Marcia Strykowski

Clever Katya

CLEVER KATYA is an original 32-page picture book manuscript. Traditional gender roles have been reversed. A female peddler takes advantage of Katya’s vain older brothers, and it is Katya, an independent, young girl, who, by being true to herself and her love for tradition, is able to teach her brothers to look beyond their appearances for beauty.

Shown below are wycinanki samples similar to what Katya is working on throughout the story. This paper cutting craft will be a useful marketing tool and has already generated interest with a publication in Highlights for Children entitled “Wycinanki Bookmarks.”

            sheep shears - Copy - CopywincinankiRed - CopysheepCut

Peasant farmers hung sheepskins over their cottage window openings. Some would cut holes in the skins to let in air and light. Before long they realized these practical slits could be pretty designs. This was the beginning of wycinanki, a folk art still popular today. By 1850, shepherds used their sheep shears to snip many shapes out of bark and leather. Polish peasants continued the craft and used paper when it became available. Cottage walls were whitewashed each spring. The old wycinanki was thrown out and new designs were made to decorate walls, shelves and ceiling beams. The first paper-cuts were made using one color, but later artists used many colors. Cutouts usually have equal shapes on each side of the fold. The designs are often from nature, such as plants or animals. Red and white can be used to display Poland’s national colors.

Papercutting demoMarcia presents the art of papercutting.

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