Ancient cereals corn dolly

Harvest neck corn dolly

I love when craft brings different people and skills together and this harvest queen neck dolly which I just received represents two of my favourite people.

I met Helen Moran at Beamish museum back in 2012 where she was demonstrating making corn dollies. During our chat she mentioned that her ambition was to weave with spelt wheat which she had heard was particularly nice but very difficult to acquire.

Cue John Letts who I know through the scythe world and grows ancient varieties of cereals, including spelt, on his farm in Oxford. I chatted with him about the possibility of supplying some straw and buttered him up with a lovely border fan corn dolly woven by Helen.

Eventually, Helen made the epic trip from her home in Northumberland down to Oxford and came home with bundles of cereals which John had carefully hand-harvested for her.

The harvest neck is a traditional corn dolly linked to the last sheaf of the harvest and linked to many beliefs and customs. For me, it represents new friendships and shared crafts.

Harvest neck corn dolly Harvest neck corn dolly

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About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
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4 Responses to Ancient cereals corn dolly

  1. David Edwards says:

    Hi Steve thanks for your post.
    Did you know there’s a farm in Northumberland producing flours from their own locally grown crops including Spelt Wheat. The flour is Gilchesters. They may be able to supply Helen with local spelt? Just a thought.
    David

  2. I love corn dollies, my mum used to make them when I was little. Do you know if Helen runs any courses? Mary

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