Friday, August 18, 2006

For my tatting friends...

The next several blog posts, over the course of a few days, are going to be devoted to one of my favorite events of the year--the annual folk arts and crafts fair in Krakow. Today was the first of ten glorious days of craft-fair bliss. I took so many pictures today, I filled up the memory card on my camera, something I almost never do!

But this first post is for my tatting friends, because Polish tatter Jan Stawasz is familiar to most internet-savvy tatters. However, since he doesn't personally speak English, it's difficult to contact him or share patterns and information. This was his sign at the fair.

He personally hand-makes his own shuttles, which he also sells. He started doing this after he learned to tat, because shuttles are not for sale in Poland. In order to share his craft, he has to provide the tools! (Crocheting is popular, so buying the thread is not a problem.) He told me today that he'd much rather spend his time tatting than making shuttles--each shuttle contains hours and hours of work, from cutting the raw shapes out of plexiglass, to bending them to the correct angle, to polishing them to a high-gloss finish.

His shuttles are very light, and a bit larger than the average shuttle, so they can hold a lot of thread (but may not be appropriate for very fine threads). He says they are great for beading, because there is plenty of room to wind a lot of string and beads onto his shuttles.

He also made this little tool for himself from an ordinary crochet hook. He cut it down, and sharpened one end to a point that works well for picking out mistakes. He put this hook into a piece of soft rubber of some kind, but he showed me another one pushed through an ordinary rectangular pencil eraser. The idea is just to make it easier to hold the tool.

I neglected to take a picture of Jan himself (maybe later--I'll be seeing him again a few times this week, I expect), but I did get a shot of some of his work for sale. The enormous doilies/mats are extremely expensive. The large oval one is selling for over $600, and the (slightly) smaller round ones for about $350. The smaller flower picture in a frame (on the table) was about $15, and the little motifs in the top left corner were about $5. The necklaces, which are made with beads, were between $30-$40.

If you look through the open space at the bottom of the display, you can see a woman seated behind the screen. She has Jan's instructions open on her lap, and she is practicing tatting after a personal lesson from him!

I really enjoyed talking with Jan today. He is a bit of a character, talking a mile a minute (Actually I hate it when Polish people do that! Makes it harder to understand!), and really enjoying his craft. He makes up all his own patterns, and doesn't really like to repeat them. His work his beautiful, and he is extremely patient about teaching someone who wants to learn to tat. I waited a long time to talk with him the first time, because he was instructing someone.

During the fair only, I'm offering to purchase and mail Jan's hand-made shuttles for $15 for one, or $25 for a pair. Those who may be interested, please let me know!


At 9:19 PM , Blogger Cherry said...

Oh I would love to get my hands on his pattern books- too bad I am a broke student (until the end of september anyway, when my loan comes in). His work is amazing and how admirable that he makes all those shuttles just so others can learn!!

At 3:57 AM , Blogger Robin said...

~K, is tatting like lacemaking? It looks similar. We saw some beautiful work of a rare type of lace in Brugges. It was also very expensive. I look forward to hearing more about Polish crafts!

At 12:43 PM , Blogger Calamity Jane said...

Wow, his tatting is beautiful! the shuttles are nice too. It almost makes me want to pick it up again. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures of the craft fair. Neat!

At 1:08 AM , Blogger Monica Braxton said...

Hi, I am trying to purchase Jan Stawasz's shuttles. I have been looking for a long time to find some. I was directed to you to see if you may have any to sell.
My email address is Please let me know if you can help me.
Thank you so much
Monica Braxton

At 4:47 PM , Blogger Michelle Martinez said...

I am also interested in purchasing a Jan stawasz shuttle. I was lucky enough to try and chat with him one day. He redirected me to his daughter phone number so she could relay a message to him for me. I designed a hat that by seeing his, I was very inspired to make!! Please let me know at Thank you!!!


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