Wycinanki Embroidery: Polish Folk Art for the Ages

Folk art is a longtime favorite among textile artisans. Wycinanki, Polish folk art popular as paper cuttings, has been reproduced into beautiful machine embroidery. Even centuries later, its bright colors and whimsical depictions make the designs popular as ever.

embroidery library wycinanki birdhouse

Photos via Embroidery Library

Folk art has become some of the most loved artwork. Once considered the creation of peasantry, the art form of common people has become much beloved and highly coveted.

Get the Polish Folk Art Birdhouse with Bohemian Waxwing design here.

Get the Polish Square Floral Design here.

wycinanki birds birdhouse

Photos via Embroidery Library

What is Wycinanki embroidery?

Wycinanki, pronounced vee-chee-non-kee, is Polish folk art originally exhibited in paper cuttings.

Get the Wycinanki Feathers – Birdhouse and Birds design here.

wycinanki flowers

Photos via Golden Needle Designs

Popular in the mid-1800s, subjects often included flowers, birds, medallions and holiday motifs. Designs were highly intricate and considered some of the most beautiful paper cutouts in the world.

Get the Polish 6 floral design here.

Get the Polish 7 floral design here.

wycinanki hearts

Photo via Embroidery Library

Wycinanki was created during relaxation after the day’s work was done, much like reading or hand stitching in later years. Patterns are thought to have originated from sheep skin window coverings. Countryside cottages used sheep shears to cut the decorative decorative patterns as a way to let in air and light.

Get the Wycinanki Heart Trio design here.

polish folk peyote patterns

Photos via Craftsy member Magicbeading

In these examples, Wycinanki designs were sewn in the peyote embroidery technique using beads.


Photos via Ace Points Embroidery

Wycinanki designs are of two basic types, each attributed to different regions of Poland.

Get the Polish Folk Art Wycinanki designs here.

wycinanki circles

Photo via Embroidery Library

Kurpie patterns are a single color while those from Lowicz territory include several layered colors. Both lend themselves beautifully to embroidery.

Get the Wycinanki Snowflake 3 design here.

Get the Polish Circle Peacock design here.

wycinanki 2

Photo via Ace Points Embroidery

Get the Polish Folk Art Wycinanki 2 designs here.

What is your favorite form of folk art embroidery?

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