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Czesława Kaczyńska

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The Kurpie woman of success

She makes cut-outs, writes poems, sings, acts in the local government, manages an association, bakes, cooks and runs workshops. They call her here a “Kurpie icon”, “woman of success”, “one-woman institution” …. Charismatic, unusual, amazingly energetic and passionate about local culture … It is not without the reason that in 2013 Czesława Kaczyńska was listed among 10 successful women of Mazowieckie voivodeship. One can write a book about her achievements.

She descends from a famous family of artists – the Staśkiewicz family from Strzałki, so she has talent for handicraft in her blood. “Czesława Kaczyńska’s life is cut out in construction paper – as Marianna Staśkiewicz wrote about her. These words result directly from insightful observation of the work of this artist famous in the whole Kurpie region.

Even as a fourteen-year old girl, she delivered her cut-outs to the “Kurpianka” Folk and Artistic Handicraft Cooperative in Kadzidło. The list of her creative skills is long: she prepares traditional cut-outs and elaborate net curtains from white parchment paper. She makes fabulously colourful tissue paper flowers, straw and tissue paper Christmas tree chains, crochets (i.a., Kurpie apron insertions, pillows and napkins), does embroidery (shirts with Kurpie embroidery), makes ritual Kurpie bread byśki and nowe latka, writes songs, threads peas or beans on kierce. She copies traditional patterns, while introducing her own innovations to make culture live and not close it to the world going with accelerating speed. She can instantly compose a beautiful poem for a special occasion. She does also ordinary household activities, such as: baking bread once a week, making cold meat, preparing fafernuchy (small pastries with honey, carrot and spices) – there is probably no product and food she cannot make. Using her self-picked juniper berries (with honey and hop cones), she makes, as she says herself, the best psiwo kozicowe (light beer brewed in Masovia) in the Kurpie region, the mystery recipe of which she keeps in secret and which will be passed only to her daughters at the right time. Recently, she has been chosen a “face” of JBB Meat Processing Plant, because whoever else would be better to advertise this famous Kurpie company?

Czesława Kaczyńska is also an extraordinary figure for the local community. Until recently, she has run the Kurpie Room in her own house. In her family village of Dylewo she succeeded to have the street she lives at be named Sachalin (a Russian island in the Sea of Okhotsk) in memory of Poles returning from there. She acts both in her local, close area, as well as on the municipality, district, voivodeship and even nationwide level – she is a woman for whom everything is possible.

Despite passing years, she is still equally or even more active. She combines folk tradition, reflected by her work and local memory she tries to pass on, with modernity by means of numerous projects, activities and challenges that she succeeds to face. She runs lessons and workshops in local schools, participates in fairs across all country and events, promoting Polish folk art abroad. She has great achievements in the culture education area. Czesława is an initiator of a big regular event named “Disappearing Jobs” (“Ginące Zawody”) in a Kurpie Farmhouse (Zagroda Kurpiowska), which attracts more and more participants year by year, thus promoting Kurpie artists. She can spontaneously initiate e.g. pickling of cabbage in Dylewo, combined with play and dances. Czesława is a founder and president of the Association of Kurpie Artists. She has had individual and group exhibitions in Poland and abroad. She has been winning first prizes in embroidery, cut-out and lace contests for many years. She was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and awarded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage with Gloria Artis Medal for Merit to Polish Culture. She was also granted scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the “Pro Masovia” Award of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship Marshal. This text describes merely a fraction of what she achieved and did for people, folk, local and national culture.

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Adres miejsca

Dylewo, 07-422 Kadzidło
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608 071 842
(29) 761 60 67