Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Country Corn Dolly

The Yorkshire Corn Dolly.
During the hay time and harvest farm labourer working in the fields would fashion for themselves small corn decorations for themselves that they would wear in their caps all year. In various parts of the country these “Corn Dollies” would take on various shapes and forms. The one shown above is the Yorkshire Corn Dolly, yet I was shown how to make it, by a farm tractor driver from Whitley Bay, in Northumbria.

One requires five straws of the same length down to the first knot joint. The knot joint is removed so that another straw can be inserted as you work to the end. The ears are left on the first straws and they tied tight with either a ribbon or a piece of thread. You then open up four of the straws in a cross and the fifth you lay along side and bend and wrap the next straw. Working your way round forming a opening beehive shape. After four or five circuits you then turn the straw inwards reducing the beehive size until it becomes a close plait.

The straw should have some moisture in it so that it will bend without splitting. Wheat straw is best, though it can be done using oat or barley straw.

1 comment:

corncockle said...

Nice to see a well made corn dolly! More information on this fascinating craft can be found on the Guild of Straw Craftsmen's website: www.strawcraftsmen.co.uk