King’s Sutton class teaches endangered craft

The endangered skills of straw craft were shared in a workshop in King’s Sutton on Saturday.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 3:49 pm
Corn Doll workshop at Kings Sutton village hall. Pictured, Morwen Ashton and Kate Leatherland NNL-190610-102538009

The fascinating session gave information and instruction in this traditional rural craft which has marked the end of the harvest in countries all over the world for thousands of years.

Lynette Owen ran the workshop with expert Antony Gay and participants learned how to work the stems of corn to create stems for ornaments and cards.

“In years gone by the corn dolly was made from the last sheaf of wheat, usually picked by the farmer and often worked by him. It was given pride of place at the harvest festival and kept for a year to encourage the spirits to grant a good crop the next summer,” she said.

Corn Doll workshop at Kings Sutton village hall. Pictured, a display of finished corn doll art NNL-190610-102505009

“A couple of Saturday’s participants had tried this before but our newcomers picked it up quickly. We exhibited a display of wonderful examples from Belarus where straw craft is still a big thing.”

One of the day’s pieces was a straw heart which Mrs Owen will give to Florence Cross, the craftswoman who inspired her to learn this endangered skill.

A seasonal topic, the subject of straw craft and corn dolly making was featured on Sunday evening’s episode of BBC Countryfile.

Corn Doll workshop at Kings Sutton village hall. Pictured, Rosemary Bailey at work NNL-190610-102516009
Corn Doll workshop at Kings Sutton village hall. Pictured, a display of finished corn doll art NNL-190610-102454009
Corn Doll workshop at Kings Sutton village hall. Pictured, Antony Gay instructing the group NNL-190610-102559009
Corn Doll workshop at Kings Sutton village hall. Pictured, Lynne Hawkins NNL-190610-102549009