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Making Rowan berry beads

To have the eye of a bird and spot a red berry a mile away.  I don’t have the eye of a bird – yet – but I can pick out red berries much quicker now.  I do wonder if I ever had my eyes open before – they’re everywhere.

Spring flowers and Autumn berries are a great way of learning to identify different trees, and bushes.  I started to make a map a few years ago of all the hawthorns and elderberries which grew within a mile radius of where I lived.  In the end I mapped one small strip of land along the Rae which provided more than plenty of each.  I should update this map now to mark, dog-rose, coltsfoot, apple and oak trees, and rowan.  This is a slow process, not to be rushed.


This year I’ve familiarised myself with the rowan trees growing locally.  I look for their tell-tale signs – the silvery bark, leaf pattern, fluffy blossom in spring and tell-tale red berries in late summer and autumn.  I take lots of photographs and make a mental note of where I came across the tree or plant.  I am a creature of habit so I regularly visit these wonderful places.

I collected this wonderful lot from Cofton Park on Sunday.  I am on a jam making mission at the moment and hope to make a rowan berry jelly, but these pretty things called out to be made into something special.

I’ve read about rowan berries being made into beads, in various places, and fancied giving it a go.  Why do you want to make berry beads?  Well in folklore rowan offers protection, amongst other things.  I would like to make some prayer beads to count mantras on.  Prayer beads can be used to aid meditation.  The action of counting something focuses the mind and therefore helps to relax the mind from all its busyness.  A relaxed mind – is very uplifting and ‘de-stressing’.  Thats a very simple ‘non-spiritual’ form of meditation anyway.  I’ve popped these beads in my airing cupboard and will give them a little twiddle every other day to stop them sticking to the thread, and to ensure they are not going mouldy – rowan berries can take a while to dry, from previous experience.

I used red cotton thread, threaded twice onto a fine needle. I knotted the thread so the beads wouldn’t slide off, and thats it – a nice few hours sat on on of my favourite hills amongst the bilberries and heather – oh and rowan too.


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