Folk art with a modern twist
After a period of fascination with mass industrial production, more and more people are rediscovering the charms of hand-made items, appreciate the skills of their creators, and the unique character of each item. We reach for them on special occasions, but they also decorate our interiors every day, accompany us in everyday life, because they are pretty, functional and - what is very important - natural, ecological. Hence the growing popularity of various types of events and places popularizing folk art.
Folk Art Fair
This is a cyclical event taking place in August at the Main Square in Kraków. For a few days in dozens of stalls you can admire the works of various folk artists, and often even see them at work, talk about its specificity or even order something special for yourself. Lace, weavers and embroiderers often sell their products in beautiful folk costumes. Potters, sculptors and glass painters tell the secrets of their professions. Sometimes there is an opportunity to test your talents and skills, try your hand at a craft.
The sale of handicrafts is accompanied by performances of folk bands and stands with traditional regional dishes, creating a unique atmosphere of the event.
The Borderland of Cultures Fair (Kiermasz Pogranicza Kultur)
The autumn Borderland of Cultures Fair, which takes place at the turn of September and October at the Mały Rynek (Small Market Square) in Kraków, has a similar character. The folk artists, craftsmen and exhibitors present at it prove that tradition and folklore can be skilfully combined with the requirements and expectations of modern times. Hand-sewn folk costumes, lace, wooden sculptures, foundry products, leather products, linen clothing, ceramics, and handmade jewellery are invariably very popular among buyers.
The name of the event refers to the fact that the folklore of the Małopolska region was shaped at the meeting point of many cultures, you can find elements of many of them in it, and this amazing mixture constantly captivates with its originality and uniqueness. Perhaps because the secrets of making products are often passed down from generation to generation, each family has its own closely guarded secret.
The Christmas Fair
The works of folk artists can also be found at the December Christmas Market, which occupies almost the entire Kraków Main Market Square. Wooden nativity scenes, painted baubles, Christmas decorations and centrepieces, ceramic products or wooden toys - these are just examples of products that are offered at that time.
Let us add that the merchants are accompanied by food stands with traditional mulled wine, old-fashioned Polish dumplings, homemade pastries, as well as special events, incl. a procession of carollers, the visit of Santa Claus and Christmas greetings given to the residents of Kraków and tourists by the Mayor of the City of Kraków.
Beskidzkie Centre of Folk Toys
Lovers of folk art should definitely visit the Beskidzkie Centre of Folk Toys in Stryszawa near Sucha Beskidzka. The area can be safely considered the Polish centre of wooden toys. They began to be produced while creating everyday objects as early as at the beginning of the 19th century. With time, toy making became an independent craft activity. Horses, birds, carriages made of white pine have been and are presented at numerous international and national exhibitions, toys of local artists are exhibited in the largest Polish museums with collections of folk art.
A visit to the centre is a joy not only for children, but also for the elderly. You can admire the works of folk artists, as well as play with them, set chanterelles or ducks in motion on the ramp. Workshop participants can try to sculpt a bird or a horse on their own, and paint a toy. Pine figurines from Stryszawa allure with their simplicity, originality and uniqueness; The interest in them is constantly growing, as many people feel overwhelmed with plastic products of mass production.
A trip to Stryszawa (65 km from Kraków) can be combined with a visit to Sucha Beskidzka - its local castle, which is called Little Wawel and Rzym Tavern (Karczma Rzym). It was from there that the devil kidnapped Master Twardowski, the hero of one of the most famous Polish legends, and took him to the moon.
The interior of the tavern, which mainly serves traditional Polish and regional dishes, with hand-made tissue paper decorations, refers to the folk tradition. In the hall there is a folk art shop and a gallery of autographs of distinguished guests.
Diversity and naturalness
Folk art wonderfully shows the diversity of the Małopolska region, love for the tradition of the inhabitants of its various parts. Each part of the region has its own specific costumes, customs, traditions and products. You can discover them not only during regular events, but also on your own while travelling around the Małopolska region, getting to know its charms.