Autumn in Groningen

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Sweater weather is here, folks, and everything is changing; the air is a bit crisper, the mornings colder, the need for slippers is immediate, and the autumn colors are warm, cozy and beautiful. I was more than ready to see summer come to a close, and if it would have hastened its departure, I would have given it a swift kick in the right direction. I love this time of year! On the autumn equinox, September 23rd, I hosted a small gathering of friends to celebrate the beginning of a new season, both literally and figuratively.

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I worked for weeks on my decorations and remarks for the gathering. Lucky for me, the very day I went to the local garden store, boxes upon boxes were being opened with gourds and decorations aplenty. So in addition to the yellow and orange flowers, floral wreaths, pinecones, colorful ears of corn and spicy candles, I collected stripey and speckled pumpkins that now set atop the mantel of my fireplace and nest in the corners of my living room.

On the day of the equinox, there is an energetic equilibrium between night and day, dark and light, yin and yang. You can further apply this thinking to your own spiritual balance, either by observing balance in yourself or considering how you can better achieve it. We thought and talked about this during our gathering, and lit a large black and white candle to represent the dark and light in our own lives. We made friendship bracelets with black and white glass beads as a reminder to ourselves of the need for balance. We wrote down things we want to let go of on small pieces of paper, and ceremoniously burned them outside in the garden. It smelled a bit weird, but it felt good.

We made a gratitude garland, writing down simple things in life we’re grateful for. It’s still hanging in my living room. I made a decorative garland from simple tea-dyed squares of muslin hung on hemp twine, and later decided these squares needed something more. I’ve appliquéd colorful wool felt leaves to these squares, and now offer a workshop this month and next for those folks in and around Groningen who would like to make one as well. I’m really struggling to find fellow stitchers here in Groningen, but I won’t give up the search.

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The Autumn Leaves Garland is being offered as a workshop both in October and November. See the Workshops tab for more information and registration.

Do you see the gorgeous basket on the mantel there? I bought it from Barbara Mahler, who calls herself “de Takkenvrouw” (the branch lady). I interviewed her recently in her studio in Lhee, The Netherlands. That story is going to come a bit later. In the meanwhile, check out my Instagram @handcraeft to see more photos of her work.

It’s been unusually warm and glorious here in NL this week. It’s made for such a wonderful start to the season, although my coat and heavy sweaters hang sorely neglected on the kapstock. Soon enough, my cozy friends, soon enough. 🖤

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