Whenever I am feeling low, lost or bored (or frisky, creative, alive – it goes both ways), I turn to plants and flowers.
One of my favorite ways to work with plants is to make plant crafts: wreaths (this post is about Capricorn season, but the photos are about making a festive holiday wreath), floral crowns, hanging displays, garlands, floral arrangements (almost every post has a floral arrangement in it, but this one was probably my favorite), plant weavings. Not only are plant crafts beautiful decorations, it is so satisfying to craft with plants.
In this post I am going to share an easy way to make a floral crown that you can wear and dry.
Plant Craft Therapy
I still love creating teas and botanical body care products and incorporating plants into rituals. And I love gardening as always. But working with your hands to create a plant craft is somehow even more therapeutic sometimes.
When I am making herbal teas, I often am formulating, even if in the back of my head. I can’t help it: I love formulation and my mind and spirit gravitate towards it.
But this often emphasizes a diagnostic part of my thinking.
There is nothing wrong with this. It is just that I need to balance the rational side of my brain (even if I’m intuitively formulating for a ritual I am still doing so rationally, if that makes sense) with time working with my hands.
When I feel the bodies and fibers of the plants in my hand, I am transported to a circle of elders and ancestors. It really feels to me that a transpersonal energy comes in and sits next to me, as if to say, “my dear, I see you are creating with the plants. In doing so, you invoke us.”
Sometimes I could hook up electrodes to my body and do an fMRI to see what my brain is doing at these times (I often think that when walking into Powells Bookstore, that place is like an instant mood lifter and time bender). All I know is that it feels great.
So here’s to the plant crafts, their types too many to name but on a base level involve working with the bodies of the plants within your own hands.
Let’s Revisit 2013
I have had various blogs since I started blogging in 2007. Once I had a blog called “Fall Into Place Blog: A Plant-Filled Life”.
Unlike my herb blogs, Fall into Place was essential just dedicated to beautiful plants. It was not a place to talk shop about herbal medicines, but instead it was where I posted photos of the ever lovely plants I encountered.
Recently I had a hankering to check out this old blog of mine, so I asked my computer geek husband to revive it. After scrolling through posts, I landed on the one I am going to share with you today: creating a floral crown.
This blog entry was written in June 2013. I was two months away from graduating from Chinese Medicine school and was absolutely positively burned out.
As usual, the plants were medicine to my soul. I was so obsessed with flowers that I took a few flower arranging courses, some in town and one online. In the back of my mind, I wondered if I could incorporate flower arranging into my future herbal and acupuncture endeavors?
A sad reality of urban development
2013 was a strange time for Portland.
The finical crisis of 2008 led to banks not issuing loans for all sorts of development, whether commercial or residential.
In 2013 banks began to lend again. This meant that all the shelved housing and commercial construction projects that were halted were given the go…and tons and tons of empty lots, abandoned homes and broken down buildings were all bought and developed within a few months.
All my favorite empty lots where I harvested medicines and flowers, held rituals, generally connected with the land and majorly regulated my nervous system all disappeared at essentially the same time. Not to mention the homes of creatures and pollinator habitats.
The flowers from this blog post were from one such empty lot. It was a friendly, wild place I visited daily, for years.
Then POOF! It was gone.
I considered my own white privilege and colonialism (I have ancestors who came over on the Mayflower) in this experience of watching the wild places be developed. In other parts of town this led to gentrification and the housing prices to skyrocket, turning Portland into a mini San Francisco where local people, particularly people of color, could hardly pay to stay in their own neighborhoods. I thought of the how this entire country was stolen from indigenous people and carelessly developed, sacred lands trampled and monuments ruined.
This is all to say that when I see these photos, it is bittersweet. But through it all, the plants were and still are here to offer solace.
So here’s the blog post…
How to break from reality aka Make a Flower Crown
It was finals week. My willpower was failing, and I needed an escape…an escape into flowers!
Flowers have been my drug of choice, my fantasy world and sensual destination for this spring and summer.
I know it is a distraction.
I know that there are other “more important” things to do, but yet I let my self indulge into the floral world. Perhaps you could say it was my coping mechanism against the fatigue-inducing, seemingly endless terms of grad school.
The project for the week of Chelsea Fuss’s Floral Arranging 101 class was to make a floral crown. I knew just the place to gather flowers, the trusted empty lot down the street with all the flowers.
I have made floral crowns in the past, recently using thread or wire to attach my foliage to the wreath. Actually, most floral wreaths or crowns were crudely weaved together stems; I hoped they would stay together.
Making many (about 12) floral-tape wrapped mini bouquets to attach (again with floral tape) to the per-measured crown as we were instructed was by far a superb method. Each mini bouquet was its own exercise in color, form and combination. Each one was slightly different.
Bachelor buttons of many hues, yarrow, white and red clover were my materials.
This empty lot has lent much inspiration to me this year, providing poppies and harvests of red clover, yarrow and wild carrot. The floral crown smelled divine! So aromatic with the sweet clovers and pungent, dry and bitter yarrow.
How to make a Flower Crown
Super Handy Flower Crown Supplies:
- Floral tape
- Thread-wrapped floral wire
- Thin green wrapping wire
- Many stems of flowers and plants
How to make a flower crown
- Gather flowers and/or plants
- Make at least 12 mini bouquets of 3-5 stems and wrap with floral tape (of course, sting will do, but floral tape is about 10x easier, quicker and sturdier, it is easy to find and cheap at bigger craft stores like Micheals)
- Weave together 2-3 thread-wrapped wires into the size of crown you desire
- With thin green wrapping wire, fasten the mini-bouquets to the crown base, overlapping as you go so the flowers butt against each other
- As you add the last 1-2 mini-bouquets, weave the stems under the steams of the one in front of it to make it seamless
Wear your flower crown and receive the blessings of crafting with the plants 🙂
More Plant Crafts, Please
This flower crown project is part of a Plant Craft series.
Be sure to check out the next part of the series, Nature Weaving Wall Hanging Tutorial. And check back next month for more Plant Craft projects to come next month.