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Megan: A Twist On Wheat

Even though I already bid my farewell to all of you in my previous post I realized there is something I’d still like to share. To be honest, my mind is always full of so many different ideas and thoughts that my “oops, I forgot to share this” attitude to go on forever. Regardless, this post is about something very special to me, and maybe even to you too.

Although wheat harvest is pretty well wrapped up for most of us we don’t merely forget about it as the year goes on. Whether you’re a farmer or a harvester I believe that wheat is so much more than just a crop to sow and reap. Wheat is a symbol of possibility, dedication, hardship, struggle, faith, family, love, endowment, and livelihood. How can all of these incredible characteristics of wheat be captured? Perhaps photographs? Yes, through pictures you can enjoy the sight of the golden wheat in its natural environment as it sways and dances in the wind awaiting to be harvested by the massive combines. However, there is another way to physically attain these qualities of wheat. You may ask, “How is this possible?” The answer is simple: Wheat weaving.

When my sister, Ashley, and future brother-in-law, Kurt, were wedding planning last year the one thing they knew they had to incorporate into their wedding was wheat. Both being raised with farming backgrounds, wheat was very important to them as it symbolized their past, present, and future. One of Kurt’s family friends, Janet Christenot, from his hometown, Chester, Montana, and her wheat weaving talent were the perfect answer as to how this significant grain could be included in their wedding.

In August of 1978, Janet attended a brief wheat weaving class at the Liberty Village Art Gallery in Chester, Montana and absolutely fell in love with the unique artwork. Living in the middle of wheat country she had an endless supply of materials and started exploring the possibilities. Janet slowly began to make her own work as her creativity and inspiration grew. Working with this art form for over thirty years she mostly does traditional work and continues to make many of her own creations. Janet crafts a variety of wheat weaving designs including sculptures, nature forms, framed art and even jewelry.

Janet is very passionate about wheat weaving and it is evident in her remarkable work. Living in wheat country for many years, wheat remains very special to her and through her artwork she is able to capture all of its intrinsic characteristics. Her work holds the most incredible detail that continues to amaze me.

In fact, as Janet explained to me, wheat weaving is actually an ancient art form that dates back to over 8,000 years ago to the Egyptians. It was the belief of many ancient cultures that a spirit lived in the grain and that weaving was a way to trap the spirit of the field to ensure a bountiful season for the upcoming year. I find this historical account of wheat to be fascinating. Furthermore, I never realized this type of wheat preservation has been around for thousands of years.

To further explore the unique artwork of wheat weaving check out Janet’s website at http://www.creativewheat.com/. For my family, wheat weaving is a unique way to recall everything that wheat means to us – from special harvest memories to growing our own crops to our livelihood. So whether you simply find wheat to be a beautiful art form or you have a deeper tie to its significance, wheat weaving is an extraordinary way to capture the majestic traits of wheat.

Cake topper
Photo by Janet Christenot
This is the cake topper that Janet created for Ashley and Kurt’s wedding. Yes, it is all made out of wheat! How incredibly beautiful is that?! Check out more of her artwork at her website!

Wheat field
Can you believe that Janet is able to make such breathtaking creations from wheat? I guess wheat is just an art form all the way around!

All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan can be reached at megan@allaboardharvest.com.


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