Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A little browsing around the fair...

I think for this post we'll forgo focusing on a single craft (I don't want to blog about this craft fair forever!), and take a peek at a few traditional Polish offerings. Nearly everyone is familar with pisanki, or intricately decorated eggs. These eggs are real--some of them might be duck or goose eggs, as well as hen's eggs. They are painted or dyed, and then the dye is scratched off in delicate designs.

I watched while a man painted one today, and it occurred to me to ask him how often he broke the eggs he was working on. I figured it had to happen once in a while! He said that he'd only broken one that day...

These pictures are painted onto the reverse side of the glass. The bright colors and folk style are very traditional. Even the subject matter tends to follow tradition, and most paintings depict either rural life in old Poland or church-related themes, such as Bible stories, saints, or Madonnas.
Bees and honey! Fortunately, they didn't have any bees to display. However, there were jars of honey for sale, and a plethora of beeswax candles. Some are ordinary candles, and some are molded into cute little figures. You probably don't want to burn the pretty ones, but the ordinary ones smell lovely when they are lit.
If you get hungry at the fair, you might want a snack. They're grilling oscypki here, and if the idea of grilled cheese appeals to you, each little cheese is selling for about 65 cents. It's not a terribly expensive snack, but I'll have to be honest. I cannot stand these. They are usually very salty, and the taste is very strong. It's "white" cheese, meaning uncured, and in addition...

Well, frankly, it's not from cows' milk or even goats' milk. It's from sheeps' milk. If you want to sample some, be my guest. My husband and several of my kids love it, but I don't like it. At all.
If you have a passion for wicker baskets, they are plentiful and cheap at the craft fair. I saw someone making baskets at another booth, but once again, I missed a picture. There are several basket-maskers at the fair, and they all have their own style, but there are some shapes that are very specific to the Polish culture--in particular, "market baskets" to carry your shopping in, and "mushroom baskets" for gathering your own wild mushrooms in the woods (a very popular pasttime about this time of the year).
I'm sure you all are beginning to get the idea that there is an awful lot to see at this fair. I love the fact that they are here for ten days, and if I went every day I don't think I would get bored. If I don't feel like walking around and looking in every booth, I can stand and chat with the sellers, who are also often the artisans or craftsman. They will share funny stories, tell you about their crafts or give you lessons and demonstrations. It's such a great event, I'm glad I'm here to enjoy it this year. I hope you're enjoying the visit as well!


At 3:42 PM , Blogger Robin said...

Love the baskets! But I have more than enough. Is the sheep's cheese like feta cheese?

At 3:08 PM , Blogger Krakovianka said...

I don't think the sheeps' cheese is like feta--it's grainier and firmer. And I sort of like feta, but I don't like this.


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