Lavender Wands

Lavender in bloom.
Lavender wands are an odd craft. They're not really very functional other than scenting a drawer, or adding fragrance to clothing. Yet as an object of art, they are highly desirable. Each one is different, each one is an expression of creativity and dedication by the one who creates them. I once spent an entire summer, 1984, making lavender wands while recuperating from a bad back injury. I had a bountiful lavender crop that year and since lavender helps lift the spirits, it was a useful activity from which I learned a great deal.

While I was at the International Herb Association conference in Townsend, TN this summer, I photographed my long time friend, Pat Kenny, as she made lavender wands. She's an amazing artist, so creative that everything she touches seems to become a piece of art. So here's the process for making a lavender wand.

Begin by tying together about 17 or 19 lavender spikes.
You always begin with an odd number of lavender stems, otherwise the weaving won't come out right. I use 17 but some will use 19 or 21 stems. Tie the stems together at the base of the flowers with a ribbon. Don't cut off the ribbon, that's what you will be using to weave the wand.
Then bend over the stems and you're ready to weave.
Showing bending the stems as you begin to weave in and out.
Pat changes ribbon as she goes, creating ever more interesting patterns and designs. She simply tucks in a new piece of ribbon and makes sure the end is secure, then continues weaving under and over the stems.
Here's Pat Kenny with one of her wonderful lavender wands.
Look at these (you can even click on the photo to make it larger). Very different ribbons, varying designs, all works of art. Pat's lavender wands are amazing. I have one she made and treasure it because it's beautiful, deliciously scented, but more because it's from my friend.
The ones I've made tend to be simpler, like the one above. Sometimes I've added lemon balm inside for added bulk and fragrance. Below is one I made for Hillary Clinton in 1985 when she dedicated the Heritage Herb Garden in Mountain View, Arkansas. I made it from the first lavender grown in the garden there. Funny now, we were so young!
Hillary Clinton, holding one of the first lavender wands I made.
Lavender is one of the most soothing, relaxing herbs you can grow. It's used in cooking, bath blends, potpourri, medicine, sleep pillows and many other ways, but a great way to preserve its soothing fragrance is in a lavender wand. Thank you, Pat, for sharing your methods for making your artful wands!

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