Spring Willow Project

20160213_163557

Hanging on the front of our house, about four foot by four foot in size.

                                                                 

Have you ever entered an Irish home and wondered what the handmade cross hanging above the door represents?  Or perhaps you’ve seen a charm or pendant bearing the symbol that shares pride of place right aside shamrocks, harps, and claddagh rings.

                                                                    

St. Brigid’s Blessing20160211_160309

May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell

Bless every fireside, every wall and floor;

Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof;

And every tongue and mind for evermore;

Bless every hand that toils to bring joy

And every foot that walks its portals through.

This is my wish today, my constant prayer

May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.

                                                  

I made a small cross for the inside of our house and using the above willow, I made a giant St. Brigid’s cross for the outside–my welcome to spring offering, traditionally placed near doorways to ward off evil, fire, and hunger from homes.

Here is a photo step-by-step tutorial of how I made the giant cross.  Scroll over any picture to read the details of each step or click on any picture to start a slideshow.

Below is a tutorial of how the cross is woven.  It’s the normal size and uses the rushes that are typically used.  My friend Bernie shared how to make them with me and a group of friends this past Feb 1st when we gathered to celebrate St. Brigid’s Eve together.

I found plentiful common rush in a low lying field just aside our house.  The cross can be made with any even number of stems from 12 or 16 upwards.  We used 40 on the above mentioned occasion, 10 per side, but for this tutorial I used 16.  Any bendable material can be used– rush, reeds, or even pipe cleaners.

I used a darker piece of rush to start (in step 3) so it would be easier to follow the directions in the tutorial.  

Again, click on any picture to start a slideshow and to read the details of each step.

Tips and FYI: Because they can break when bent, choose a few more than you intend to use.  They can be pre-soaked in water to make more pliant, but I didn’t do so.

I chose 20 pieces of rush which I then cut to 16 inches/41 cm.  The more rush you intend to use, the larger the finished cross will be, therefore the longer your pieces need to be.  Pre-cutting isn’t required, but the rush was easier for me to handle when shorter.  My giant sized cross used 32 pieces of willow, 8 per arm. 

I hope you enjoyed this bit of Irish culture and my personal adaptation of it.  No doubt, I will post this again at the opportune time of January 2017, just in time to celebrate St. Brigid’s Day.

Happy spring one and all!  Melissa Xx

32 Comments

  1. What a clever idea to keep them folded in the laundry basket! Now here’s an item for the lads to make and sell – I’m sure there are plenty of visitors who’d love to have a St. Brigid’s cross handmade on Inis Mor! I wouldn’t’ mind one myself! I’d love to do the class – although popping over isn’t too practical just now! haha

    I never noticed the solar panels on your house before – do they do a good job? Even with “limited” sun?

    Love the little goats, by the way! Happy Spring!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Deirdre, The cross is pretty simple to make and everyone seems to enjoy making them too. 🙂 As for the solar panels, they work just brilliantly, but yes, more sun would help them to be more effective! Happy Spring to you also and Happy Easter also.

      Like

    • Ha, ha Greg! If I wasn’t before, I will from now on when my children craft with them. I actually never associated pipe cleaners with cleaning pipes, oddly enough…perhaps because I don’t know anyone personally who smokes a pipe? I had an uncle who did when I was a very small girl, but that seems another lifetime now. Happy Easter to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Celebrating Irish Spring–the Feast of Imbolc | The Aran Artisan

  3. Pingback: Happy St. Brigid’s Day 2017 | The Aran Artisan

Your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: