Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

October 17, 2006 > Doll making returns to cornfield roots

Doll making returns to cornfield roots

by Julie Grabowski

In an age of dolls that blink, cry, dance, and talk, it is easy to forget that some of our favorite friends were once made up of nothing more than household scraps and a husk from the cornfields. Corn Husk Dolls are a traditional Native American art form dating back to the beginnings of corn agriculture. Corn was a staple for native cultures, and as a people who didn't believe in waste, every part of the vegetable was used for a purpose: the husks being used to make toys for their children. Dolls were dressed with bits of cloth, paint, and beadwork according to the culture of their maker; tresses made from corn silk, horse hair, or animal fur. Early European settlers adopted this practice and began to fashion their own Corn Husk Dolls, the craft evolving into American folk art.

Ardenwood Historic Farm gives a nod to the past with their Corn Husk Doll activity, inviting kids to gather husks from the cornfield and make a unique piece of loveable art. Naturalist Chris Garcia says Ardenwood has a ton of cornhusks at this season, and turning them into dolls is simply a fun thing to do. "It's a toy that you can make yourself, different from what everyone else has." Kids get creative with the dolls says Garcia, from working with red and white corn to accessorizing and hair styling. The hour-long activity is an opportunity for a different experience and to create something by hand that has historic roots.

The activity is free with park admission, $2 for adults, $1 for children ages 4-17. No registration is required and all materials are provided; children 7 and under may need adult assistance with their dolls.

For more information contact Chris Garcia at (510) 796-0199.

Corn Husk Dolls
Saturday, October 21
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 796-0199

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