Take the soft inner husks from six ears of corn and spread them out to dry on a sheet or between layers of newspaper. They’ll be ready for dollmaking in about a week, when they are pale golden. (You can skip this step by buying packaged dried husks at a Mexican food store.)
Sprinkle the dried husks with water and place them in a plastic bag overnight, or soak them in warm water to soften. Keep them in damp towels as you work.
Begin forming the doll’s head by trimming the ends of six husks. Roll them widthwise together, then tie the roll tightly with thread about an inch from one end. Turn the roll upside down and peel the husks back singly over the thread, so that the bound end is covered. Smooth out the husks and tie a thread tightly around them just below the knob, forming the head. For the neck, tie a 1/4-inch-wide cornhusk strip over the thread.
Make arms by rolling two husks around 6 inches of thin wire. Tie the ends of the rolled husks with thread; trim the ends. Insert the arms between the front and back husks, right under the neck; center them. Secure the arms to the torso with a length of husk strip crisscrossing the breast and the back, over and under the shoulders. Tuck loose ends into the torso. Tie narrow strips of husk to make elbows and wrists.
Wrap a 3/4-inch-wide strip over each shoulder, cross them at front and back, then secure them at the waist with a 1/4-inch husk strip. To make the skirt, position several husks, with wide ends down, around the doll’s waist. Tie them in place with thread, then trim the husk ends at top and bottom. Wrap a wide strip of husk over the thread to form a waistband, and tie it in place with two narrow husk strips. Arrange the skirt, then let the doll stand for several days or until it is thoroughly dry. For hair glue dried corn silk onto the head. Draw facial features with ink.