Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Step Ten: A step back and then a step foward with Wycinanki!

Hi Sylwi

I didn't sleep last night I was so unclear about today. Yesterday, I was racking my brain, trying to come up with an idea for Step Ten, but I couldn't think of one. Worse still, I had a nagging feeling that maybe it was all a waste of my time. Suddenly, it all seemed very luxurious, taking this time each week to play with paper, knives and glue! :-) I don't know what triggered it, I'd been really enjoying it all in the weeks before. 

This morning, I still had no clue what I was going to make, but had to quieten the voices in my head and just begin something! These deadlines on a Tuesday are very good for that! Once I've posted tonight, I'll probably have another think about why I feel this way, but until I've actually created something and got the photos online, I have to focus on the creating, not on the reasons for! :-) 

A while ago, I saw a clear image in my mind of a scatter cushion, decorated with layers of felt cut into shapes of flowers and then another layer of detailed stitching. I think material is where I'm ultimately heading (perhaps?) with these paper cuts, although I have to admit, I'm loving the almost meditative qualities of spending a few hours cutting paper. I really enjoy it.

I recently came across some photos of Wycinanki - you may be more familiar with it than me! ;-) Wycinanki began when Polish shepherds would cut designs out of tree bark and leather, but the art form graduated onto paper in the mid 19th Century and has since been used as decorations and gifts. 

I found two distinctive types of the Polish wycinanki which vary based on region. The Kurpie region wycinanki is typically a one colour paper cut, whilst the Łowicz region tends towards layers of coloured paper. Both are beautiful, but this week, with designs for my cushion in mind, I chose to try out some Łowicz wycinanki.

I returned to work on some flowers that I used for Step One! They are flowers that were inspired by Indonesian tjaps and I drew them in a frame. Once sketched, I knew I liked the frame, but didn't like the contents of it. Time was beginning to fly past, so I decided to only do the frame today, just to try out this new technique. I didn't even know if it would work! 

I cut the basic shape out of black paper and then added layers in colour. I don't actually have coloured paper, so used old envelopes and scrap paper. Whilst it worked as a trial run, if I try this technique again, I shall buy some pretty paper specifically for the job. Some of my scrap paper was quite fibrous, which made cutting hard. The corners did not cut very cleanly (you get left with little threads of paper) and the paper also began peeling into layers as I was sticking it all together! 

I also need to buy a bunch of new blades - cutting with a dull knife gives you finger cramps! :-)

I ended up choosing a mix of pinks and a mint green, which looks a lot better than in the above photo! I need to learn how to capture colour well in photos! Even outside today, I was struggling to get a true representation of the colours!

Anyway. Wycinaki (Łowicz style!) is so much fun and totally addictive! I expect I'll be doing more of this over the coming year! 

I'm very intrigued now to see your Step Ten. Are you doing the magician's head this week?! :-)

Lots of love

1 comment:

  1. Dear Fi,

    I don’t feel good about not finding the time to comment on your posts lately, and I wish I was in better shape to do this right now, but I hope you will understand...

    I read your post about Polish “wycinanki” and you brought a smile straight into my heart for being so “crazy-thoughtful”. You know that I love you for this? I love your ideas and surprises and cannot wait for the second part to this post I want to see the Indonesian flowers in this cute frame!!!

    I actually never did “wycinanki” but I saw women doing them, some designs are folded in half or even four and made with a scissors in a few minutes. So, now it is clear that you need to come to Poland to learn this technique from “Góralki” ha, ha ;)

    Try to scan your wycinanki, it might look better than picture.

    Thanks for the lesson!!! You always amaze me with your teaching approach :*