The one thing the team want you to know
Last year we created a Flax Corn Dolly on Blockhouse Park. We’d like to do it again, in April 2023, building on success of last year’s event with a series of corn dolly workshops leading to a spectacular finale.
Help create a giant Flax Corn Dolly, join the procession accompanied by the Morris, release of the spirit of nature into the soil as the flax seed is sown.
To end, a traditional song performed by the Plymouth Morris. The event will lead in to The Village Hub’s Feast and Ceilidh taking place that evening in Stoke Youth and Community Centre.
Last year we created a Flax Corn Dolly on Blockhouse Park. We’d like to do it again, in April 2023, and build on the success of last year’s event with a series of corn dolly workshops leading to a spectacular finale.
We plan to do a series of workshops over 4 weeks, starting on Sat 25th March, during which participants will make a variety of corn dollies and weavings out of flax straw. In the final session, on 29th April, we will create a head piece and adorn a large willow structure with the weavings creating one large human size corn dolly. This will lead into the ceremony of carrying the Flax Corn Dolly to the prepared spot on Blockhouse Park, accompanied by the Plymouth Morris. Once sited, the community will be invited to take part in the ritual breaking of flax from the dolly into the bed symbolising the release of the spirit into the field. Finally, the flax seed will be sown into the bed and watered. Everyone can participate in every part of this.
We will end the ceremony with a traditional song performed by the Plymouth Morris. The event will lead in to The Village Hub’s Feast and Ceilidh taking place that evening in Stoke Youth and Community Centre, making a full day of Beltane celebrations that bring the community together.
Last year the carrying of the dolly, accompanied by the Morris, happened spontaneously at Stoke Fun Day, in July. It was a very beautiful happening but actually far too late to be sowing flax seed. In April we will be sowing the flax seed at the correct time of year. We want to plan the ceremony in a way that enables us to achieve maximum community involvement. For example, last year three local men were approached randomly, to carry the dolly up the hill. They were bemused but pleased to be asked. They really got into the spirit of the occasion and said afterwards that they enjoyed it and felt part of something. Many people approached me in the weeks that followed to say they would have loved to have known this was going to happen as they would have loved to have been a part of it.
Funding needed £4000
What group or groups of people will the project be working with and why?
We are focussing on people from Stoke and the areas bordering Blockhouse Park, across the age/ethnicity/ability/employment spectrum who are suffering social isolation, anxiety or are emotionally or financially distressed due to the direct or indirect effects of the cost of living crisis. We would particularly like to get local men involved, who traditionally would have been the main participants in these ancient rural practices. To this end, part of the budget is to be allocated specifically to a community engagement role which will start a month before the workshops begin. We intend to build a strong marketing campaign involving flyers and posters at every poster spot in the area to ensure we reach those people, who are not on the internet. We will also use social media and Meta/FB advertising. We will talk to businesses in Stoke Village including the pubs, the Masonic Lodge, the betting shops and the takeaways. We build on/add to the work being done by the Village Hub to create a community event that means something to the people of Stoke, and unlocks creative talents in arts, crafts and music.
What areas will the project be working in?1 neighbourhood
Stoke, loosely bordered, especially the area surrounding Blockhouse Park, including Ford, St Levan, Keyham, Morice Town
What is the group or organisations track record? Track record:
Been going for a few years
How new is the idea? Experimentation:
Established for a year
Salaries & peoples time 73%
Project costs 12%
IT spend 10%
Core costs 0%
Flax Project C.I.C.
The Village Hub