The Harvest Goddess
Known by many names, the Harvest Goddess has been celebrated by cultures around the world for centuries. Celebrations are still held to honor her to this day with festivals that mark the end of summer and the gathering and storing of foods to last through the leaner months of winter.
A local scarecrow festival was being held at Art’s Nursery here in Surrey BC and although the theme was based primarily around scarecrows… I felt that my contribution should represent what Sow and Dipity is all about and to honor the deity which symbolizes the spirit of autumn and the bounty of the harvest.
I am very happy to announce that Sow and Dipity has partnered with some amazing brands this year. As a rule, I will only promote products I believe in and that match my set of values. In exchange for the generous samples they send me, I am proud to demonstrate them to you.
My life sized replica of a corn dolly is made from corn stalks, grasses and dried flower heads.
Corn dollies, corn mothers and corn maidens go way back in many cultures. The basic idea in some traditions was to save the last husks of the harvest and fashion it into a braid, small favor or shape of a female figurine. This would then be hung or placed in such a way in celebrations as to honor the spirit of the harvest.
It was believed that the preservation of the spirit was in the corn dolly for the duration of winter and in some traditions, the corn dolly was then plowed into the ground the next spring when it was time to seed again.
The form of the Harvest Goddess may have represented many things, whether it was corn, wheat or some other grain… but the symbolism was basically the same.
To the Romans she was known as Autumnus, Ceres, Feronia or Pomona. Greeks celebrated a three day festival for Demeter. Native Americans thought of her as the Corn Mother or Selu. In Egypt, she is known as Renenutet and Mexicans call her Pachamama. Even the Japanese made fire offerings to Huichi with the belief that she would give strength to the workers to complete the harvest.
I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the many archetypes she goes by, but whatever name she is known as or which culture celebrated her, she was the spirit of the harvest and regarded with much love and respect.
To create my version of the Harvest Goddess, I chose to use as many garden related items as possible. A tomato cage, a wire hanging basket and chicken wire frame were constructed to keep her light and easy to move.
Her bodice was stuffed with moss and her dress was made from grasses, corn stalks and corn leaves. I used twine to hold it all in place and after the stalks dried, I used more to tighten it up closer to the frame since the stalks shrink as they dry.
The head was a lot of work. It has a combination of both real and faux grasses placed into dozens of holes drilled into a plastic female head form. Burlap was stretched and glued to the head and the lips were hand stitched on using natural raffia.
To make the arms, a pool noodle was cut in half and covered in burlap. A metal hanger was cut and placed inside the tubes to give the arms some flex and shape. Her horn of plenty is made up of dried flowers and grasses from my garden and was cradled into her arms.
I have my favorite tools in the garden shed to get the job done but I am super impressed with the Fiskars Gardening and Yard care line.
My Harvest Goddess required a lot of snipping which can get hard on the wrists and hands after awhile. That’s a lot of squeezing and I have over done it in the past resulting in sore muscles up to my elbows.
The Fiskars PowerGear 2 Pruners cut through the hundreds of blades of grass and corn stalks with ease due to it’s spring action handle and even after all that work, the blade is still razor sharp.
I recently harvested this years Gem corn and made a wreath out of that as well for the front door as this is another form of celebrating the harvest and honoring the spirit of the bounty. You can learn more about this gorgeous corn in this post here:
While harvesting the corn stalks, my sunflowers were ready to be cut as well. I grew a giant variety and the stalks of these were the size of paper towel rolls! There was only one tool in my shed that can get around a stem that big…
Fiskars PowerGear 2 Loppers open wide and because of it’s modified gears, it sliced through these massive stems like butter! Those sunflower seed heads will be dried and put out this winter for the birds when their food sources become low.
Here’s to celebrating the Harvest and to the end of the growing season.
In spring sow, in summer grow,
In fall reap, in winter sleep.
Don’t miss a post! Subscribe to my monthly-ish newsletter below….