2010-02-12 Cut-outs

The art book entitled „A Cut-out from Kadzidło Commune” will be published next year. It will only provide a glimpse of what constitutes a great treasure of Polish culture, namely the hands and scissors of male and female cut-out artists from Kurpie.


Before the work is created the artist chooses the motif – a star, a leluja or a multi-level conversation piece – folds the paper in half and invents a pattern for the edge (for instance leaves or feathers). Then the artist cuts the piece of paper, not really knowing what the end result will look like. Just like in art.











These wonderful ornaments are cut out with scissors used for shearing sheep. It is baffling that with this instrument such delicate marvels can be produced. The cut-out artists claim that each of them has to have their own scissors, because they adapt to the hand of the user.












The cut-outs made from a colour paper appeared in Kurpie in mid-XIX century. The custom of decorating houses with cut-outs was present among all families regardless of their affluence. Some of the artists would create their manufactures for many families in order to improve their financial position.  Paintings and walls were decorated before two major church holidays: Easter and Christmas.


One particularly popular shape of cut-outs is called leluja – a vertical symmetrical composition with two elements. The lower part forming the base is usually smaller, whilst the upper part called “korona” is oval or rectangular. Leluja is considered by many to be the most characteristic shape for artists from Kurpie and appears only in this region.











Another shape popular in the region of Kurpie is a star. The most popular cutting motif is a net in the form of openwork with small geometric motifs.











In the past the circles and lelujas were pasted onto walls interchangeably and in this way they would form colourful, rhythmic and harmonious compositions. 











Apart from monochromatic lelujas and strars, multi-colour cut-outs were also created: cocks, birds, peacocks and horses with riders.

A more difficult shape is that of conversation pieces presenting various household activities in farmyards, wedding or hunting.




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