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Scarecrows: Making Harvest Figures and Other Yard Folks Paperback – January 9, 1998
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Rushing, who credits his interest in scarecrows to his uncanny resemblance to these stuffed people, has gathered a marvelous compendium of lore and how-to's designed to enchant all ages. Superstition and myth as well as good-hearted efforts to chase away crop-eaters surround this ragtag hero of the fields; most ancient civilizations, we learn, created some sort of creature-god for protecting their harvests. Crows, too, get their day in Rushing's court; a chapter of esoterica--aligning this bird with death and fertility--will amuse. But the real allure is, of course, the more than 20 figures incorporating every recycled material imaginable, such as paper plates and bags, pottery, old metal parts, and the ubiquitous tin can. Directions are easy to follow; photographs help guide little and adult fingers alike. Even the artist in us gets pressed into scarecrow service, with a chapter spotlighting some dramatic forms. No heart's missing here. Barbara Jacobs
" Invite him into your garden, and that [scarecrow] becomes a figure of mystery and power, a folk art masterpiece...." -- Thomas Christopher, Gardening columnist for House & Garden
"... this new book is filled with imagination, is fun, well researched, full of ideas, and genuinely useful." -- Holly H. Shimizu, Managing Director Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
"Felder Rushing is one of America's horticultural gems. His book, Scarecrows, is a wonderful blend of fact, folklore, and fun." -- Doug Jimerson, Editor-in-Chief of garden.com
Top customer reviews
Rushing provides easy, step-by-step instructions, including lists of needed materials, to make all of the designs in the book. We start with a very basic and traditional scarecrow using the simple "cross" design with two wood poles intersecting like a crucifix for the frame. From there you choose your head whether it's an old pillow case, burlap sack, paper bag, or any number of other options. I wouldn't suggest a paper bag if it's going to be outside in the elements for any length of time. For Halloween time you can even use a pumpkin as the head, designing and cutting out a chilling face to scare trick-or-treaters. Next, deck him out in some old clothes, stuff with hay, or old newspaper, plastic bags or even more old clothes to fill him out. Use an old mop. Foam, pipe cleaners, yarn or felt for the hair. The great thing about these designs is the flexibility of materials. It's almost guaranteed that you will have everything you need right at home to make a scarecrow.
After the basic scarecrow we move on to more complex designs with different materials. How about making a beautiful garden queen for the garden, just right for the coming spring? You can make pose them in different positions by stuff the arms and legs with rolled up chicken wire than can easily be bent to make your scarecrow come alive and also serves as secure stuffing. You can make your own tin man scare crow from various sizes of tin cans that can be taped, glued, even strung together. You can do the same with clay pots for a very unique design. Among the most complex, but striking designs are those created by Michael Melle, and artist from Massachusetts that begin with a thin wooden or metal frame. Next the various limbs are tightly wrapped with hay or straw, all the way down to their fingers to create some very eerie straw people which would be ideal for Halloween. These are certainly more time consuming but also still quite simple.
All the designs are accompanied by brilliant color photography including many full-page photographs. Simple, fun, and inexpensive are perhaps the best three words I can used to describe this book. Whether you want to go strictly traditional or add some incredible flair, you're sure to find a design that you'll love in this book.
Reviewed by Tim Janson