Corn Dolly’s were traditionally made by farmers from the last sheaf of corn harvested. This was then woven into a simple or complex ‘Dolly’ that would be used as part of the harvest celebrations. The Dolly would then be planted back into the earth come Spring time. It is thought that people believed the spirit of the corn lived on in the Dolly and was in this way preserved. This Bank Holiday weekend if you are out in the countryside or have anything growing in your garden you can use, why not make a little ‘Corn Dolly’ or a Corn/Herb Plait like mine?
If you can get some corn stalks then great, but otherwise use some sturdy but pliable stalks from your garden. I recommend the stalks from Bay, Rosemary and Lavender (as mine is) you can keep the leaves and use them for cooking. It also smells wonderful as you make the plait, but really I think you can use anything, but it will mean more if it’s from a plant you have particularly enjoyed this Summer. I make a simple plait with the corn heads all neatly at the bottom. I then secure with string and tie with a little bow or decorate with anything simple. This little dolly then hangs on my herb drying rack, by my front door or sits on my mantle piece, and every time I get the winter blues it’s golden stalks remind me that Spring and Summer always come back. In keeping with the earlier traditions I then take my Dolly and bury her back in my garden in Spring.
Corn (or Wheat) also symbolises abundance, an appreciation of nature and taking time to stop and enjoy the moment-good sentiments to take into a bank holiday and the coming Autumn. I like to think I preserve the spirit of summer in my own corn dolly, even if only in my heart when I look at it. Please do share an image if you do make one.