Peak commissioned artist Susan Adams to create new work for the 2018 Abergavenny Food Festival.
The time when the whole community headed to the fields to bring the harvest home is long gone but most people have memories of harvest celebrations in school, in churches and community halls.
The making of a “corn dolly” was an ancient custom and traditionally made from the last sheaf of corn to be harvested, where it was believed the corn spirit was hiding. The corn dolly was often ceremonially destroyed to represent the death of the old and the beginning of new growth in the spring.
In Wales and the borders the corn dolly was known as the hag, the neck or the mare. A corn dolly at St Fagans National Museum of History, made by farm-worker Thomas Minton of Shropshire referred to his as “the little cage”.
Peak’s Horsebox Studio at Abergavenny Food Festival became home to a reinvigoration of the corn dolly, reflecting on harvest customs and what is sown and reaped now as part of modern farming processes and the broader impact on biodiversity.
Susan worked with young people on our Caban Crefft project, using traditional and contemporary methods to make a variety of corn dollies and sculpture.
The Horsebox Studio was exhibited on the Castle grounds and featured drop-in, family-friendly craft and creative writing workshops throughout the weekend.
For more information about the festival visit: www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com
Susan Adams studied painting at Norwich School of Art and the Slade, going on to study Electronic Arts at Middlesex University. She uses a range of media including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and video. She has lectured widely and held a number of prestigious Artist in Residency positions including those at Gloucester Cathedral, Millay Colony for the Arts New York, Welsh National Opera, Bardsey Island and Shaftesbury Abbey.
Caban Crefft (The Craft Cabin) is a two year Arts and Wellbeing initiative funded by the Health Lottery offering weekly creative sessions for groups of young people in Abergavenny aged 16 – 25.
If you’re 16-25 years and would like to be involved in the next Peak project click on the link to complete a short survey and register your interest. Your name will be included in a prize draw to win a unique gift from a Peak artist.
Photo credit: Siôn Marshall-Waters