1992 - Volume #16, Issue #3, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Straw Animal Lawn OrnamentsYou'll like these life-size "straw animal" lawn ornaments made by a University of Wisconsin student majoring in art.
Greta Johnson of Larsen has fabricated hundreds of animals made from straw which she binds to a wooden skeleton with clear fish line. She started with deer and has since gone on to make straw cows, pigs, sheep, mules, dogs, geese, and flamingos.
"They're fun to make and bring a lot of joy into peoples' lives," says Johnson, who sells the animals out of her home. "For example, I made a bull for a retired farmer whose wife ordered it because he was homesick for the farm. I've even made scarecrows and bassett hounds. I depend on local farmers for a supply of oat or wheat straw and use about 150 bales a year. I don't use alfalfa because animals might eat it."
Johnson uses a 2 by 4 for the main trunk of each body, nailing small willow tree trunks onto it for legs, head and neck. She then uses straw to form the animal's muscle structure. "As I add each handful of straw, I use fish line to wrap it onto the skeleton until it's secure. It takes 600 to 700 yards of fish line for each animal. I add a finishing coat of wood preservative to protect the straw from weather. Each ornament should last about five years. It takes about three days to make a cow. I use branches of the staghorn sumac for deer antlers because the wood turns velvety in the spring."
Bucks and does sell for $60 each, cows for $125, pigs for $35, baby pigs $25, and geese for $22.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Greta Johnson, 5327 St. Rd. 110, Larsen, Wis. 54947 (ph 414 836-3772).
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