Corn Dolly Crafting

Have you ever made a Corn Dolly?Corn Dolly Fairy

Over the last month I’ve fallen in love with this festive craft. Weaving and plaiting with such a natural product just feels so “right”.

Corn dollies (harvest trophies, maids or necks) originate from Pagan times when it was believed that a good harvest was dependent on the “spirit of the corn”. To keep the spirit safe over winter the last sheaves of corn (e.g. wheat, oats, rye, barley) were made into decorative shapes and taken into the home until they could be ploughed back into the fields the following spring.

The name of a corn dolly often reflects the region where it was originally created. For example:

A woven Welsh Fan….

Welsh Fan Corn Dolly

…..a plaited heart-shaped Mordiford.

MordifordThe corn I’ve used in my dollies is a traditional variety of wheat (Maris Widgeon from a farm in Staffordshire) which has a long hollow stem – this makes its perfect for crafting as you can easily join lengths together.

Hollow Wheat for Corn Dolly Making

It’s easy to make the corn pliable – just pop it in some warm water for around an hour.

Soaking the Wheat

The corn can be woven, plaited and shaped into fabulous figures. A cute corn field mouse….

Corn Dolly Field Mouse

 a Corn Fairy …..Corn Dolly Fairyor a lucky Horseshoe?

Corn Dolly Horseshoe

Did I warn you how addictive this fabulous craft is? If I have tempted you enough to find out more, keep your eyes peeled for some retro book in your local charity shop.

retro corn dolly making books

The website The Guild of Strawcraftsmen – is a wealth of information. Check out the resources section for some great instructions on how to make a Glory Braid or Countryman’s Favours –  a love token made by a young man to give to his beau.

Corn Dolly Glory Braid.Countryman's FavourCountryman's Favour (2)

If you would like to know any more, or have any “Top Tips” to share please get in touch via the comments box.

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