Monday, December 31, 2018

Felicia's Wycinanka Snowflakes

Snowflakes Galore!

I cut these snowflakes out of computer paper, size 8 1/2 " squares.  Sometimes it is easier to trace a paper plate and start with a circle.  Then you don't end up with a "square", unnatural snowflake.  These are beautiful when placed on a window, so that you can see through the negative spaces.  Gorgeous!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

WYCINANKA: Lowicz Paper Cut Wedding Scene

This Wycinanka (Vih-chee-nahn-kah) is a wedding scene taking place in Lowicz, Poland.  A paper cut of this style is made with overlapping colors of paper.  You can see the bride and groom on the left, the orchestra serenading them, and the guests arriving by horse and carriage.  This piece of artwork (11" X 30") was in a traveling exhibit "Out of the Ordinary: Community Tastes and Values in Contemporary Folk Art (tour dates:  January 1995 - January 1998).  This tour brought together a significant cross section of active New York State folk artists and their works to be shown to educate the public about various folk art that may be centuries old but still is practiced today.  I place high value on keeping up the traditions of my family history, preserving them for the next generation, and educating people about the beautiful art of Poland.  Jake and I, along with our entire wedding party, were dressed in traditional Polish costumes.


I created this paper cut for a lady in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia. She wanted it for her brother's wedding, as he was marrying a Polish girl.  It was part of a paper cut that featured the entire wedding scene.

Modern WYCINANKA by Felicia


WYCINANKA by Felicia

Polish Paper Cut..."FLOWERS IN A BLUE VASE"

Paper Cut made for WSKG Public Television. "FOLK ARTISTS OF THE SOUTHERN TIER"

This whole crew of people came from WSKG TV and filmed me as I made a paper cutting.  My work was in a 3 year show which traveled around New York State major museums.  I was one of six artists whose art was shown.  We even went to Albany, NY for a show; all of us doing demonstrations and talking about our art.


Hooked Rug Wycinanka Wall Hanging


I bought the frame first and then chose my colors
for the paper cutting to go with the frame.

Wycinanka...."FELICIA'S GARDEN" with Blue Ribbon attached.

Wycinanka..."FELICIA'S GARDEN"

When I started cutting this paper cut, I made some of the big flowers and glued them on the background.  At this point I became very frustrated and didn't like the piece.  I was going to tear it up and throw it away.  You see, I am a very "symmetrical" person and this cutting was all over the place.  It really bothered me!  Jake told me to stop, walk away, and look at it again another day.  After that, the next day I was able to continue working on it until it was finished.  This Wycinanka received "BEST IN SHOW" at Da Vinci Art Alliance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The show was called "CUT IT OUT" and curated by Dr. Debbie Miller.  I was very happy that I finished my wycinanka and won a fantastic prize!

Wycinanka: "RED ROOSTER" Polish Paper Cut by Felicia

Wycinanka: "BLACK ROOSTER....Stop and smell the flowers!"



I had made this same Wycinanka using paper.  Then, I thought it would be fun to make a wycinanka from cloth.  I used iron-on webbing and cut out the pieces.  Then I ironed it onto the background white cloth.




This is a very simple wycinanka that can be done with children in a classroom.

Wycinanka: "Tree of Life"

This is a Wycinanka which is symmetrical (same on both sides) and stylistic...typical of the one-colored "Trees of Life" made in several regions of Poland.  The blue paper is folded lengthwise, half of the design is drawn on the back, all the negative space is cut out carefully with sharp scissors, and when the cutting is unfolded, it is glued onto heavy paper. This paper cut is on permanent display at Roberson Museum in Binghamton, NY in their traditional folk artist section.

Wycinanka Polish Paper Cutting and Scherenschnitte German Paper Cutting

The paper cutting above is a Wycinanka, or Polish Paper Cutting.  It has a stylized cut for the tree, horses, and animals.  This one includes the "Goddess in the Tree".  Roosters represent fertility and life.  The curlicures represent water and air.

The paper cut below is a Scherenschnitte, or German Paper Cut.  The figures and the tree are more realistic, similar to a silhouette.  Some of the earliest "photos" were shadow silhouettes of people, animals, and nature.


I folded the blue paper in half lengthwise and drew half of the design on the white background with pencil.  I then proceeded to cut out all of the negative spaces with fine point very sharp scissors, as are used for embroidery or scherenschnitte.  I like cuticle scissors the best.  When the design was unfolded, it revealed the completed Tree of Life with roosters and birds in the tree and on the ground.  I found a piece of scrapbooking paper that had the golden squiggles on it and felt that it gave my cutting the whimsy that I was looking for and it made the blue color POP!


I folded the dark green paper in half and drew half of the flowers, leaves, and ducks on the back with pencil.  Then, keeping the paper folded, I cut out the symmetrical design.  When I unfolded it, I felt the flowers and leaves needed some colors, so I folded and cut pieces of scrap paper and glued them onto the shapes, keeping the design identical on each side.


I had just been invited to show my artwork at Elmira City Hall and had taken everything up to the third floor where the works would be hung.  That same day I received a phone call from a lady wanting to purchase one of my pieces, a Wycinanka Polish Paper Cut called "CHRYSANTHEMUMS".  I informed her that all my work was in a show but hadn't been set up yet.  She told me that she knew that because she works at City Hall.  So I actually sold a piece of artwork even before it went on display.


These are my beautiful blue roosters that I cut free hand by folding the paper in half and drawing half of my design on the back white side.  I used fadeless paper.  I cut out all the "holes" or negative space of the design and then unfolded it to see the blue cutout.  I used sharp pointed cuticle favorite tool.  Then I planned all the colors for the feathers and flowers and had to cut them out by folding symmetrically or cutting out two at a time.  Overlapping the colored paper is a typical characteristic for the paper cuts from the Lowicz (Woh-veech) region of Poland. 


I love the big, gorgeous, and graceful feeling of these flowers in their tiny vase.  I started with green paper, folded, and drew half the stems and leaves with pencil.  After I cut them out, I glued them on the white heavy poster board.  Each flower had to be folded in half, cutting out two at a time....the background color first.  Then the smaller pieces were cut the same way and glued.  I use white paper glue that dries clear.  It's amazing to think that they cut these wycinanki in Poland using sheep shears!


I am always impressed by the magnificent costumes that are worn by the dancers that come from Poland to perform here in the USA.  I once wore a Lowicz costume, when Jake and I were in the Tatra Folk Dance group.  It was made of wool and was heavily embroidered, along with the apron and white blouse.  I had fake braids and a wool scarf (babushka).  We had to dance for a Pennsylvania Polka Show, including dancing for the commercial over and over again.  It was so HOT!!!! but we had to look gorgeous for TV.  We were "brought back by popular demand", as we filmed about 4 shows the very same day.  This little lady is wearing the "gown of my dreams".  The headdress is a bit much, but I wanted her to look like a Goddess.  Aren't those birds amazing?  


I had more fun creating these roosters.  I wanted to make them sharp and wild-looking.  I folded the red paper and drew half of the design with pencil on the back.  I cut out all the spaces around the roosters and chicks as well as the tree and branches.  As I opened the cutting, I decided what colors would emphasize the feathers and flowers and cut them out (two pieces at a time).  I glued everything down with white paper glue that dries clear.  This papercut now resides in Shanghai, China.


I had made this Wycinanka Polish Paper Cut in one color, the dark brown on light brown paper.  After I had made it, I decided to add colors to the roosters and tree by making colored paper feathers, flowers, and other details.  Many Wycinanki are made in only one color.  They were used to decorate the walls and rafters of the houses.  The earliest Wycinanki were made from sheep skins and cut with sheep sheers.  The most important use of these cuttings was to cover the windows with lace-like designs, letting the light come through the holes and making the room warmer in the winter and  cooler in the summer.