Blog: Autumnal Crafts

It has surprised me that even during this topsy-turvy year, the turning of the seasons still brings the same kind of shift in energy. As the summer ends, I no longer feel like I have the attention span for research; when my poetry teaching begins again this month, I will also lack the time. But instead, I find myself to have lots of inspiration and creative energy. So, perhaps there will be fewer Folkdays, and more Blogs — and that’s just fine. Here are some of the autumnal crafts I’ve been creating most recently!

I am drawn to all manner of treasures. My main collection is of crystals and gemstones, which are just so beautiful and fascinating. I see little snippets of folklore as treasures, too, and learning about different beliefs and customs is an enchanting act of discovery.

Nature is full of treasures, and this is no more evident than in autumn, when acorns, conkers, pine cones, and seed pods abound. Different trees and plants produce such a vast array of colours, shapes, and sizes, and the act of gathering them up feels really wholesome. Perhaps this lies within our deeper instincts, from the time when humans were hunter-gatherers. Either way, I love to seek out such treasures when autumn comes — I just never know what use to put them to, once they’ve been collected.

As you can see from the photos above, I gathered a decent haul of these materials while out on walks. Acorns are particularly good, as they are plentiful, and their size makes them quite good to craft with. I also gathered the seeds from sycamore trees and plane trees, and wild rose and sorbus berries, to dry out and decorate with.

Using some willow branches my parents had at home, I created some wreaths by bending and knotting the wood. When the wood is freshly cut and still green, they can be quite easily twisted into wreaths, without the need for any string or wire to hold it together. Even when the wood dries and browns, it should still hold its shape. I then worked to cover these simple wreaths with the treasures I had gathered, and loop a piece of ribbon through it to hang by.

I baked the acorns lightly to dry them out and lessen the shrivelling; they also go a lovely golden brown colour. I used a sturdy needle to poke holes through them while they were still relatively soft, and then used thin copper wire to attach them to the wreath. In addition to acorns, I also included pine cones and poppy seed pods, before adding a few sorbus berries into the small gaps that were left.

And here’s my first attempt! I love the way the different autumnal shades blend together, and I am really proud that I managed to completely cover the willow frame so that almost no green can be seen!

My plan is to keep collecting autumnal treasures while I can, and make as many wreaths as possible. I have some other plans with different materials too, but that will have to wait until another blog post! If you make any kinds of woodland crafts, do let me know, I’d love to hear about them.

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