folk art forms {part 1}

lately i've been incredibly inspired by different forms of folk art... patterns, textures, techniques. there is nothing like an authentic form of folk art, i especially love seeing some of the ways people are incorporating these age-old looks and traditions into modern pieces and rooms.


wycinanki {pronounced vi-chee-nahn-key} is a polish folk art that involves paper cutouts, bright colors and intricate patterns. wycinanki dates back to mid 19th century and originated with polish sheepherders cutting designs out of treebark and leather. in rural areas of poland this craft is done for relaxation and passed down for generations, all the while designs and themes have become more intricate and detailed.

+ you can find more designs and purchase some pieces of art work at the polish art center.
+ doris sikorsky is an artist from chicago who has mastered the art of wycinanki.
+ the rug pictured above {top, right-hand corner} is from urban outfitters. the uo website describes the rug as "greek floral pattern" but it looks like wycinanki if you ask me {as pointed out by jamie from the i suwannee blog the other day}.
+ the framed artwork is a photo i found on picasa.


another fascinating form of folk art is colcha fabric. this folkart has been practiced by the otomi indians (from the tenango region of the mexican state of hidalgo). each piece of fabric usually comes in very bright colors and takes up to three weeks to complete. this region has been an impoverished region, and buying these fabrics helps the women who spend so much time making them and it also helps to sustain the viability of this tradition of endangered textiles.

+ you can read about colcha fabric at the beachbungalow blog.
+ you can purchase colcha fabric panels from jacarnda home and at the mexican textiles museum. (a bedspread size panel will cost you anywhere from $250 -$400.)
+ {photos from design*sponge, jacarnda home and the beachbungalow blog}


juju (or tyn) hats are a ceremonial accessory to the villages of cameroon. it is worn by chiefs, prominent officials and important dancers. the hats are made out of brightly colored feathers that are sewn onto a raffia fiber base. the feathers are utilized as a symbol of prosperity and positive qualities associated with birds.

+ you can read more about juju hats being used in decorating at the more ways to waste time blog.
+ you can purchase a juju hat for about $325 at the authentic africa store.

wedding blankets

moroccan wedding blankets are a tradition used with brides in moroccan weddings. usually five days before the wedding the a mattress, blankets and other necessities are taken into the bridal chamber where the bride is given a milk bath in the hammam. the negassa (female attendants) spend the days beatifying and preparing the bride with henna stains and then dress her in embroidered wedding finery of white robes.

+ you can contact maryam (from my marrakesh) and she may have some of these fine blankets left to sell you.
+ you can read about the others who have been so lucky to acquire on these blankets from maryam: holly (from decor8), blue mountains mary and tara (from paris parfait)
+ {the pillow pictured above is from a post holly made a while ago and the store it came from doesn't seem to exist any longer.}
+ {the picture of the moroccan bride came from here.}
+ also, i must add that the other day i was in the urban outfitters store and i spotted a rug that looked remarkably like a traditional moroccan wedding blanket. i don't see one on the website at all, but maybe you've seen it in the stores as well.

now after all this inspiration and back-stories of these wonderful forms of folk art, isn't it refreshing to see items like these {pictured below} made by bokja design?

bokja press

{photo from bokja's press release page}

i hope to bring more folk art to this blog in the future as inspiration. it is refreshing sometimes to know why and where these patterns and designs originated from.


  1. ooo, I want one of those Juju hats! I must figure out how to get one. I live in Africa, after all.

    I have new stock of vintage Moroccan wedding blankets (esp those that are not as bushy as the ones you have in the photos - more manicured looking, each sequin sewn by hand). So feminine and lovely.

  2. thanks for commenting, maryam! it is so great that you are able to bring those glorious wedding blankets to the hands of people that may never have access to them. (i didn't see any when i was in marrakech.. maybe one day i'll be able to afford one for myself.) and yes, a juju hat would be most appropriate for you and all of your eclectic things!

    and thanks, carlene! it was fun to put the post together... it did require some hunting around though.

  3. Awesome!
    Folk Art wedding blankets. I have never seen such hand made glorious blankets. I love to have one like this for my wedding. Thanks for giving such an beautiful blog regarding folk art.

  4. I love this post ! Moroccan blankets or suzani sofas ...I don't know which one to choose



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