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Wycinanki: Polish Paper Cutouts & Prints

Wycinanki, pronounced “vee-chee-non-kee,” is the Polish word for “paper cut design.” This unique Polish tradition has been a popular form of folk art since the 1900s and has since become a special, rich contribution to the artistic heritage of the world. In fact, in 1997, British Airways elected to highlight the tails of a handful of their planes along with their flight menus with Polish Wycinanki. These ornamental designs are mainly associated with two regions — Kurpie and Lowicz. The Kurpie cutout is typically a symmetrical design, cut from a single piece of colored paper, folded a single time, and features spruce trees and birds as the most popular motifs. The second style from Lowicz is distinguished by the many layers of brightly colored paper used in its composition.

There is some uncertainty about when and why this art form began, but some say it goes back to the time when few farm houses were built with glass windows and people needed a solution to keep the elements out of their homes. Peasant farmers started hanging sheepskins over their windows and eventually snipped small openings in the skins to allow some light and fresh air in. It wasn’t long before these hangings were recognized as not only functional but decorative.

All of our Wycinanki are made by well-known folk artists local to Lowicz, Poland. We carry handmade paper cuts, Wycinanki printed bookmarks, magnets, ornaments, mugs, socks, napkins, and more.

Please keep in mind that designs are handmade and may not be exactly as pictured.