2012 m. gegužės 26 d., šeštadienis

Traditional Lithuanian Souvenirs

This is a post to help tourists and visitors to Lithuania choose something to bring home. I took these pictures at a crafts fair during a song and dance festival. So, let's embark on a tour of Lithuanian arts and crafts! First of all, there are many shapes and sizes of clay works. The most popular ware is a jug. You can not only keep food products in them but also use as vases or just decorative elements. 

This photo and the one below come under the name of Vytautas Valiušis

Another item that none true Lithuanian household can do without is a woven basket. We have a strong tradition for gathering forest fruit (berries, mushrooms) and so there cannot be too many baskets.

Baskets in this photo by Sigitas Juknevičius label.
May your cat travel comfortably:-)
Wooden artwork is done very skillfully and our cross-making activity is on the UNESCO heritage list for immaterial heritage, so that tells something, right?

We call such carvings "Rūpintojėlis"-"He who takes care of". This is basically Jesus in contemplation. It is put up in trees or chapels to protect houses. By Romanas Vagnorius.
These wooden jewellery boxes are made in the old fashion of dowry chests for brides. Each region had their decorative elements.
An innovative away for a slicing tray. Sigita ir Aivaras Norbutai, www.laiptas.lt
A barrel exhibited under Vitalijus Striuogaitis name.
By Stasys Cemnickas. This peg is the size of my hand :-)
These were originally used to decorate spinning wheels, now decorative elements in their own right. By Edmundas Akulauskas.
If you are looking for original, one-of-the-kind, framable gifts, why don't you take a look at paper clippings? They come in different colours and arrangements, some can be done to order.

By Laimutė Fedosejeva, www.laidi.info

Woven and knitted items of clothes are another tradition. Yet again, each region had their own colour set and patterns.

Woven garmets by Aldona Valkauskienė

By Sigita Milvydienė. Sashes mean protection.

Ironware is another field that has retained many traditional details. These can be used to decorate your house facade. The design pattern mixes Christian and old pagan elements: a shape of a cross is decorated with the elements of sky, like a young moon or rays of sun.

Done by Juozas Stankevičius.

A special knitwear field is mittens and socks. Yes, you can buy these even in the hottest summer. Most often done from pure wool.

Linen comes as a very old traditional material though today it is being imported because our linen plant industry is, unfortunately, quite dead. The following three photos show works by Genovaitė Varaneckienė.

Hay straws also come handy in our arts and crafts. Different decorations can be made from them. Such "hanging gardens" used to be given during weddings for the new family. Certified to Roma Gudaitienė.

Ah, but what about the jewellery? Traditionally it is made from amber, but today you can buy many items from silver or brass based on old pagan patterns that have been uncovered in excavations. 

Along with items of above mentioned crafts you can take some food. If you happen to come during a fair, you will see such traditional fair candies:

Other food that has reputation for quality and good taste include brown bread, goat's milk cheese, beer, chocolate, and honey. 

Attention, certified items of cultural value bear one of these signs:

Now some tips where you can buy such traditional Lithuanian arts and crafts:
* Pilies and Didžioji Streets are lined with stalls of sellers and there are many galleries in Vilnius, especially in the Old Town. Not sure where it is? Click for a map: http://goo.gl/maps/K3zh
*some crafts have their private studios where they also hold workshops. Many are listed here: http://www.vilnius-tourism.lt/en/turizmas/lankytinos-vietos/dailieji-amatai/
*fairs and festivals usually have a selection of artists. Events can be browsed by date here: http://www.vilnius-events.lt/en

Certified craftspeople and artists can be found in this database: www.tautinispaveldas.lt

That's it for now. Thoughts, questions and comments are more than welcome.