I was interested to see that in the Manx Folk Dancing that was so expertly performed for us at the Convention that the props included maize. It struck me that perhaps in the mid-west there is only one type of “corn” so it was a natural assumption to use corn hobs from the maize plant. In the Celtic lands we don’t grow your sort of corn as it is too wet, cold and sunless and anyway, we only learned about maize when we got to America. What we call corn is corn as in the Bible: the ears of corn usually being from wheat and the straw that comes when wheat ripens.
A Corn Dolly is made from flattened straw and can be very intricate. It is a fun activity for a group meeting as it can be replicated with flattened drinking or art straws. She represents the spirit of the harvest and is a big feature at Harvest Festivals. There are some links below which will tell you more, and show you how to make them. If you Google ‘corn dollies’ and click on “images” you will see a wide variety of corn dollies. It is considered a great skill and art form in the Isle of Man.
It is a pretty easy craft and can be done with craft straws — maybe an idea for the next Convention?
Whoops! My bad? I have inadvertently ticked off the good folk at the Guild of Straw Craftsmen who sent me the email below. Mea culpa. I generally try to link or credit photos and someone messed up on this one. I think I must have picked this one up from Google images as it’s the first time I’ve seen the Guild’s website, and I can highly recommend it. I have removed the image as requested, a shame as it’s terrific.
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