Well dressing

From Academic Kids

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Youlgreave_Well_Dressing_macccam.JPG
Well dressing in Youlgreave

Well dressing is a custom practised in the Peak District of England, in which wells are decorated with designs created from flower petals.

History

The origins of the tradition are alternatively said to lie in pagan tradition or in giving thanks for the purity of the water drawn from certain wells during the period of the Black Death. It is often said to originate in Tissington, Derbyshire.

The custom died out, but during the twentieth century, it was revived and has spread to numerous villages and small towns in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and South Yorkshire, and even as far afield as Much Wenlock.

Process

Wooden frames are constructed and covered with clay, mixed with water and salt. A design is sketched on paper, often of a religious theme, and this is traced onto the clay. The picture is then filled in with natural materials, predominantly flower petals and mosses, but also beans, seeds and small cones.

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