Ukrainian folk-crafts

Ukrainian folk-crafts

the land dreams in ceremonies: reparation
by nikki manzie

Ukrainian Folk-Crafts
The various talismans in the exhibit were created with awareness of and adherence to the “rules” and guidelines of traditional ceremonial crafting.  Within the spirit of making sacred objects, I chose to also be true to the relationships the talismans were crafted for. 

That means that each talisman reflects: Ukrainian sacred knowledge and folklore; who I am as mixed-ancestry diaspora; and my direct relationship with the lands I have inhabited and been connected to on Vancouver Island.

Motanka ~ a talismanic figure made of upcycled cloth; made in one sitting; faceless so as not to capture anyone’s spirit; made with “good mood” and uplifting prayers; bound “east to west” with string instead of sewn (no needle shall pierce its body) so as to retain good energy and prevent negative energy or spirits from entering; and an “x” on the chest to represent the Earth Mother.  Each Motanka you see takes 4-6 hours to craft.  The fabric takes several days to mordant and dye naturally. 

“each talisman reflects Ukrainian sacred knowledge and folklore…

Pysanka ~ a talisman made from eggshell, written on using beeswax, dipped in natural dyes, and then heated to remove wax.  True talismans, used in the ceremonies, retain their contents.  Pysanky in the exhibit were made following same rules, and have contents removed in case they become compromised by temperature fluctuations or carelessness (contents would be rancid and quite smelly if the shells break or explode!).  Each Pysanka takes 1-2 days to write, dye, remove wax, and oil.

Rushnyk ~ a sacred talismanic cloth for use at one’s altar or sacred corner of the home; may accompany a person through all life-rites from birth to death; made from virgin cloth, the width of a loom (approximately 2 ft); linen, cotton or hemp; embroidered by hand with the same motif at each end; ends knotted with prayers; ends hanging toward earth to direct any negative energy toward her for transmutation.  As I was working with upcycled fabric, I chose to return it to a “virgin” state by removing threads to make raw edges and then knot the ends.  This process took hours for each length of cloth.  Embroidered Rushnyky took weeks and months to complete.  Eco-printed and dyed motifs (that were later sewn onto the Rushnyky) took 3-4 days to complete.

Materials for the exhibit are either upcycled, found, foraged, grown, or handmade. These include: fabric, threads, string, yarn, cordage, wood, eggs, and plant materials for dyes.

Dyes for Motanky and Pysanky are natural, from plant and food sources.  Mordants and modifiers include soya milk, iron (rail-road nails), vinegar, salt, and an aluminum pot.