Growing up, I used to love Thanksgiving dinners at Dottie's house. Her food was always so yummy and her table simple but beautiful. Indian corn in clusters of three ran neatly down the center like pyramids in the sand. The variegated kernels always looked so exotic compared to the yellow of their more edible counterparts. Here was a symbol of Thanksgiving so popular, I'd grow to see it everywhere—wreaths, garland, placecards. Indian corn is certainly familiar, perhaps even trite, but in my eyes, all it needs is a new twist to give it some edge.
To start, fill a simple cylinder vase with sand, gravel or even solar salt—remember the arrangement from the flower workshop?— then place a pillar candle so it sits up higher than usual. I used a vase from Michael's that's 7" in diameter by 18" tall, together with 4" of salt. The handmade candle is a modern three-wick version that's 6" x 6".
Tie each ear of corn with twine to hold in the husks, apply floral clay to the jute, then adhere the ears to the glass. Don't worry if they fall off at first; it's just a simple way of adhering the ears before tying them more securely. For my vase, I used 15 ears approximately 8" in length, alternating colors as I went. Just make sure you tie them evenly around, so the twine lines up nicely!
Next, trim the husks on a diagonal, so they feel more even but still natural.
Tie twine all the way around, knot it tight, then wrap around about 12 times in all.
Check out the final result! Indian corn may have been done before, but to me, this feels much more modern.
Here it is in our dining room on a simple burlap runner along with a set of mid-century modern goblets, a 1940s brass footed bowl, a handblown swirl glass decanter, and a hotel silverplate nutcracker. The candle sconce is 1960s Ethan Allen, one of a pair we found for $15 at Stormville in September!
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, why not spruce up your sideboard, fireplace mantle or even your dining table with an easy Indian corn centerpiece that's lasting, inexpensive and beautiful?