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Create your own Floral Tree of Life, inspired by the extensive collections of Wycinanki at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Wycinanki, pronounced "Vee-chee-non-kee", is the traditional Polish folk craft of paper cutting to form bright and intricate patterns. Trees of Life are universal in their appeal and their intention to celebrate life, joy, and the natural world. The design of a tree of life is as varied as the artisans who make them and the villages in which they live.
Like many of the folk arts, the art form evolved out of a functional practice: in the 19th century, women living on farms hung sheep skins over their window openings to keep out the elements. To let in light and air, they used sheep shears to snip small openings in the skins. The openings evolved into more refined designs that were transferred to paper, allowing for more embellishment. Over time, a new Polish craft tradition was created and is now widely celebrated.