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.
LTFAI members can view these publications online. These books are out of print, with only a few copies remaining for purchase.
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.