Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Old Christmas postcard

Merry Christmas
Wesołych Świąt

   Old holiday post card from the Polish Peoples Republic (PRL).
   In the years 1970-1979 (Edward Gierek era) Communist censors approved the official greeting cards without religious content. Most were photos of various compositions of dolls, clocks, cakes, glass, Easter eggs and chicks, Christmas tree and ornaments etc.
   This one has a Christmas tree and Cracovian doll. It had no "Merry Christmas" or other writing on it, but some did have "Wesołych Świąt" meaning 'Happy Holidays'. A person would write it at the back if they wished. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Lowicz wedding, Bamberek, Biskupianski, Warminski

Handmade dolls by Mr. & Mrs. Kaliszewski
Łowicz (Wo-vitch) wedding couple,  Mazowsze region.
  This post is all about the wonderful handmade regional and historical dolls by Andrzej and Jadwiga Kaliszewski of Warsaw. They are a husband and wife team who are self employed and make these dolls for souvenir stores in Warsaw and also for sale abroad. I have written to them over a year ago for  specific regional costumed dolls which I have added to my collection. They make the most beautiful folk dolls independently at their home and have so for years.
Bamberek Poznanski couple from the city of Poznan.
  When Jadwiga was younger, her mother started making these dolls at their home in the mid 60's. Jadwiga got interested and helped along with her for a while. She went on to finish higher education, get married and worked in her profession. Later when her children were little, she decided to stay at home for a few years and started again to make dolls to supplement the family income. This was to be for a few years and would later return to work in her career, but she never did. When her husband Andrzej retired from his job, he started helping her and they work together.
Biskupianski (Dzierzecki) from Krobia,  Wielkopolski region.
   Mr. and Mrs Kaliszewski have made many dolls over the years and have sold them across Poland in Cepelia stores, stores abroad, as well as fulfilled special orders. They have a website in both English and Polish where one can look and order online. Also, they are sold in Cepelia and souvenir stores in Warsaw. www.lalki.civ.pl
Married woman from Warmia/Mazury region, North east Poland.
  In next few months I will be getting more of lesser known Polish folk costumes.



Thursday, 25 October 2012

All Large dolls, Krakowski and hope chest


The large Polish dolls
This latest post is on the larger dolls I have brought out to show.
   Until now, all my dolls were from 8 to 11 inches (20 to 30.5 centimetre) in height. These ones were stored away, as I have no room to display them, they go by 13 to 21 inches (33 to 53 cm). I don't really like to collect these larger size ones, but I acquired them as gifts or on sale, so I couldn't pass that up.

Large Lowicz girl
   This was a special order about 6 years ago. I made request for her to have the costume done with attention to detail on embroidery. Made by the Stanislaw Wyspianski Handicraft Cooperative, Krakow. Skirt is a little too long though. Stands at 15 inches (38 cm).
   Love the tiny embroidery work they did on vest and sleeves.

Married woman's costume of Zywiec Township
  I have much earlier posted about the dress of Zywiec town. This one is a married woman's attire, where she has a long sleeved jacket with wide flat collar and a gold trimmed bonnet. This doll is 13 inches and was made by 'Milenium' doll makers in Krakow, labelled 1975 on tag.

  I have included the couple, which the lady has a maiden attire, size 10 inches (25.4 cm).  See the difference in size?

Szczyrzyc Lachy
  There are two kinds of Lachy, the Limanowa and Szczyrzyc. This group of people are situated between Kraków, the gorals and Nowy Sącz area and have borrowed some costume elements from their neighbours, yet they retain their own identity.
  Men wore dark blue wool double vests, one short and a longer one over that, richly adored with sequins, beads, buttons and lots of embroidery. Linen pants and cotton shirts. Black hats with artificial flowers and ribbons. Women had linen skirts with white embroidered aprons, short green damask bodices, white tulle or cotton kierchiefs with white work embroidery. Young maidens wore black bodices with bead work and floral printed skirts, no aprons or head dress.
Since I don't have any female dolls in this costume, I've include a photograph what it should look like.


Large Podhale-Gorals
   Again, these are from the Stanislaw Wyspianski Handicraft Cooperative in two sizes. The larger ones are 15 inches and small ones are 5 inches. More detailed work is on the larger ones, they also cost more.

Large Krakow guys
   I have the three large Cracovian guys. One eastern Krakowski and two western. The two large ones are 20 inches (50.8 cm) and are made by the Stanislaw Wyspianski Handicraft Cooperative in Krakow. The smaller guy is Krakowski-Bronowice bachelor, made by 'Milenium' in 1977 and stands at 13 inches (33 cm).
   The one on left is east of Krakow from villages of Zaborowa and Dąbrowa Tarnowska, the one on right is western from villages of Mników, Kaszów and Rudawa. 
Close up of Zaborowa men's (bachelor) outfit. Attention to shirt embroidery.
                 Photo below is  from villages of Mników, Kaszów and Rudawa.


Large Krakow ladies
Married woman's attire and a bride in white with tall flowered wedding hat.
Front and back. Wonderful detail of jacket and head scarf.
   These are two from Krakow-Bronowice. Bronowice was the largest village west of Krakow city that has now become a suburb area of the city. Because it was the closest and largest village, this variation of peasants folk costume became the most well known and represented of all Cracovian costumes. I have the married woman's attire and the wedding outfit, both 20-21 inches tall. Made by the Stanislaw Wyspianski Handicraft Cooperative in Krakow. (See earlier posts on Western Cracovian.)
Krakow Bride and painted hope-chest

The Polish Hope Chest
   On my last visit to Poland in 2011, I have brought a miniature hope chest at the Cepelia store, as its more for jewellery or such. This one is a Cracovian (Krakowski) painted style, as each region had their own style and design. 
     The hope chests is something everyone knows about. All over Europe in years gone-by, a girls mother would start to collect, find, inherited and make household goods for the marriage dowry. This was collected over the years starting when she would be a little girl, and all items were stored in the chest for the future. Once married, she took these things with her to set up house keeping. It became a must have for in helping secure marriage. The more she had, the better prospects for finding a well off husband. 

   All agreements were made between the parents. The boys were given some tools, animals, land or stood to inherit all his fathers land and cottage. Houses were seldom built for the young married couple and the bride would usually move into his parents house and live with them until they died.

      This is my idea of what would be included in a chest, based on what I have read and heard.

   Bedding items such as feather-down pillows and tick, pillow cases and duvets. Kitchen items like jars, clay pots, wooden pails, cast iron kettles and frying pans, copper pots (if you were rich or lucky) ceramic plates, pottery, a butter churner, utensils, wash board and brooms. House items as embroidered tablecloths, napkins, lantern or oil lamps, spinning wheel and wool, several bolts of linen and cotton plain or printed (for making clothes and bedding), laces, ribbons, religious pictures etc.  
Close up picture below:
   In some cases the bride would bring in a milking cow, which when a calf, given by her father for her to look after when she was young. Chickens and geese were also part of her dowry. During a wedding, presents were not normally given but money was collected after the church ceremony, which was used to buy more goods they needed.
   Pictures of authentic Cracovian chests. Above from a local museum in Wygiełzów near Kraków. Below from the Ethnographic museum in Kraków. Note the wheels on the bottom: to help move a heavy chest from one home to another. Krakow area, mid 19th century.



Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Eastern Cracovian, Szczawnica, Łęczycki, Podlaski Włodawa

Eastern Cracovian
   This area which is east of Krakow city, was more agricultural lifestyle and on the west was more agricultural-industrial. This is why there is so many differences in outfits of western and eastern peasant attire of this region. It is indeed rich and varied. The villagers were prosperous due to good soil for farming as well as trading, selling and sometimes working in Krakow city proper. They were able to acquire more costly material and haberdashery toward their costumes and every village or town had a slightly different to very different cut, style and design.
 A Zalipie married woman and guy from Brzesko area.
   Woman's costume had many local variations and styles. This lady I have represents ZALIPIE village area. White kerchiefs and blouses had plenty of red and black embroidery. White skirts had white cutwork embroidery and vests or jackets were mainly in red, sometimes blue, trimmed with black velvet with white embroidery on front and cuffs. Matching aprons also had white embroidery on bottom edges.
A magierka hat.
   The characteristic headgear of men from BRZESKO was a Magierka - a woolen round hat. It was decorated with blue-red threads and peacock's feather. Men also wore a red four-cornered hat very similar to the headgear from western part - but with more peacock feathers in a fan style and a bouquet of artificial flowers attached. The Kaftan - a long vest worn by men had the same form as in western region, but medium blue to navy-blue in color and decorated with green, yellow and red tassels. They also color embroidered on bottom fronts.
   My Zalipie lady I had brought in Poland when I was a teenager (1979) and she still looks good today. Made by "Milenium" doll makers in Krakow. The Brzesko guy was a special order this year from Mr. & Mrs. Kaliszewski of Warsaw, and they did a SUPER job on his costume! 
Unusual doll maker called "Technoplastka" of Krakow, 1979. about 8 1/2 inches.
   These two guys are also Eastern Cracovians (Krakowski-Wschodni) with the Sukmana - great coat. They were white or brown with large triangular collars that were heavily embroidered. Unique for eastern part of Krakow area. The guy on right is Brzesko area, which is further away from Krakow, the gentleman on left, also eastern style, but with red-white pants and white coat, closer to Krakow.
Detail of embroidery on triangle collars. Eastern Krakow style.

Pieniny Gorals or Szczawnica Gorals
    Referred by both names, it is same costume, due to the area called Pieniny which includes the Pieniny National Park and Szczawnica is the biggest town there. Southern Poland area along the Dunajec river by Slovakia. It is east of Podhale and Spisz and south of Nowy Sącz. They have a specific dialect and costume, which has some Slovak, Hungarian and Germanic influences. Like all highlanders, the area was poor for farming so they were mainly pastoral people. Today these costumes are worn for folk dancing and one can see men in the hats and vests working the rafts for tourists on the Dunajec river.
Rafting on the river of Dunajec on the Slovak-Polish border is the most favourite
 tourist activity in the Pieniny National Park. Here two local górals in folk costume man
 the rafts with long sticks for guiding.
    Women's attire consists of the following components: linen blouse with red weaving embroidery on cuffs and sleeves, white-red stripped skirt, a cloth apron and corset (red or green) decorated with floral embroidery. Married women wore a cap like bonnet, girls were bareheaded. Kierpce or high top boots worn on feet.  The men's costume consists of a linen shirt, white loose embroidered pants, a richly embroidered and sequined blue vest, kierpce (leather moccasins) and regular goral black hat.
   Both of these dolls were special orders. The lady was made by the Stanislaw Wyspianski Handicraft Co-op about four years ago. My most recent purchase is the guy specially made by Mr. & Mrs. Kaliszewski. Great attention to detail on his costume, I love it!

Łęczycki 
   Part of Mazovia region, south of Sannicki area and north of Sieradz, west of Lowicz. The largest town was Łęczyca (When-chit-tsah), hence its name. It was a good land for farming and peasants prospered. Homespun clothing was replaced later with ready made urban wear by the turn of the century.
   As similar to most of Mazovia region, the Leczycki costume dresses, aprons and capes were made from homespun wool in multi stripes. Not only vertical stripes, but also they made horizontal or plain one coloured. Most popular colours were reds, blues, purple and green. They usually wore aprons of contrasting colour to the dress. 
Camel wool scarves.
   The most unique article of clothing for this costume, found no where else is the camel wool scarves, in cream or black, crocheted and worn over the shoulders or on heads fastened with a broach under chin. Women wore regular printed scarves on heads and married women wore tulle bonnets richly adorned with white-work embroidery and girdled with a silk scarf.  Laced boots completed the outfit.
  Men wore woollen vertical stripped or plain pants and wool jackets with horizontal stripes. Their attire disappeared by 1914.

Podlasian from Włodawa 
Podlaski Włodawski costume.  The one on the left I hand embroidered all on white cotton.
Part 3 of 3. This costume was worn in the south of the Podlasie region, especially the female attire. Very similar to the Polesie costumes in Ukraine. This costume was named after the town of Włodawa, considered to be its centre. This was a poor quality soil for farming and the the peasants wore home spuns only. Linen was the main material made and used in this area, so the whole costume pieces were made with it. To decorate, they made weaving embroidery on the skirts and aprons and head dress. Linen shirts were hand embroidered cross-stitching on sleeves, collars, cuffs and sometimes front of shirts, especially men's in colours of red, navy-blue, black and sometimes yellow. Married woman wore a headgear consisting of a wooden circular band and two linen cloths wrapped around the head with the weaving embroidery on edges. Maidens wore a woollen headscarf. If one could afford it, coral beads and leather boots, if not, coloured glass beads and bast shoes.
From left to right: girl in Radzynski, two girls in Nadburzanski, a males attire, two girls in Wlodawski
  Here I have all my Podlasian dolls from three subgroups. The men's Podlasian attire is generally the same for this area. I have written about the Radzyn and Nadburzan ones in earlier posts. There were five sub-groups all together, I don't know if I can find or get the other lesser known ones. Missing two  is called Bielska Podlaskiego area, and Sokołowa Podlaskiego (and) Węgrowa area.
            
                                         *    *    *    *   
I am running out of dolls to show and post! There will be one more post coming later in October as I am waiting for some dolls from Poland and still one more set I haven't posted yet, saving it. Some regional costumes maybe repeated if I get different dolls. I am always on the look out for more dolls by internet or by my various contacts out there, so hopefully this blog will not end soon.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Stanisław Wyspianski Handicraft and Art Cooperative

The Stanislaw Wyspianski Handicraft and Art Cooperative
Krakow dolls in various sizes, from their website.

The Stanislaw Wyspianski Handcraft and Art Cooperative was established in 1945. Many of the dolls I have in this blog are from there, especially the historical ones. It is named after a famous Cracovian artist and playwright. (see below)
This cooperative was created by artists and for many years was directed by lecturers of Academy of Art in Krakow.
From the beginning of it’s existence it was involved in preserving folk art and traditions. 
Today the company prides itself on producing dolls in folk attire, national regional costumes, banners, kilims and tapestries.
Whole production is based on designs developed by artists and ethnographers and is approved by the National Commission of Artistic and Ethnographic Validation "Cepelia" on all designs. The Cooperative is established in Krakow and has won numerous awards in excellence and is the leading Polish doll makers for both Poland and export. These dolls have been sold in the ‘Cepelia’ folk souvenir stores for many, many years.

The regional dolls they make range from sizes of 12 to 50 centimeters (5 to 20 inches). Not only all Polish regions are represented (over 60), but they also make Polish historical dolls, village scenery showing rural customs and other European folk costumes in small sizes and doll ‘art’ cards.


Stanislaw Wyspianski (1869–1907) was a Polish playwright, painter and poet, as well as interior and furniture designer. A patriotic writer, he created a series of symbolic, national dramas within the artistic philosophy of the Young Poland Movement. He was one of the most outstanding artists of his time in Europe. He studied, lived and died in Krakow, a national hero.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Polish Cultural Institute and Polish Fest in Minnesota

Polish Cultural Institute of Winona, Minnesota
   This month of August was vacation time and my husband and I drove down to Minnesota, USA. For two important reasons: Polish Festival in Minneapolis and also a Polish museum in Winona, which is a two hour drive south of Twin Cities.
    This museum's collection is largely objects, books, and photographs people brought with them when they immigrated from Poland. In the years from 1850-1900, hundreds of thousands of Poles, facing economic, social and cultural persecution, left the Kashubian region. Winona became a home for one of the largest concentration of Kashubian Poles in the U.S. (Another one was Wilno in Ontario, Canada).
 
  Many wonderful artifacts were collected and are showcased in a refurnished warehouse type building, which was brought in 1976 and restored into a museum. Family heirlooms, religious articles, photographs and Kaszubian cultural objects and such are on display. Logging and farming were the main occupations in the early years and much of those old tools, objects and even a wagon are on display.
Polish folk art and costumes were also on display, also there was a large collection of POLISH DOLLS!

From top to bottom: A Cracovian lady and Goral musician,
 little ceramic ones, large Cracovian married and Rozbarski-Slask.

Polish dolls come in sizes of 5 to 12 inches.

Cracovian dolls with a Kashubian one in middle (green skirt).


A Green Kurpian couple on left,  two Goral musicians on right.


Twin Cities Polish Festival
  During the weekend in August of 11 and 12 was Polish Festival. I have never been to this one, only the one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before. This one was smaller than the Milwaukee one, but still big enough and well organized. Many things going on here. Polka stage and cultural stage (with Dolina Polish Folk Dancers of Minneapolis and Polonia Polish Folk Ensemble of Regina, Saskatchewan). 
 Many Polish food and beer vendors, various retails, artists and folk art, cultural displays, vodka tasting, Chopin piano concerts and Polish films showing in a nearby theater. We had an awesome time there!
So many food and retail vendors with long line ups.
Many vendors selling Polish souvenirs, T-shirts, books, CD's, amber jewellery, pottery, etc.
There was a display of Polish regional folk costumes in one of the side buildings.
Polish folk dancers kept performing.
Here is a children's group in Lowicz and Opoczno costumes.  So cute!
Dinner: Pierogi, kielbasa with sauerkraut in a bun and a pączek for dessert.  Mmmm.