Poland is a land with a rich and diverse folklore. As rivers, mountains, lakes, forests and marshes isolated the communities from one another; each region developed its own unique traditions. Folk culture is strongest in the mountainous regions and small enclaves as Kurpie and ?owicz.
Paper cutting became a popular folk craft in the mid-1800's and were used by Polish peasants to decorate the walls and ceiling beams in countryside cottages. The poor people had no money for oil paintings or even art supplies, so they used much cheaper material - paper. Paper cutouts were also given as gifts to family members and friends. Today only a few people make it.
The paper is cut out folk motifs inspired by nature and geometric shapes. There is a variety of colors and shapes of flowers, circles, stars, peacocks, roosters and other birds, as well as rural scenes. The complexity of the designs is created by repeating symmetrical patterns.
Two distinct regional styles were developed. The Kurpie style is cut from a single dark piece of paper while the Lowicz style starts with a dark cut piece but adds layers of colored pieces to it.
Paper cutting is national treasure of folk art. It also looks great when framed.
In the past elaborate costumes were reserved for special occasions like church, festivals and weddings and every day people were wearing rougher clothing. Most people among peasants had only one or two sets of 'good' clothes. These were often very skillfully made and highly ornamented. Many women spent months sewing elaborate embroidery on their dresses or vests. Most of the clothing was produced from linen, cotton, wool, felt, leather and fur available in the community. However sometimes elements were imported from other regions, e.g. the sea shells which decorate the hats of the mountaineers.
Nowadays we can distinguish sixty folkloric regions; each has its own style of costumes. The tradition of folk-costumes is still alive in Lowicz, Opoczno, Sieradz, Kurpie and Tatras. People make the clothes by themselves and wear on festivals and sometimes holidays as well. Other regions make the costumes only for dance groups and choirs.
Artistic Ceramic has been produced in Boleslawiec since the middle of the 17th century. The town is located in Silesia region. The craftsmen inspired by the eye of the peacock feather began decorating the pottery in this pattern. The ceramic is hand-formed, painted or hand-stamped. Then it is fired at the high temperature of 1200 C which makes it very durable and impermeable. The artists manufacture dishes, patters, mugs, bowls and many other pieces. They can create an interesting collection. The potter is oven-proof and freezer-proof and safe for dishwasher, microwave.
The Aristic Ceramics from Boleslawiec is considered one of the finest examples of European pottery. It received many awards e.g. the Gold Medal at the International Poznan Fair in 1995. The unique hand made pottery has very high quality and is exported to many countries in Europe including England, Germany, Denmark, Holland and recently, to the United States as well.
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