Fall 2019

♦ Welcome back everyone! We hope your summer was wonderful. Now that “winter is coming”, we can look forward to planning and learning new crafts for the indoor season. Knitting was a theme this year, with Donna Druchunas visiting at the AGM and showing us how to make traditional Lithuanian wristlets (riešinės). It is a craft that Donna has delved into deeply, and has several books on the topic. We will post a list soon, and are also adding a new section on knitting, which we invite you to visit. Send us your thoughts and any areas of further interest as well!

♦ Camp Neringa in Brattleboro, Vermont, has its 50th anniversary this year, and many interesting events were organized to celebrate. Some of you may have attended the reunion in September. There was also a mushrooming weekend, which was unfortunately somewhat far for Torontonians, but closer for Montrealers and of course Lithuanians from New York, Boston, communities in Connecticut and other Eastern seaboard areas. However LTFAI president Diana Wiese and secretary Ramune Jonaitis did make it to Neringa for an event at the end of August, called Culture Days. Our goal was to present our organization as an important North American cultural institution. Diana spoke about its goals and future plans, and we were happy to promote LTFAI, and even have some new members as a result. Attendance at the Cultural Days was not huge, as various people came and went at various points during the program (August 21-25), but the group was warm and receptive. There were interesting talks on architecture, on the history of Neringa, a book presentation, a writing workshop, a play reading, a demonstration of wool processing and other sessions we were sorry to miss because of time constraints. We hope we can continue to reach out to our American friends and widen our network of Lithuanian folk artists and aficionados. On our way back we also managed to  visit Donna Druchunas at her home in Vermont, and found her dyeing wool! We were happy to hear that she is learning Lithuanian and is as dynamic as ever. For knitting news and ideas, do visit her website https://sheeptoshawl.com.


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Past LTFAI.org Talks
Here’s what you have missed. Get updates of upcoming events. Sign up for our email newsletter.

Traditional Crosses in Lithuania:
Lithuania is sometimes called the land of crosses. Crosses and unique pillar shrines with various sculptures have been an integral part of the Lithuanian landscape for several hundred years.  They represent not only religious symbolism but national identity especially in times of repression.  We will look at and discuss the amazing wooden carving and iron work of this important folk art and touch on the well known Kryziu Kalnas (Hill of Crosses) site in Lithuania.

Wool (Vilna):
Wool Crafts in Lithuania: Although linen features prominently in Lithuanian folktales and folk songs, we rarely hear about wool. However in the cold climate working with wool was an integral part of daily life forrural villagers in Lithuania. Small farms were self-sufficient; little or no money was needed to supplement the household’s home production. All the women and girls in a family spun, wove, knitted, and felted wool to create all of the households woolens.

Easter Palms (Verbos)
History and Significance of Verbos in Lithuanian Life: Palm Sunday is an important part of the Easter tradition. Learn about the history of decorated palms and get to know the customs and decorative techniques specific to Lithuania. (Please note, this is not a hands-on workshop.)

Black Ceramics (Juoda Keramica)
History and use of black ceramics in Lithuania: The tradition of black ceramics has been documented in Lithuania for centuries. Although eventually falling out of favour due to other pottery techniques, Lithuania is one of the few places that still make this beautiful pottery. Learn about the history, techniques and artistry of black ceramics.

Amber (Gintaras)
Gintaras – Our Golden Heritage: Gintaras, or Amber, has been important to Lithuanians and Baltic people for millennia. Important in terms of culture, art and symbolism. Learn about various aspects of Amber to bring you to a new and better understanding and appreciation of this beautiful “golden stone”.

Easter Eggs (Marguciai)
History and Significance of Easter Eggs in Lithuanian Life: The egg has long been seen as a symbol of fertility and life. Learn about the role of decorated eggs in ancient and modern times. Get to know the customs and decorative techniques specific to Lithuania.

What is an LTFAI talk?

We are excited to launch our online LTFAI Talks. We hope to have a series of talks on topics that are relevant to Lithuanian folk art. These are lectures, not workshops, that will provide interesting information for anyone interested in folk art.

They will be from a half hour to a full hour in length with time for discussion at the end.

Each LTFAI Talk is free but you have to register to get an invitation to the session.

Giles Bugailiskis Bio

Raised in the Lithuanian community in Hamilton, Ontario. He moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to attend university and was a long-time board member of the Lithuanian Canadian Community there and now serves as the resource person for inquiries about the Lithuanians in Manitoba. Giles has over 30 years of experience in municipal heritage conservation planning and public outreach, having retired as the City of Winnipeg’s Senior Planner for Heritage. He is also a current member of the LTFAI Board.

Ramune Jonaitis Bio

Ramune is a translator and editor, who worked with the Canadian Lithuanian Weekly Tėviškės žiburiai as managing editor for over 20 years.

She is also an artisan who makes mosaics and jewellery using Lithuanian motifs and amber. She is a long time member of LTFAI and has recently served on our board. She learned tapestry-weaving from Aldona Vaitonienė, a master weaver in Toronto, Canada.

Testimonials: My first ever tapestry. I am an artist so I did a little extra with the beads and wire cord to hang. It reminds me of a dress so I had fun with that thought. 😉

I think you did an excellent job with the workshop, especially for those of us with no experience weaving. I have already ordered yarn. The colors in this piece was whatever my friend gave me as I was not able to go out shopping.

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