The Year in Review

Happy 2018 to all our members and friends! The months have flown by and once again we have a whole new year to look forward to.

2017 was quite busy – the first half consumed by planning and setting up the website, which was launched in May.  In late July the LTFAI participated in the Lithuanian Day Craft Fair in Ottawa, with a table displaying books, sash-weaving and other folk-art samples and pamphlets about our activities. Some of our members were there as vendors as well.

LTFAI Outreach – Ottawa Lithuanian Day, July, 2017
Treasurer Al Nakrošius, Secretary Ramune Jonaitis, Toronto Chair Birute Batraks  (Photo by Daiva Blynas)

After a brief summer break, the LTFAI Board returned to discussions and preparations for projects new and old. Work continues behind the scenes on the National Costume online archive. November brought the “SIŪLAS” project (see previous post) to the LMAC (Lithuanian Museum-Archives of Canada) in Mississauga, where the LTFAI displayed new banners, examples of books and folk art and most importantly – live demonstration of sash-weaving, presented by Julia Paliulis every Sunday.

The Toronto chapter of the LTFAI, headed by Birute Batraks, organized a “šiaudinukai” (straw Christmas tree ornament) workshop. Guest instructor Joana Adamonis from Montreal held two well-attended sessions on December 2.

The annual Toronto chapter Christmas Craft Fair was held at Resurrection Parish in Etobicoke on Dec. 10th, where seven vendors attracted Mass and Christmas Concert attendees from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

We hope to put action plans for the New Year into play by month’s end, starting with a preliminary calendar. Top priorities will be the National Costume archive project, outreach and chapter coordination. Please feel free to send us your ideas and requests! It is our goal  to renew our organization’s  role as a creative and dynamic resource for Lithuanian folk art designers, artisans, friends and students.


SIŪLAS Exhibition at Lithuanian Museum-Archives of Canada

Lithuanian Museum-Archives of Canada

Our new exhibition: “Siūlas/Thread” is our contribution to the 2017 Year of the National Costume celebrations in Lithuania.  Come and see how two fundamental components – raw linen and wool, are transformed into articles full of artistic interpretation and adapted to daily life from early days to modern-day creations.

Juosta/sash weaving demonstrations will be given on Sundays.

Works on display by:

  • 19th/early 20th century homestead artisans
  • Folk artists from the Displaced Persons camps in post WWII Germany
  • Anastazija and Antanas Tamošaičiai – founders of the Lithuanian Folk Art Institute of the Diaspora,
  • members of LT Folk Art Institute,
  • Calgary artist – Elytė Balkytė-Zubis,
  • Toronto designer Akvilė Minkevičienė, and,
  • contemporary fashion designers from Lithuania (slide show).


Keeping Lithuanian Folk Art Alive

This year‘s annual general meeting of the Lithuanian Folk Art Institute (LTFAI) took place on April 30, 2017, at the Resurrection Parish in Toronto. The former president, Birutė Batraks, called the meeting to order and asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of recently deceased members – Laurynas Vismanas, Aldona Vaitonienė, Irene Meiklejohn, Dana Šablinskas and others. Their passing was deeply felt in the organization and it was important  to honour their memories and accomplishments.

LTFAI Board elections also took place at the annual meeting, and the following were elected: Diana Bubulyte-Wiese (President), Algimantas Nakrošius (Treasurer), Ramūnė Jonaitis (Secretary), Danguolė Breen (LMAC Liaison), Sebastian Grinham (Technical Advisor), Aldona Rygelis (National Costume Project Lead), Birutė Batraks, Alytė Milliken, Algis Norvila, Kristina Pavilanis.

This past year, a number of things were initiated and completed with plans for many more for this year.  We want to ensure that LTFAI is not just a legacy organization but a living breathing entity that celebrates the past and embraces the future.

Our main accomplishment was the creation of this website, which will allow us to provide information, showcase and promote Lithuanian folk art, reach out to members and more importantly new members, and provide a home for the archive of the National Costume Project, one of our key current projects, being led by weaver and photographer Aldona Rygelis from New York City. Its purpose is to document and photograph Lithuanian national costumes woven in North America, in the diaspora, in order to capture the beauty and artistry of these garments so that future generations can appreciate and understand the technical mastery that went into this weaving. The project is ongoing, and Phase 1 of the digital archive is planned to launch in September 2017. We are proud to be able to do that in the Year of the National Costume as designated by the ministry of culture of Lithuania.

We have an ambitious year ahead and welcome any and all artists and craftspeople interested in Lithuanian folk art and particularly weavers to become engaged with the organization and keep our heritage alive.

Lithuanian Folk Art Institute (LTFAI) Board, elected April, 2017. Seated, from left: Birute Batraks, Diana Bubulis-Wiese (President), Ramune Jonaitis (Secretary); standing, from left: Algimantas Nakrosius (Treasurer), Lith. Costume Archive Lead Aldona Rygelis, Danguole Juozapavicius-Breen, Sebastian Grinham.  Missing are: Algis Norvila, Alyte Milliken, Christina Pavilanis.     Photo  J. Tarvydas

2017 is the year of the National Costume in Lithuania!

The LFAI is delighted to participate in this celebration by launching its new website and making significant progress on creating a photo archive of national costumes woven in the diaspora.

The goal of the year of the National Costume as declared by the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania ( is to renew interest in this, the most unique and beautiful expression of our ethnic culture.

Various conferences, exhibitions, and seminars are planned at various museums and galleries in Lithuania. Toward the end of the year, there will be a conference and display of the A.A. Tamošaitis collection of 19th and 20th century woven fabric, sashes and folk costumes at the Vilnius Academy of Art. There will also a National Costume competition  and a website is underway.

Lithuania‘s Ministry of Culture has posted a complete programme on its website Search Tautinio Kostiumo Metai for more information.

This is also the year of HILLFORTS (piliakalniai) as declared by the Ethnic Culture Security Council. Additional information on this and other projects is available on the Lithuanian ethnographic site