering how we will be able to store and preserve the next glut. 

I wanted my giant corn dolly to embody both John Barleycorn and the Grain Mother. There is a darkness to this festival and as the grain is cut, many animals living in the corn may not have a lucky escape and of course, John Barleycorn must die. He dies to give us grain for bread and ale and we use both to celebrate the first harvest of the year. It is believed that the corn spirit retreats as the reapers cut the corn and hides in the last grain standing. This is then made into a corn dolly so the spirit can safely reside indoors all winter. The corn is sown in the field in the Spring, returning the corn spirit and hopefully bringing luck and abundance to the next harvest. Demeter, the Grain Mother, embodies the ripe corn and her daughter, Persephone, represents the seed and is the goddess of growth. 

This is my fantasy corn field with corn marigolds, corn poppies, cornflowers and a corn bunting. The not far off full moon, the Sturgeon Moon or Grain Moon looms in the distance. 

The border for many of my designs illustrates trees chosen for their associations with old customs and beliefs. They are Elder, Oak, Ivy and Holly. I have also included some of the phases of the moon.

Click here for the booklets and art prints.

Please note that this new release of handkerchiefs have white borders and not blue as some of the photos show. I've found that the dark borders result in the sewing machine needle marking the printed fabric too much and have switched to lighter borders on all the new handkerchiefs. 

Wash at 30 °

Every handkerchief is sent out with the explanation of where the inspiration came from and with full care instructions. 

This handkerchief is sewn by me in Wales. The image is printed in the UK onto an untreated cotton fabric certified as 100% organic. The approximate size for each handkerchief is 320 mm x 320 mm.

Also available as art prints.

Each order is wrapped in acid free, unbleached tissue paper, tied with yarn and includes a hand written thank you note. I am happy to address this to recipients of gifts at no extra cost. Just let me know in the notes when you place your order.