Cattail Dolls-2

Take broader leaves and fold over the shoulders to form clothing and tie in place around the waist.

making cattail doll

Fold the broad base of a leaf over the head to form a hat and tie in place.

cattail doll-4

Here’s a view from the back

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Now the basic doll is complete.  Use your imagination to create different types of dolls.  Here are some of mine;

Cattail Dolls (Medium)

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Including a Christmas Angel

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Cattail Dolls-1

The leaves of Cattail/Bull Rush/ Reed Mace (typha latifolia) are used to make these dolls.

Cattail doll with broom-2 (Small)Unfortunately Reed Mace does not grow up here in Northern Lapland, so I’ve not been able to make them since moving here.  In the UK I gathered the plants during August, separated the leaves and laid them out to dry for several days.

Take one or two leaves and roll it up into a ball to form the head.

cattail doll head

Take more leaves and fold over the head, ensuring it is completely covered.  Remove the outside edge of a leaf and use this is simple cord to tie under the head to hold these leaves in place.

cattail dollGather up 2 -3 leaves together and a third of the way along, twist them and continue to twist as if making cordage.

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Then do the same from the opposite end to form the arms.

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Separate in half the leaves wrapped over the head and insert the arms between them.

making cattail doll

Now cross leaves over and under the arms and around the body to help form the dolls shape and secure everything in place.

making a cattail doll

Fold some leaves over the shoulders and tie these leaves in place both around the breast and at the bottom.

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Companies I cannot recommend….

For some time I have wanted to purchase a pair of US Military “Mickey Mouse” boots.  These were first issued to GI’s in the Korean War and are designed to shield against water and extreme cold.  The boots are constructed of rubber and between two layers of rubber, air is trapped to act as insulation.  A valve on the outside of the boot means you can add or remove air to vary the degree of insulation provided.  In addition the boots are wool lined for increased insulation.

So I was really pleased to find a company in the UK advertising them, brand new for only £9.95 +p&p!  I ordered my a pair of size nines from Surplus and Adventure and 5 days later they arrived.  As soon as I unpacked them it was clear that these boots were not what they were advertised to be.  The label on the back stated “US style” and lacking two layers of rubber, a valve, and wool liner these were in fact just short, lace-up wellington boots with an incredibly heavy steel shank and I would require about 10 thick wool socks to to fill the boot with my foot.  The cost of returning the boots would have been almost as much as the purchase price so I have forwarded them for re-sale else where as a “safety boot!”.  My verdict…..DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!

“Googling” this company brings a lot of results from unhappy customers and in fact my colleague at work ordered some items from them three weeks ago and has not yet received them.  When he contacted them, he was told the items are not in stock and will hopefully be in within a week…..we shall see!!

UPDATE 16/12/09 – The items my colleague ordered have arrived today.

At the beginning of the year I was contacted by a representative from Fusion Productions in the USA, who explained that they were working on a new television series called “Hot on the Trail”, to be aired on the Veria Network in June 2009.

They contacted me because they wanted to use images of some of my crafts made from Cattail/Reed Mace for the Cattail part of the series.  The series sounded really good and after some exchanges of emails I agreed to supply images for the series, in return for a DVD copy of the programme.

Since providing some images I have heard nothing from the company and having emailed the two representatives I had been dealing with to find out if my images were actually used, I have received no response.

I would very grateful if anyone who has seen the series could get in touch with me if any of the images below were featured in the programme.

Willow and Cattail leave baskets

Cattail basket

Cattail leaf duck

Cattail Dolls

Thanks in anticipation.

UPDATE

After writing this post the production company contacted me and informed me that they did not use my images in the series.  My recommendation to others……if people seriously want what you have they will pay for it!!

Cattail Ducks and swans

I am now starting to harvest Bulrush/Reed Mace/cattail leaves to dry and make into dolls, but one of the things you can make with the fresh leaves are ducks and swans.

You will need to leaves for this project;

First tie an overhand knot at the pointed end of the leaf and flatten it to form the head and beak.


Trim the beak to shape and then put a 90 degree fold lower down to form the neck (the length of neck dictates whether you make a swan or duck).


Decide how long you would like the body and then make another fold.

Continue wrapping the leaf around to form the body (adding in the second leaf when necessary).

Finally use the outer edge of a leaf the tie around the body to keep the leaves in place.

Due to the large cellular structure of the leaves they trap a lot of air which allows them to float. Primitive boats have been made by lashing bundles of leaves together.

Reed Mace/ Bulrush/ Cattail tooth brush

If you are walking near a river or lake at the moment you may find the remains of the Reed Mace seed head stem.

They look like this.

The seed head stem which remains after the seeds have been dispersed by wind, is covered in fine stiff bristles.

Some native cultures would use these as a primitive toothbrush and are quite effective at cleaning your teeth.


Soon the new flower heads will appear and this will be the time to collect the pollen and make bread……keep watching for this one!