Due to its characteristics, Małopolska is a region of huge interest to tourists. Its natural topography is varied enough to constitute an interesting place to stay for visitors with different interests. Małopolska offers good conditions for high mountain climbing, hiking, skiing, cycling, water sports and many other forms of active recreation. The region is undergoing constant and intensive development in order to provide tourists with possibly the best and the most interesting offer. The regularly set up new places worth seeing prepare their offer to meet the tourists' expectations.
Art or craft?
One of the most interesting ways to attract visitors to the Carpathian region is promoting its local culture and art. For ages, the region has been inhabited by the various co-existing ethnic groups distinguished by their costumes, local dialect, architecture and customs. The peacefully co-existing ethnic groups involved i.a. Lemkos, Podgórzanie, Lachy Sądeckie, Gorals. The separate customs and traditions strengthened the bonds within the particular ethnic group, boosted the sense of one’s identity and the pride of belonging to the particular community.
In the past, people were self-sufficient. The village dwellers could make some of their functional objects by themselves, which was considered a reason for pride. Every self-respecting girl could sew, embroider, make tissue paper, and straw or paper ornaments characteristic for the particular village. Men worked in the field and performed minor maintenance works.
Naturally, not everyone was equally skilled - some people were more successful in performing these works. In every village, there were craftsmen who specialized in the particular field – a blacksmith, a woodcarver, a sculptor. The better and prettier the things they could make, the more famous and recognized they were and their clients came from very remote villages to buy objects they manufactured.
The things we now consider works of art were once ordinary functional objects for everyday use. They were ornamented with painted, sculpted or embroidered motifs to satisfy the longing for beauty and the need to be surrounded with beautiful things we all feel. People especially gifted in making exceptional objects were widely respected and admired, however, they were not considered to be artists. It was due to the work of folklore researchers that this perception changed – craftsmen turned into creators, artists.
See and try
“The Carpathian folk art trail" presents unique places, people and culture of the Małopolska borderland. The artists have been selected form the numerous group of folk creators following the criteria of being the most deserving individuals with respect to the local culture and utilizing the methods and tools which have been in use within the area for centuries. Each place on the trail map is exceptional, unique and worth visiting. The world of the Carpathian region folk art awaits the explorers, offering plenty of attractions.
Familiarizing yourself with the folk artists’ working methods is one of the most intriguing options. Visitors to some of the villages on the trail are provided with the opportunity to unveil the secrets of the artistic handicraft masters and check their abilities in the field. Contact with the living artists is an incredible art lesson which becomes embedded in one's memory for long. The Bobowa village encourages to unveil the secretes of the lacemakers’ profession, famous for their bobbin lace. Paszyna offers participating in woodcarving workshops and the opportunity to discover the “Ptaszyna phenomenon”.
The visit to the small museum of Ewelina Pęksowa in Zakopane constitutes a great opportunity to comprehend and learn the not-so-easy glass painting technique. Visiting the picturesque Podegrodzie, one can not only learn about the Lachy Sądeckie folklore but also gain information on how the marvellously colourful regional clothes are manufactured and try embroidering with the typical stitches utilized in Podegrodzie.
Museum is also adventure
Some of the artists presented on the trail are no longer alive. Their paintings, woodcarvings and the remaining artworks are available to see in museums. And it is by no means a boring activity! Curators of the museums collecting folk art monuments are frequently people of great passion, being the source of profound knowledge on the artists and their artistic output. Having known the artists in person, they had the opportunity to watch them work and hence they learn about the secrets of their working techniques, favourite tools and colours.
Many of the museums offer not only viewing of the collected exhibits but also taking part in interesting events. Their offer involves varnishing days, exhibitions dedicated to the works of folk artists, museum lessons, artistic workshops. All these elements provide the visitors with the most dreamy opportunity to deepen their knowledge, acquire new skills, and to have unforgettable memories as well as meeting interesting people.
Furthermore, during this kind of events it is possible to meet artists who haven't gained wide publicity so far. Making their exhibition halls available for them, the museums help the less known artists present their works and come to prominence in the world of art, gaining critics’ and visitors’ recognition.
The Carpathian Mountains are waiting
Come and experience the walking tour following the trail of the Carpathian folk artists and discover their fascinating artworks. They capture the beauty of the surrounding nature, the passion, the talent and the love for this region. Visit and experience the uniqueness and wealth of the folklore in the place, the variety of its forms, styles and artistic techniques. The Carpathian Mountains are awaiting their explorers!