Tuesday, October 25, 2011
It's a good thing...or is it?
In the October issue of MSL there is an article about a professional broom craftsman. J.P. Welch has been making brooms for 29 years (for as long as I've been around). He and his wife produce 2,000 brooms a year and they are all made by hand. Amazing, isn't it. The old art of broom making is still alive and well. Visit their website for more information at http://www.justameretreefarm.com/
So this year, in early spring, I planted a few rows of Sorghum (aka broom corn) so that I could take a crack at making a broom, or two, of my own. As it turns out, the broom making equipment is very important if you want to make a broom that will last. Well, I'm not experienced with broom making and this is my very first year even attempting such a task. Since I didn't have the tools, I just decided to make two brooms, one decorative(to go with my witche's costume this year), and one cobweb broom for cleaning. Read on to see how the process went.
Here is my little patch of broom corn. It turns out that it should be picked before the tassels turn red so that the broom remains a natural light brown. I did notice a slight red color on the tassels as a result of the kernels being red, but I think it added a fun touch to my brooms.
The corn dried for a few weeks and then I removed most of the stalks.
I let the corn stalks soak in a bucket of warm water overnight so that they would be soft and flexible.
In the morning, I went outside to find the perfect broom stick. The kids watched mom cut down a sapling with a small handsaw (that was not sharp!).
Jordan carefully sanded down the cottonwood branch.
While we waited for the corn to soften, the kids had fun riding around the house on the broomstick witchey-style.
Once the corn stalks were flexible, I completely removed the cornstalks, leaving the "broom" part intact.
I wrapped the stalks around the branch (inserted two inches into corn) and tightly wrapped everything together. Then I pulled the longer section over toward the handle and then bundled that together again.
Here is the smaller, cobweb broom that underwent the same process as the previous broom. I wrapped the natural looking string in gingham for a decorative touch. However, simply leaving the string around the broom looks nice as well.
Well, I'm off to give my new broom a try. Does anyone know if the witch's hat acts as a helmet? I hope so. Ta ta.
Posted by The Green Mama at Tuesday, October 25, 2011