Corn dollies are a form of straw work, materials used are mainly wheat, oats, rye and barley, in the UK all of these materials are grouped into one generic term corn.
In times gone by corn dollies were a household tradition. Today the corn dolly is little more than a craft tradition, a decorative symbol of peace and prosperity in the home throughout the year, with each region specializing with a particular design.
Though a mainly agricultural tradition it is possible to attend workshops to learn the art of corn dolly making. Access to wheat for the making of corn dollies is an essential.
There are no age limits regarding the craft of making corn dollies.
Wheat is the straw of choice for most projects because of inherent problems with the other grains. The corn dolly is a figure, often human shaped, created by plaiting wheat or other grains. The skill of plaiting is the main skill required.
It was believed that the corn spirit lived amongst the crop, and the harvest made it effectively homeless. The original corn dolly was a straw cage designed to capture the corn spirit. It later evolved into a shape to symbolise a sheaf of corn and was kept over the winter and returned to the fields in spring to be burned or buried.
The first and last sheaves of corn to be cut had major significance. Grain from the first sheaf would be made into a loaf of bread while the last sheaf was reserved for transforation into a corn dolly. Straw from this last sheaf was woven or plaited into the complex shapes of the corn dollies - sometimes as a horn of plenty, or as horse shoes, knots, fans or lanterns. Ultimately the shape woven was dependent on local traditions.
Level of Demand
The table below shows the maximum levels of demand that this activity requires. NOTE: These are not entry levels or levels of requirement and has nothing to do with ability.
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