The Guild of Straw Craftsmen

Welcome to the Guild of Straw Craftsmen On-Line.

Thank you for visiting The Guild of Straw Craftsmen Web Site. We hope to provide you with an extensive online collection of information about this traditional craft in its many guises. Much of this material has been collected by the Guild Historian and Archivist as well as individual members. Through the web site we are now able to share this knowledge with you. Straw craft isn't just about Corn Dollies, although many of our members came into the Guild through Corn Dollies. After seeing what can be made out of straw they then branched out into the other facets of this traditional craft. Straw craft includes marquetry, Swiss straw work, models made of straw, lip work, tied straw figures, finials, plaited straw hats and much much more. Straw objects can be made of wheat, barley, oats, rye and even rice straw. Although, in the UK, we do not use corn husks or rice straw we still have information on how you can work them. We aim to have information for both the beginner and the enthusiast covering all aspects of straw work.

Straw craft is one of Britain's traditional crafts; it has been practiced for hundreds of years. Although we do not have examples of very old Corn Dollies there are many examples of straw marquetry (all you need to do is look on Ebay for Napoleonic prisoner of war straw work).

Did you know that Rumpelstiltskin was a straw worker as he spun straw into gold? Actually he didn't "spin" the straw but used a rope making technique to make straw threads that looked like gold. Below is a picture of straw threads made by one of the Guild's members.

a selection of straw threads

This traditional craft uses inexpensive tools (all you need to start is a supply of straw and a pair of scissors) which make it ideal for both children and adults alike. Specialist equipment like that for spinning straw threads can be expensive. The projects on the website tell you what tools and materials you require, usually the scissors, cotton thread, ribbon and sometimes a glue stick or other paper glue.

Through our links we hope to send you off on paths you had never dreamed of, that will (we hope) inspire you. We trust you enjoy your visit.

The Aims of The Guild of Straw Craftsmen

Founded in 1989, the aims of The Guild of Straw Craftsmen are to:

first point Promote the craft of straw work
second point Raise the standard of straw work produced and taught
third point Bring straw enthusiasts together
fourth point Disseminate information about all aspects of straw work

This web site has been designed to provide information and inspiration to further these aims.

What's on The Guild of Straw Craftsmen Web Site?

At a later stage we hope to set up some galleries of pictures of Straw work provided by our members (and non-members if you care to send a picture).  We hope this will be updated on a regular basis (look in the What's New section for the latest updates).  The pictures section will feature photographs of particular styles of straw work rather than the photographs of individuals.  In the meantime we have photographs of straw work scattered thoughout the web site for your enjoyment.

Important Note:

Like many people the Guild received a lot of emails with worms and viruses in them. At the time we decided to suspend email contact until we could find a suitable way of encrypting addresses. The Guild has now found a way to eliminate the problems we encountered and you can now safely email us. Please do not save our address in your address book as we intend to change the address on a regular basis. We still urge you to ensure that you install virus protection software on your computer so that these harmful programs are not spread.
Requests for information about courses, suppliers, etc. may be sent by snail mail to the address given on the Membership Details page. Please enclose a SAE for reply.