Coker, Alec (straw dolly maker)

Reference: D86/8Date: 1960s-1980sExtent: 223 objects
straw dolly from the Coker collection
Straw dolly. MERL 87/40

Alec Coker (1912-1986) was an experienced straw dolly maker and writer. Coker first became interested in the craft when working at the BBC when he encountered dollies as props on the set of ‘Lorna Doone’ in the 1930s. ‘Corn’ is a term for the family of grains which includes barley, oats, wheat and rye. ‘Corn dolly’ is a wide-ranging term which includes figures, love tokens, crosses, Scandinavian star designs, and Far Eastern shrine dolls made from ‘corn’ straw. Coker devoted his retirement from 1965 until his death in 1986 to spreading knowledge of and teaching the craft of corn dolly making.

This collection consists of corn dollies and straw work from around the world. The archive collection contains photographs.

More Information:

  • The objects are catalogued on the online database. Search using the term ‘Coker collection’
  • An archive catalogue is available on the online database
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