Corn Husk Upcycling Craft
One of the rising demands of modern life is the sustainable use of resources. A practice each of us is working to adopt in most spheres. In this particular sense, corn husks prove to be highly versatile. After corn has been harvested and taken in for human consumption, the leafy outer layer - the husk is either used to kindle fire or left to be discarded. However, human ingenuity has reconfigured this discarded material into a valuable resource. It is processed to make various products, from decor items such as flowers and dolls to utilitarian products such as rugs, ropes and mats.
In the past, corn husks were used to fill in mattresses, their broad leaves were used to cork bottles, washing lines were made out of corn husks, and people even used corn husks to wrap food. The advantages of corn husks and their usefulness have long been known as this material is very durable and is suitable for weaving different goods, like corn husk baskets, doormats, rugs, corn husk ornaments and all kinds of valuable objects.
To make anything out of corn husk, the first step is to dry them in the sun completely. The dried husks are then soaked in water for a few mins to make them softer and easier to shape. Patterns of petals for desired flowers are teased or cut out and glued or tied together to make flowers. To make dolls, the husk is wrapped around a stick figurine to give rise to the desired shape. And to make baskets the husk is shredded into small strips and braided to make ropes. These ropes are coiled or woven into a specific pattern to further make baskets out of them and then dried in the sun. It played a crucial role in people’s everyday life.
Making a corn husk basket requires a lot of patience, as well as diligence and accuracy. In most traditional weaving, two strands are winding around each other. But this style introduces a third element, the corn husk, that wraps around the outer string to create the decorative pattern. Corn Husk baskets have been around for hundreds of years. Traditionally these baskets were used to carry and store food. The outer layer of corn husk made the baskets nearly airtight, keeping out bugs and keeping grains fresh.
The precious knowledge of corn husk craft or weaving is a generational one, passed on from one generation to the next. The art of making goods out of corn husk is a humble one, yet the products are exemplary in their quality and aesthetic. The products, along with the process of making them ensure that no toxins are emitted into the environment. This craft has been dwindling in recent times, yet its usefulness and versatility has always made it popular across the globe.