Wycinanki: Polish papercut art

I’m notoriously rubbish at getting things framed and have boxes full of ephemera, prints and doodles that I’ve been intending to hang on my walls for yonks.

However, with half an hour to kill on Tottenham Court Road before dinner here (go, it’s great) I found myself in Habitat and remembered to pick up a Bacall frame for one particularly lovely scrap from my collection. It’s a wycinanki, an intricate Polish papercut.

{both Decorator’s Notebook}

Wycinanki (pronounced vee-chee-non-key) were originally made by shepherds from scraps of leather or tree bark and used to decorate their huts. The designs often feature traditional folk art motifs such as peacocks, roosters, flowers and elaborate medallions. Over time the art developed to use paper instead and the technique is passed down through generations.

{via Ponoko}

Designs vary depending on the region where the wychinanki are made – mine’s typical of the Kurpie forest where only one colour is used, while those from the Łowicz region feature layers of multicoloured paper.

{both via Sublimacje}

If you’re not making a trip to Poland anytime soon, try this wycinanki stockist in the UK or this one in the US. I also really like Angie Pickman‘s prints of contemporary wycinanki, especially this fox design.

Finally, if you want to have a go at making your own, check out this excellent wycinanki how-to by papercut artist Suzy Taylor.

{$20 Rural Pearl}

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