Trudie Dolls

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  • How long does it take to make the dolls?
  • How long have you been making them?
  • From what are they made?
  • Do you peel your own corn for the shucks?
  • What is the hair made from?
  • Do you make the accessories?
  • How do they get the colors?
  • Do they need to be protected?
  • What happened to Trudie?

     How long does it take to make the dolls?

    It takes between 6 to 8 hours to make each doll. Each one is hand crafted and the price reflects the amount of work in the different styles. There are no patterns. They are cut and made individually.

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     How long have you been making them?

    Trudie learned how to make them when working a summer job in college for the Tennessee Arts Commission. She was paid a salary to learn various dying crafts. She started making the corn shuck dolls for friends and then was encouraged to enter a local show. She sold completely out in a matter of a few hours and spent all night making more. The rest is history. That was over 30 years ago and they are still popular.

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     From what are they made?

    They are made entirely from corn shucks with some lace, raffia straw, bits of cloth, held together with string and glue.

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     Do you peel your own corn for the shucks?

    Trudie buys the shucks already processed. They come in the natural color, in a 60 lb bale and are sold by Mexican restaurant supply houses for tamales.

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     What is the hair made from?

    Originally the corn silk was used. This proved to be unusable because Trudie discovered that the silks deteriorated after a couple of years.

    Trudie now uses flax for the hair. Flax is what linen is spun from. It is a natural fiber and is a very durable material to use.

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     Do you make the accessories?

    Trudie finds very few manufactured items that meet her approval. She hand-makes most of the accessories herself. For example, she covers slices of wooden dowels with beautiful papers of the right scale to make hatboxes. She also bends wire with pliers to make the glasses for the teacher doll.

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     How do they get the colors?

    Trudie dyes the shucks with regular commercial dyes. She strives to color the doll outfits so they will complement any room decor, as well to be historically correct.

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     Do they need to be protected?

    Corn shucks are a very durable material. No special protection is required. A light dusting with a makeup or artists brush is all the maintenance they need. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided to prevent fading of the colors.

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     What happened to Trudie?

    See the blog at

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    Copyright © 2017 Patrick Bartkus
    Subject to Change Without Notice