The essential need to clothe ourselves—to join pieces of animal skin or fabric together—required the ingenuity to combine thread and stitches that were both functional and decorative. Evolving over centuries, these stitches became known as embroidery, or “haft” in Polish. Their use strengthened the construction of a garment by reinforcing seams and areas of highest wear, as well as becoming ornamental, often characterizing class, station, and place.

The need to clothe ourselves still exists, but machines and factories have largely replaced the individual labours of the home tailor and embroiderer. It is the artist in us that looks at traditions and pushes the boundaries to create something new. In this virtual exhibit, a companion to our on-site exhibit, we shine a spotlight on traditional embroidery and how it can be repurposed (𝙍𝙀-𝙏𝙃𝙍𝙀𝘼𝘿), as well as on artists locally and across the world who are reimagining embroidery and pushing this art form into new realms (𝙀𝙈𝘽𝙍𝙊𝙄𝘿𝙀𝙍𝙔, 𝙍𝙀𝙄𝙈𝘼𝙂𝙄𝙉𝙀𝘿).


We use the term embroidery to describe several different types of ornamentation including woven, cross-stitch, flat stitch, open work (often called “Richelieu”), lace (crocheted, woven and bobbin), and appliqué.  These stitches were initially functional:  to strengthen the construction of a garment by reinforcing seams and areas of highest wear, such as collars, cuffs and shirt fronts.  Eventually they became ornamental and characterized differences in class and station, region, and urban and rural environments.

Initially, the basic elements of daily clothing for peasants were a cotton or linen shirt and trousers held up by a string belt. A woman’s clothing was similarly a cotton or linen dress or blouse and skirt. However, a special, festive and formal dress was the rule for weddings and other special occasions including attendance at church and government offices. This formal dress or costume was a way of investing and protecting capital, was made to last a lifetime, and was often handed down from generation to generation. Thus, the costume drew attention to the personal qualities and distinct identity of the wearer, as well as demonstrating, especially to the neighbours, wealth, economic independence, social status, as well as geographic area or parish.

The fabrics from which clothing was made – wool, flax and hemp – as well as the type of cut, thickness and colour, were basic factors that shaped the great diversity of costume and embroidery type throughout Poland. In areas where the economy was heavily based on natural resources, costumes tended to be of simpler design and simpler embroidery such as a woven stitch, cross-stitch, and chain stitch. Motifs tended to be geometric and often of single coloured thread. In regions where industrialization and economic prosperity were obvious, costumes were more ornate, made of ‘elegant’ fabrics – fine wools, silk, satin and velvet, as well as laces. The embroidery as well was generally more free-style and employed floral elements and multi-colours to a greater degree.

As raw materials and construction techniques improved, the embellishment and embroidery of the costume became more important. The height of costume development and decoration was during the 19th and early 20th centuries, ending about the time of World War II. By this time, the proliferation of machined fabrics as well as a dramatic shift in lifestyle meant that the ornate handmade folk costumes became less commonly worn.

The use of embroidery techniques was practiced in every home, most often by women. Young girls would learn from their mothers and grandmothers how to set stitches in the traditional themes and styles of their area. The embellishment of table and bed linens, clothing, tapestries and wall hangings was both necessary and fanciful. Every woman, both rich and poor, had a dowry that included linens and clothing pieces. Often whole extra sheets of cloth or linen were included for possible future use. Even women of affluent and aristocratic families used embroidery as a suitable and productive pastime. Thus, the embroidery of tapestries became an art form in itself.

Today, this art form continues to evolve. Some artisans and hobbyists enjoy working with traditional themes and methods, entrenching tradition and reflecting regional and cultural diversity. Others incorporate traditional elements into modern designs and applications. Mirroring the art of embroidery itself, a staple of handicraft and folk artistry, contemporary artists are weaving new threads into existing ones, re-imagining, re-hashing, and keeping the tradition alive—while showing that folk art is anything but static.


In recent years, embroidery has enjoyed a revival, and embroidery artists around the world have been pushing this art form into new realms by applying modern themes, imagery, media, and methods to a traditional art form. Here, we shine a spotlight on three artists from around the world who are adding to the embroidery body of art in unconventional, powerful, and beautiful ways.


Takashi Iwasaki 202
Takashi Iwasaki expresses— and seeks to inspire— joy through his embroidery work. Credit: Natalia Weichsel, 2020.

Born in Hokkaido, Japan, Takashi Iwasaki studied Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba and has been living and working in Winnipeg, Canada, since 2002. Takashi’s art practice diverges into many mediums, from embroidery, paintings, collages, and sculptures, to public artworks; inspired by things and events which surround his daily life as sources of his creation.

Takashi’s embroidery works are either a visual recording of his daily life or visualization of his imaginary worlds or landscapes that no one would ever see unless otherwise depicted. Most shapes and colours have meanings and origins that are very significant to him in the way he feels them; therefore they represent and reflect his state of mind.

“I want viewers, including me, to feel joy and positive feelings when they look at my work. Often the media reports negative things and tragedies partly because happy stories aren’t as sensational; and it is true that there are those things out there in the world. It’s easy to be trapped in negative thoughts and worry about things especially when we’re exposed to those issues so often. Thinking about problems is a good way to solve them and to make the world a better place; but I think thinking positively and realizing that there is also joy in the world helps that, too, and is very essential. I want my work to present a more joyous side of the world for this reason.”
—Takashi Iwasaki

Titles in Takashi’s works are often made up of fragmented words from several languages, including Japanese, English, Chinese, French, and others. While they remind him of what he was depicting, the odd combinations of word fragments usually don’t give the audience enough clues to decipher them. He likes to encourage the audience to delve into the world of their own imagination. But he’s happy to answer to their questions about the titles and other details when he is asked.

A selection of Takashi’s embroidery works are currently on display at Ogniwo Polish Museum.


Artist Rufina Bazlova is pushing embroidery into the digital and political realms. Credit: Rufina Bazlova. Used with permission.

Rufina Bazlova is a Belarusian artist living and working in the Czech Republic. She studied illustration, bookmaking and sculpture in Pilsen, but she has a passion for various media and techniques, including costume design, photography, public art installations, mural restoration, theatre scenography, and embroidery.

In the summer of 2020, Rufina began her series titled THE HISTORY OF BELARUSIAN “VYZHYVANKA” in response to the widely-contested results of the presidential election and the crackdowns on political protest against the regime. The play on words takes place between the letters “S” and “Z”. The traditional technique of Belarusian embroidery is called Vyshyvanka, from the word Vyshyvat = to embroider. However, when you change “S” for “Z,” you have Vyzhyvanka, which originates from the verb Vyzhyvat = to survive.

“Belarusian ornaments are in a way a code for our national history, that could be read as a text…The national awakening simply demanded this technique of national embroidery. The events of the past months represent a portion of our great history. Belarus changed, woke up… big changes are coming that must be written into the code of embroidery!” — Rufina Bazlova

Rufina’s work weaves together aspects of old and new. “Historically, women who made traditional Belarusian ornaments couldn’t read or write, and embroidery was the only way to depict surrounding life. For that reason, they created special geometrical signs and predominantly used red colour as a symbol of blood and life on a pure linen background, which symbolized freedom and purity.”

This series is created via digital collage, a contemporary method of creating traditional imagery while reflecting the urgency behind the political situation in Belarus. “Embroidering is not a very fast process, it needs time and calm. These days are full of different events and there is no possibility to meditate with a needle. I hope that a time of freedom and calm will come soon, and I will once again make original embroideries…Folk embroidery was traditionally used as a talisman against evil spirits. I would like to believe that it has not lost this power in our days!”


Justyna Wołodkiewicz creates one-of-a-kind multimedia works by combining traditional embroidery stitching techniques polymer clay. Credit: Justyna Wołodkiewicz. Used with permission.

Justyna Wołodkiewicz is a self-taught contemporary Polish artist and textile designer living and working in Poland. She creates one-of-a-kind multimedia works by combining traditional embroidery stitching techniques with tiny handmade polymer clay sculpture. By incorporating modern design and non-traditional media into her embroidery work, Justyna is exploring this traditional Polish handicraft in novel and exciting ways.

My art is often an expression of genuine joy. How can you explain that simply staring at colorful threads already brings ideas of how to use them? Creating enhances my vitality and gives a sense of fulfillment. At the same time, it seems to be pure play with the universe. That’s how I love creating…All those eyes and masks and beaded dresses, abstract landscapes, colorful stitched shapes are manifestations of my soul. I make them to express myself – to communicate to the world the very good energy. What will the world do with that energy? It is up to them. —Justyna Wołodkiewicz


This virtual exhibit is created as part of Culture Days Manitoba 2020. It complements the exhibit in our physical space at 1417 Main Street, Winnipeg, which runs now through Spring 2021. We invite you to come view embroidery from across regions and cultures. Serdecznie zapraszamy!

This virtual exhibit was created by Ogniwo Polish Museum, with contributions from the following:

Curator: Christine Tabbernor
Contributors: Magdalena Blackmore, Marta Dabros
Photography: Mirek Weichsel, Natalia Weichsel
Videography: Natalia Weichsel
Models: Bénédicte J. V. LeMaître, Natalia Weichsel, Julianna Zwierciadlowska-Rhymer
Special thanks to contributing artists: Takashi Iwasaki, Rufina Bazlova, Justyna Wołodkiewicz.

Rights to all works presented here reside with their creators and are used with permission. 


  1. Hello

    YOU NEED QUALITY VISITORS FOR YOUR: polishmuseum.com ?

    – 100% safe for your site
    – real visitors with unique IPs. No bots, proxies, or datacenters
    – visitors from Search Engine (by keyword)
    – visitors from Social Media Sites (referrals)
    – visitors from any country you want (USA/UK/CA/EU…)
    – very low bounce rate
    – very long visit duration
    – multiple pages visited
    – tractable in google analytics
    – custom URL tracking provided
    – boost ranking in SERP, SEO, profit from CPM

    CLAIM YOUR 24 HOURS FREE TEST HERE=> ventfara@mail.com

    Thanks, Ilene Segal

  2. This site was… How would you say it? Relevant!! Eventually I have discovered some thing which served me. Lots of thanks!

  3. Very pleasant website. I have to claim you are extremely sharp in composing on all topics. You’ve got really pointed out every one of the necessary elements of your picked subject. I enjoy the usually means you make it and it’s an enthralling working experience reviewing the many sentences. Thanks for sharing your ideas and make sure to make on different subjects to make certain that we go on enjoying your blogs. Being a Website writer, I Similarly produce web site websites on stylish subjects. My latest weblog web-site should do with by far the most up to date design of Health care Skilled Accessible. Make sure to assessment it as well as discuss it to inform me regarding your Evaluation knowledge.

  4. It’s definitely a good and helpful piece of info. I am contented that you just shared this practical information with us. Please stay us current like this. Many thanks for sharing.

  5. Location on using this produce-up, I very seriously consider this Site desires an awesome deal more notice. I뭠l almost certainly be back yet again to read through via a lot more, thanks for the data!

  6. Many thanks for your personal marvelous submitting! I undoubtedly enjoyed reading through it, you could be a terrific creator.I will you should definitely bookmark your site and may come back Any further. I choose to stimulate you to continue your great posts, Use a nice weekend!

  7. I really like your blog site.. Superb colors & concept. Did you acquire this Web-site by yourself? Be sure to reply back as I’m seeking to make my quite individual web page and would want to master where you received this from or what the theme is termed. Thanks!

  8. I actually adore your web site.. Quite wonderful colours & theme. Did you Develop This web site oneself? Make sure you reply back again as I’m hoping to generate my pretty individual weblog and want to know where you got this from or just what exactly the theme is named. Thanks!

  9. Howdy! This is sort of off matter but I need some advice from a longtime site. Could it be quite challenging to put in place your own personal site? I’m not pretty techincal but I am able to determine items out very quickly. I’m considering producing my very own but I’m undecided in which to get started on. Do you’ve any points or recommendations? Numerous thanks probduo.se/map2.php svart klГ¤nning fest

  10. A motivating dialogue is undoubtedly worthy of comment. I think that you ought to produce far more on this matter, it is probably not a taboo issue but normally men and women don’t talk about these subjects. To the following! A lot of many thanks!!

  11. I’d need to examine along with you right here. Which is not something I Ordinarily do! I enjoy looking at a publish which will make people Consider. On top of that, thanks for enabling me to remark!

  12. Extremely delightful blog. I must claim you are really sharp in creating on all matters. You may have actually identified all the important features of the picked subject. I enjoy the suggests you generate it and it’s an enthralling working experience examining each of the sentences. Thanks for sharing your concepts in addition to make certain to generate on various topics making sure that we go on taking pleasure in your weblogs. Being a Web page author, I Similarly compose web site internet sites on trendy topics. My existing blog site web site must do with probably the most up-to-date model of Clinical Specialist Offered. Guarantee to overview it together with look at it to tell me concerning your Examination expertise. go now

  13. You’re so great! I don’t suppose I’ve read through one point like that in advance of. So great to uncover somebody with a couple real feelings on this subject matter. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This Site is one thing that is needed online, somebody with just a little originality! oreiep.se/map10.php grГёnt hГҐr pool


  14. Hi Dear, are you truly visiting this site on a regular basis, if so after that you will without doubt take pleasant


    We offer professionally produced videos at affordable prices.
    Our videos have the look and feel of a high quality television commercial, complete with professional spokesperson, background, text,
    images, logos, music and of course, most importantly, your company’s contact information for your polishmuseum.com.

    If you’re ready to reach more clients today, let us get to work on producing your company’s exclusive video.
    MORE INFO=> http://qejn39630.bloggerbags.com/8235136/get-videos-at-affordable-prices

  16. Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  17. Hey there! I know this is sort of off-topic however I
    had to ask. Does operating a well-established blog
    like yours take a large amount of work? I’m completely new to running
    a blog however I do write in my journal on a daily basis.
    I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to
    share my personal experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have
    any suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners.
    Appreciate it!

  18. Где Вы ищите свежие новости?
    Лично я читаю и доверяю газете https://www.ukr.net/.
    Это единственный источник свежих и независимых новостей.
    Рекомендую и Вам

  19. YOU NEED REAL VISITORS FOR: polishmuseum.com ?

    We Provide 100% Real Visitors To Your Website.
    With this traffic, you can boost ranking in SERP, SEO, profit from CPM…

    CLAIM YOUR 24 HOURS FREE TEST HERE=> https://zeep.ly/ka3Ur?07299

  20. The desired locale has been saved to your browser. To change the locale in this browser again, select another locale on this screen.

  21. Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, such as you wrote the book in it or something.
    I believe that you simply could do with some percent to pressure the message house a little bit, but other than that, that is fantastic blog.
    An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  22. You are looking for Free Backlinks then you came to the right place.

    We offering you a free trial to try out our link-building service.
    This can be used to link out to your website, inner page, google map, video, to any link you want to help power up and get more relevance too.

    We want to prove to you that our backlinks work and so we’re willing to prove it to you risk-free.
    Please create an account and then watch the video and submit your order details and let us help you get found online.
    FREE TEST HERE: https://zeep.ly/6SDFB

  23. You are looking for Free Backlinks then you came to the right place.

    We offering you a free trial to try out our link-building service.
    This can be used to link out to your website, inner page, google map, video, to any link you want to help power up and get more relevance too.

    We want to prove to you that our backlinks work and so we’re willing to prove it to you risk-free.
    Please create an account and then watch the video and submit your order details and let us help you get found online.
    FREE TEST HERE: https://zeep.ly/k4YSH?=2235

  24. Hi tһere, I discoveгed your blog via Google while searching for a comparable
    subject, y᧐ur site came up, it appears to be like great.
    I have bookmarked it in my gоogle bookmarks.
    Hello there, ϳust changeⅾ into alert to your blog thru Ԍoogle, and found that
    it is truly informative. I am going to watch out for ƅrussels.
    I’ll be grateful if үou continue this in future.
    A lot օf other folks will ⅼikelʏ be benefited out of your
    writing. Cheers!

  25. I reaⅼly like youг blog.. very nice сoⅼors & theme.

    Diɗ you create this website yourself or did you
    hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m
    looking to create my own blog and would like to find out ᴡhere u got thіs from.

  26. I ⅾ᧐n’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your blog.
    It seems like some of the text within your posts are running off the screen.
    Can someone elѕe please cօmment ɑnd let me know if this is
    happening to them too? This may be a problem witһ my wеb broᴡser becаuse I’ve
    had this happen Ьefore. Kudos

  27. Thanks fߋr any other fantastіc poѕt. The place else may
    just anybody get that type of info in such a perfect way of writing?
    I have a presentation next week, and І ɑm at the look for ѕuch info.

  28. Wօw, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging
    for? you maⅾe blogging look eaѕy. The оverall looқ of your site іs fantastic, as ԝell as the content!

  29. Ꮃe stumbled over here by a different web addrеss and tһought I
    might as well check things out. I like what Ι see ѕo now i am following you.
    Looҝ forward to looking аt your weƄ page aɡain.

  30. Great іnfoгmation. Lucky me I ran across yоur website by accіdеnt (ѕtumbleupon).
    I’ve bookmarked it for later!

  31. I used to be suցgested this website by means of my cousin. I’m not certain whetheг ᧐r
    not this put up is writtеn by means of him as no one else recognise such designated approximately my
    difficulty. You are incredible! Thank you!

  32. You actuaⅼly make it seem really easy together with your pгeѕentation howеver I to find this topic to be aⅽtually something which I believe
    I might by no means understand. It sort of feels too
    complicated and extremely extensive for me.

    I’m having a look ahead on your subsequent submit, I’ll аttempt to get the hang of

  33. Aѕ the admin օf this web page is working, no doubt very shortlү it
    will be renowned, dᥙe to its quality cߋntents.

  34. І’m curious to find out what blog system you are utilizing?
    I’m experiencing some small security issues wіth my latest bⅼog and
    I’d like to find ѕomething moгe safe. Do you have any suggestions?

  35. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you have been working ѡith?
    I’m experіencing some small security issues with my latest
    site and I’d like to find something more riѕk-free.
    Do you hаve any solutions?

  36. Excеllent ѕite you have here but I was curious if you қnew of any message boards
    that cover the samе topics discussed in this article? I’d really like to be a pаrt of community ᴡhere I ϲan get respоnses from other knowledgeable people
    that share thе same interest. If yoᥙ have any
    suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

  37. Eҳcellent blog here! Also your web site quite a bit up very fast!

    Ꮃhat host are you tһe ᥙse of? Can I get yоur associate hyperlink
    in youг host? I want my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  38. I’m reɑlly enjoying the theme/design of yߋur website.
    Do you ever run into any web bгowser compatibility
    iѕsues? A numbеr of my blog audience have complained about my blog not opеrating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera.
    Do yoս have any tips tߋ help fix this issue?

  39. Wonderful beat ! I woulɗ like to apprentice whilst you аmend yoᥙr web site, how can i subscribe for а blog site?
    The account helped me a approрriate deal. I have been a little bit familiar of thiѕ your brоadcast provided brilliant transparent concept

  40. I ⅼike the valuaƅle info you provide in your articⅼes.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite certain I’lⅼ learn a lot of new stuff right
    һere! Good luck for the next!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.