A Fun Morning! Valentine Paper Cut Workshop @ Knack

Last Saturday I had a wonderful morning at Knack teaching paper cut techniques to ten lovely women. I had a full house show up for the workshop and we all gathered around the table and got to work. I talked a bit about Wycinanki, Polish paper cuts. I especially focused on the Kurpie style Polish paper cut which uses a single fold, symmetrical design technique. Some students used the templates I brought to class for their design and other students created their own unique designs. Every paper cut made in this workshop was created by using recycled / up-cycled materials that Knack has gathered or that have been donated to the store. All the women seemed inspired by the class and especially by the design examples I shared from books I bought while studying in Poland and Hungary. A couple Polish/American students came to the class because they wanted to learn a little about their creative, Polish heritage. It feels good to pass on the beauty and heritage of traditions I've found particularly rich and inspiring. I plan to be back to Knack sometime this spring to teach another paper cut class. This time we will create floral paper cut designs. Stay posted for the date which I will announce here and on Facebook once I book the day and time. Thank you to Macey and Amber at Knack for having me teach this class and for taking these pictures which capture the feel of a fun, creative morning at your store.


I started a Polish Folk Art course last week that meets every Weds. night for the next four weeks.  The class is being offered at the Springfield Museums which is a collection of architecturally varied buildings housing museums that focus on fine arts, science, and history.  The buildings form a quad that is home to Dr. Suess' sculptural art garden.  I plan on spending a full day at the museums in Springfield, MA once the weather turns warm and I can enjoy some sunshine in the sculptural gardens.

Last week we were introduced to Wycinanki, pronounced (vih-chee-NAHN-kee).  Wycinanki are paper cut out designs that started decorating Polish homes in the mid 1800's.  Our teacher shared that it's believed Wycinanki came to be after sheep shears were used to decoratively cut up sheep skins. The skins were then used as beautiful, ventilated window coverings.  Here we have a case of function meets art.  Later, after the art form's evolution, the paper cut out designs were used to decorate whitewashed walls and ceiling beams inside Polish homes.  I'm learning that the images expressed in Wycinanki are full of symbolism.  The designs are repetitive, symmetrical, often very colorful, may be circular or rectangular and regionally represent slight variations of style and design.  Flowers, hens and roosters and the tree of life are recurrent themes found in this art form.

Above is my first attempt to create a simple, circular, geometric Wycinanki.  I'm so inspired to run with this... learn more about the symbolism, practice traditional designs and then create my own designs.  All you need is some colorful paper, scissors and a glue stick!  I'm sure there will be more to share on this topic here in the future.