It is difficult to reckon how mysterious and at the same time familiar and inherent the world of the forest was to our ancestors. In addition to the research data, this is also evidenced by the traditions of handicrafts, i.e. the production of old household items, musical instruments, toys, etc. The crafts amaze us with the variety of materials, the harmony of forms, and symbolism. We often ask – where did our ancestors inherit
all these traditions from? By whose hand was the fir tree carved into a birch bark saltcellar, or is it an image of a sown and harrowed soil? By whose hand was the graceful pattern pressed into a fragment of pottery found by a young archaeologist? Who came up with such a magnificent form of wooden roof pillars that greet and escort the passer-by at night like spirits? Questions like these arise anew again and again, sparking a child-like curiosity, although one may have already heard or read the answers somewhere before.

Each piece or find that has come down to us conveys its own practices of the old masters, and the primitive materials, easily found in the surrounding environment, mostly in the woods, the magnificent shapes and the spirit of past centuries. The crafts that reach us embody something from the depths of the ages – a Baltic gene, or code of sorts – that the people have preserved by passing it on from one generation to the next, by dressing it up in the ever- changing clothes of the times. It’s not just the objects that speak of this, but also the crafts themselves. And more eloquently, the oral and singing tradition, also known as folklore.

In this year’s Mėnuo Juodaragis Craft Yard we will have the opportunity to glance at plenty of traditional crafts related to forest and the tree, to learn to understand them with our own hands, create, and adapt them to current time.

In the workshop ‘Forest to your home’ together with Jurga Kutkienė, we will not only weave pots from forest materials, but we will also be able to craft spectacular chandeliers to decorate our homesteads.

We will observe how the fabric for the national costume is created in the hands of Birutė Andrijauskienė, the winner of the Golden Wreath of Lithuania and the best Lithuanian weaver, as well as how the patterns of the forest are woven into the old fabrics.

Martynas Švedas, a member of the Experimental Archaeology Club Pajauta, will present the ancient ways of leatherworking and tanning, and Austėja Luchtanaitė will uncover the ancient peculiarities of the use of forest goods for cooking. The spirit of the Juodaragis – the greybeard storyteller of the Švenčionys region Algirdas Breidokas will be telling ancient tales at the Oak Tree in the crafts yard, and on Sunday an even longer Men’s Song Table will await all those who are indifferent to singing.

The list of the yard’s craftsmen will soon benbupdated with even more names.

We invite you to participate!

Bottoms up and face down to the moss!