Janet Christenot, is a wheat-weaving creator whose pieces include intricately rendered angels and flowers of incredible delicacy and sheen, among other items. They are carefully crafted objects whose materials might cause jaws to drop.
Christenot has been steeped in wheat nearly all of her life. She married a wheat farmer who worked a 3,600-acre farm in the northern Montana “Golden Triangle,” a region that annually produces 200,000 acres of wheat in that county alone.
In 1977, surrounded by wheat, she decided to take a wheat weaving course at the local art center. In a community where wheat was the lifeblood and just about the only thing to see for miles, Christenot was weaving local culture and a desire to create something out of the plentiful crop.
Straw art itself is process intensive. The wheat must be cut at precisely the right moment in the season, usually the summer for winter wheat.
Like folk art forms such as quilting, straw weaving sprang from humble origins. It was practiced mainly among Europeans and their descendants, but nearly anywhere grains were grown, one can probably find some type of straw folk art, says Christenot, who is a member of the National Association of Wheat Weavers.