Sunday, October 13, 2013

"As from a large heap of flowers

many garlands and wreaths are made, so by a mortal in this life there is much good work to be done." ~ Buddha



I was fortunate this past week to meet up with a talented wreath artist whom I had known from 15 or 16 years ago, and I am thrilled to have some of her work in the shop.  It seems that this time of the year brings more interest in wreaths although they are happy accent pieces all through the year.

The history of the wreath dates back to ancient Greece and Rome.  What would we have done without these creative ancient civilizations?  Really?  These societies used wreaths made from fresh tree leaves, twigs, small fruits, and flowers.  Wreath actually means a thing bound round from the Greek word diadema.  The laurel wreath is probably the best known ancient wreath since it was used to crown the winners in their Olympic Games.  The use of this wreath comes from the Greek myth involving Apollo, Zeus’ son and the god of life and light, who fell in love with the nymph Daphne.  She fled and asked the river god Peneus to help her, and he turned her into a laurel tree (he could have been a little more discriminating...a tree, seriously, Peneus?).  From that day, Apollo wore a wreath of laurel on his head.  Laurel wreaths became associated with what Apollo embodied; victory, achievement, and status and would later become one of the most commonly used symbols to address achievement throughout Greece and Rome.  This statue of Julius Caesar shows a rather elaborate wreath.
The harvest wreath is also an ancient custom.  In Greece, it was a sacred amulet, using wheat or other harvested plants, woven together with red and white wool thread. The harvest wreath would be hung by the door year-round.  Maybe we need to get some of those for these economic times!
Christianity used the wreath to symbolize the immortality.  The "Advent wreath" dates back to 16th century Germany.  Johann Hinrich Wichern, a Lutheran, used a wheel from a cart to educate children about the meaning and purpose of Christmas, as well as to help them count its approach (obviously pre-Black Friday). For every Sunday of Advent, starting with the fourth Sunday before Christmas, he would put a white candle in the wreath and for every day in between he would use a red candle.  The Advent wreath is constructed of evergreens to represent everlasting life brought through Jesus and the circular shape of the wreath represents God, with no beginning and no end. The Advent wreath is now a popular symbol in preparation for the coming of Christ, marking the beginning of the Christian Church’s year and as décor during the Christmas festivities.

Here are some of the wreaths we have in the shop...all made locally...

She does some incredibly creative work...check the deserted wasp nest in this wreath..
A wreath on the door is welcoming...a wreath in the house provides a touch of elegance for the coming winter days...a wreath symbolizes the circle of life...and much work to be done...

“She wore a wreath of roses, / The night that first we met.”

       ~Thomas Haynes Bayly


The Cinnamon Stick said...

I love wreaths but they have almost fallen out of favor at the store...your artist does beautiful work. XO

Annie said...

These are gorgeous wreaths!