Kociewie embroidery

The reasons for such a rapid decline in the folk culture of Kociewie included the proximity of traffic routes, which brought a faster flow of new ideas and easier access to less-expensive urban products. The 19th Century was also a time of the rapid development of industry, including the textile industry. Products from towns became readily available and much cheaper than the time-consuming production of their own fabrics. Village people quickly absorbed the town fashion, as the style of the “lords” was considered superior.
In the 1970s two independent attempts at reviving Kociewie embroidery were made by Małgorzata Garnyszowa from Pączewo and Maria Wespowa from Morzeszczyn. Both embroiderers started a long and arduous search for embroidery patterns. Due to the lack of material sources, Garnyszowa and Wespowa were inspired by paintings and polychromes of folk furniture, mostly dowry chests, bed settles, and chests of drawers. They also gathered old patterns on the basis of family photographs, wall-painting motifs, feretories, liturgical banners and robes. The ornamentation of Kociewie embroidery schools is dominated by floral motifs with stylised tulips, daisies, cornflowers, berries, leaves, buds, stalks. Both embroiderers came up with similar names for individual elements of their work, but their patterns differ. The colours employed by the two schools are not the same either. Maria Wespa defined 7 basic colours: white, yellow, red, blue, green, lily, and brown, while Małgorzata Garnysz used 13 basic colours: white, yellow, orange, light brown, dark brown, red, maroon, pink, lily, violet, blue, light blue, and green. They also used the shades of those colours. Garnyszowa employed only gray linen. Kociewie embroidery lacks the black colour which is popular in Kashubia and a three-graded shade of blue. The basic stitch is flat or stem stitch.
In the 1980s the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association published a dossier on Kociewie embroidery, thus confirming its canon. Today the patterns of Kociewie embroidery are used not only by embroiderers related to Kociewie. Folk-art fairs often feature patterns that depict spikes of grain among colourful wild flowers on display right next to Kashubian designs.

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