By the time we got the last few shops at the Ozark Folk Center, we were so overloaded with information but we still wanted to know as much as we could. Our last stops were at the Broom shop, the Doll shop, and the Basket Shop.
They attach the broom corn to the wood handle by wrapping wire around and adding more broom corn. To secure it in the shape they want, they sew with a nylon crochet thread in a figure eight and then a lightning bolt pattern. Back in the 1800’s, they would have used a waxed cotton to sew with. The brooms that have colored broom corn are dyed. It takes one day to dye and two days to dry.
There was an authentic cookbook from the 1800’s on display that instructed the baker to test the doneness of the cake using a broom strand. Who knows what you swept up the last time you used your broom, so they sell a special bunch of broom corn just for cake testing–guaranteed clean!
Thanks, Shawn, for taking the time to talk to us.
Paula Lane greeted us enthusiastically when we came into the doll shop. Though we were tired, she lifted our spirits greatly. Right away she shared with us what she was working on, corn husk flowers. The shop is full of corn husk dolls. These delicate dolls are beautiful. Paula explained to us that it is a Native American craft. Her Great Aunt Mary, who was born 105 years ago, made these kinds of dolls and were the only kind of doll she ever had.
The corn husks, nowadays, are dyed with a fabric dye. She has tried using natural dyes but found that they brown more easily.
A lady named Erlene was the one who started making these corn husk dolls at the Folk center twenty years ago. She wasn’t finding any instructions on how to do it, so she decided to try it and make her own patterns.
Like many of the Folk Center artists, Paula was a school teacher before coming to work at the center. She has now been there for four years and has a great time doing it.
Our last stop of the day was at the basket maker’s shop. Sharon Fernimen was working on a lovely egg basket and showed us how she was doing it. The shape keeps the the contents of the basket from rolling around because it forms two wells at the bottom.
Sharon worked in a factory years ago before working at a craft and dulcimer chop. Since then she has always been in the tourist industry working in gift shops. She got started weaving baskets 11 years ago and started as a substitute in the Basket Shop before taking over.
Thank you, Sharon, for talking to us (and thinking I, Melinda, was young enough to be in school still).
We had a great time talking to all the wonderful people at the Folk Center. We look forward to going back!