The Lithuanian Folk Art Institute and its founders undertook the major task of publishing seminal volumes in English on several essential areas of Lithuanian Folk Art: National Costumes, Easter Eggs, and Sashes. Another book is dedicated to the multi-faceted talent of Anastazija Tamošaitienė, and finally, an album and history of the organization itself provides an overview of several decades of activity.
These books are out of print. Ebooks are available for LTFAI members to view online. Join now for access.
Did you know, that among all peoples sashes are considered the very oldest and narrowest of handwoven goods? All technical skills and creativity in the field of textiles had their beginnings in sash making. This book is the most comprehensive resource on Lithuanian sashes available in English, with history, patterns and techniques, many colour plates, and illustrations of ornaments, motifs and symbols. Part Two of the book by Anastazija Tamošaitienė specifically explains and illustrates traditional Lithuanian sash-making techniques.
One of the first and most important roles of the LTFAI was to compile and publish the extensive research done on folk costumes by Antanas and Anastazija Tamošaitis in various regions and villages of Lithuania. This is an album and compendium of old and new designs, geographic variations of costumes and accessories, including headwear and footwear.
An album and chronicle of the work of Anastazija and Antanas Tamošaitis and the Lithuanian Folk Art Institute, which had chapters in Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York Windsor-Detroit, and Montreal. This volume is an important testimonial to the work of its founders and all its members who brought with them and developed their artisanal gifts in the diaspora. In his introduction to this volume published in 2000 about the LTFAI, folk artist Antanas Tamošaitis wrote:
“Folk art was the soul and most precious possession of the Lithuanian villager. Our folk art was always highly esteemed, both in early times and today. As does every nation, we cherish our culture and strive to preserve it, even in the diaspora. The LTFAI was established for this very reason: to collect, research and preserve the old folk art and to create and nurture the new.“
Anastazija Tamošaitienė was a creative soul who produced tapestries, paintings and lithographs, as well as being a renowned teacher of weaving in the diaspora. (Anastazija is her name in Lithuanian, although the English equivalent was used in some publications.) The chronology of exhibitions of her work is extensive, both geographically and numerically: “Tamošaitienė served as Lithuania’s cultural ambassador, displaying 169 tapestries, 156 oil paintings, and 120 gouaches, along with some lithographs”, wrote her biographer. She was gifted with a “poetic palette in fibre”. The book is a bilingual catalogue of her work, with biography written in Lithuanian by V.A. Jonynas, summarized in English by Victoria Matranga.
A mythologically symbolic and precious tradition familiar to most Lithuanians is the art of decorating Easter eggs, called “margučiai”. This beautifully illustrated book is an excellent guide and a source of infinite inspiration for anyone wishing to try their hand or simply enjoy the photos and designs of this famous and fascinating folk art form.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Newsletters will include events, online events, crafting classes, and talks about Lithuanian heritage topics.
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