Introduction to Free Form Embroidery & Ritual Cloths (Rushnyky)

Embroidery is one of the oldest ways humans have been expressing their heart’s desire and need to adorn themselves and all they touch. It dates back as far as 30,000 years (at least). The tradition of making rushnyky, or ritual cloths is also ancient, and continues to this day, as a way of imbuing cloth and threads with prayers and spells for an important or special occasion, as a way of connecting our spirit with the material world. Rushnyky are prepared for all important rites of passage, and especially in times of crisis and calamity, when the need for protection, and good forces is even more important.(ie. now!) (The word “rushnyk” is Ukrainian, and specific to Slavic speaking peoples; this particular expression of ritual cloth is Eastern European in a broad sense, but has roots in the Near East/Middle East, and of course, common roots with the universal human practices of weaving, stitching and making of ritual objects.)

Delve into this beautiful and sacred practice and begin your journey into the rich world of embroidery. Join instructor Bozena Hrycyna of Kosa Kolektiv & Folk Camp Canada for an introduction to free form embroidery through a day-long immersion into the tradition of the ritual cloth (“rushnyk”). The workshop is designed for beginners and will focus on learning best practices and gaining general familiarity with various materials and techniques used in embroidery, and specifically stitches used for rushnyky made with drawn forms. You’ll be introduced to some freeform techniques such as stem stitch, split stitch and chain stitch, as well as satin stitch, which can be used to beautifully depict any drawn form, and are used to “draw” organic forms onto the cloth (namely flowers, birds, vines). We’ll look at the traditional archaic motifs of natural forms such as the ‘tree of life’ and its variation- ‘the flowers in a vase’ which are characteristic of the rushnyky from the central and eastern (Leftbank) parts of Ukraine. This class is suitable for ages 12+ To understand better what a rushnyk is, and what function it serves, you can read a pretty accurate description here: or watch this video 🙂

1 Full Day Workshop Saturday (6 hrs)

Participants: 15

Cost: $120

Bozena Hrycyna

Bozena Hrycyna is director of FOLK CAMP, an organisation connecting people with the folk arts, crafts, music, and land based traditions of Eastern Europe in the Canadian context. As co-founder of the Kosa Kolektiv, Bozena has collaborated with many artists, musicians, and community organisations in Ontario (and across Canada) to promote the richness of Ukrainian and Eastern European cultures, and to facilitate meaningful connections for people (cross-culturally and within their own lineage). Bozena is an amateur singer of traditional village songs, embroiderer, pysanka maker, weaver of threads and grasses, and textile craftsperson… actively learning and sharing these artforms from her Ukrainian/Ruthenian heritage. She has taken workshops and travelled extensively in pursuit of deeper understandings of these and other folkways, and apprenticed to the land, spending the last six years on a homestead near Wilno, Ontario. She currently divides her time between the Ottawa Valley, and southern Ontario.



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