Sam Wróbel has gone from a child in Chicago cutting paper to an adult in southwest Louisiana reducing paper — skillfully.
Wróbel, whose previous identify is Polish for sparrow, analyzed artwork in faculty and worked for several years as a sign artist, making typically illustration-kind artwork for Trader Joe’s.
Decades of total-time vacation introduced them to Acadiana and its mother nature, new music and place Mardi Gras traditions. That was all it took.
“I came here and fell in like with the culture,” they reported.
Wróbel moved to Lafayette in 2017 and started Sparrow Papercraft a 12 months later. The business focused at first on portray and illustrating but around time returned to their creative and Polish roots — papercutting.
Wycinanki is the Polish folk art of papercutting, which Wróbel uncovered as a kid from a excellent family members mate named Doris Sikorsky. She was a specialist papercutter and passed that tradition on to very little Sam via two learn/apprentice grants in ethnic art from the Illinois Arts Council.
“It took me right until I was older to know what had been passed on to me,” Wróbel said. “All people usually says come across your specialized niche. I had my niche all along.”
Now 36 and centered in Elton, Wróbel works by using only scissors and paper to hand-cut conventional people patterns blended with the nature and tradition of Cajun place to deliver original wycinanki artwork.
“When I initially started performing it I just by no means considered men and women in Louisiana would care about my Polish folks artwork, but they do,” they mentioned.
What is wycinanki?
The traditional Polish folk art of papercutting was done mostly by peasants, farmers or women residing in rural parts. They’d usually use large sheep shears for the reason that that is what they experienced, Wróbel explained, but more than time they also arrived to use scissors.
Some of the common patterns include things like roosters, bouquets, farm or wedding scenes.
“They ended up depicting scenes from their everyday lives,” they said. “That is anything Doris taught me. Don’t just duplicate the outdated photos.”
So she had Wróbel depict scenes from their individual lifetime. Wróbel remembers placing scissors to paper to build a sleepover scene.
They’re nonetheless incorporating widespread scenes from daily lifetime, although the optics have improved a bit. Now there are crawfish boats and Mardi Gras courirs in their parts.
“The culture here is so vivid and inspirational,” Wróbel said. “I am also a Southwest Louisiana Learn Naturalist, so I am really inspired by character — birds, animals, plants.”
‘So Cajun and so Polish at the very same time’
Though the types transform, the spirit of the artwork stays the exact same. It is really fanciful, they said, referring to the angles, colors and intricacies inside the types. But it is still a simple artwork reflecting daily daily life and frequent goods.
“I experience like I am continue to undertaking it in the spirit of it,” Wróbel reported. “It really is significant to carry it on but also significant to set your personal spin on it.
“Individuals think of tradition as static, not shifting, but that is not how it really is ever been.”
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The art developed well before Sikorsky introduced Wróbel to it in the ’90s, becoming more intricate as tools and components improved. But the heart of it has stayed the exact, they explained.
“I do some common type and try to preserve the traditional feel to it,” they said. “Like with any art, you create your personal design and style immediately after a when.”
That’s mirrored on the Sparrow Papercraft internet site, exactly where colorful roosters and intricate flowers share space with alligators, pelicans and Mardi Gras costumes.
“I want individuals to nevertheless acknowledge it,” they claimed. “My 1st Mardi Gras piece, it seems to be so Cajun and so Polish at the same time.”
The creating of an art enterprise
They do fee get the job done as properly as their own parts, which can be found in the online shop. There are original works produced of paper as well as prints of all those designs converted into stickers, greeting playing cards and T-shirts. Sparrow Papercraft items also can be found at some marketplaces.
Stickers are inclined to be their best sellers, and it makes Wróbel joyful to see the Mardi Gras sticker on cars all over town.
Mardi Gras retains a exclusive location in their heart, which interprets into new items for the holiday break every single 12 months. Wróbel does an once-a-year minimal edition Mardi Gras print and has designed the patch for a Mardi Gras run they attend each yr in close proximity to Eunice.
The amount of time papercutting takes relies upon on the venture. Dimension and layering make a difference. With so quite a few tiny particulars and slender paper, Wróbel uses a significant-top quality, additional-strength glue adhere.
“It can be like gluing a piece of lace down,” they claimed.
They work with paper of all shades alternatively than dying it by themselves. It gives the perform an additional challenge they love.
“That is a person issue that’s so fantastic about this function,” they said. “I can be owning a poor working day and then I just go to my desk and it truly is covered in vibrant paper. It’s hard to be in a negative mood about so considerably shade.”
When Wróbel was first taught wycinanki, it was a dying folks art. It has had a bit of a resurgence, but much of the function getting done right now is electronic somewhat than paper, the artist mentioned.
That reminds Wróbel how treasured and fleeting this get the job done can be.
Wróbel calls Sikorsky, now in her 80s and even now in Chicago, to test in every week.
“She gave me this gift I want to honor that,” they claimed. “I guess she saw a thing in me.”
This short article initially appeared on Lafayette Day by day Advertiser: Papercutter blends Polish folk artwork with Cajun society: Acadiana Makers