Typical forms of handicraft in our area were pottery, weaving, wickerwork, embroidery, tissue paper and wooden carving. Those making certain items usually sold them at markets. However, certain handicrafts were practised by almost everyone (e.g. embroidery or tissue paper).

Potters created on traditional potter’s wheels, moved by foot. These lands are rich in clay, so it was the most popular raw material for making the pots necessary for homes. Pots, jugs, cups, bowls and other vessels were made from clay. Characteristic are the “dwoaki”, double pots with handles, in which the girls carried food to the men working in the fields (usually potatoes or buckwheat in one pot and curdled milk in the other). In addition to the clay pots, bird-shaped whistles were also made. They were filled with water and simple melodies were played on them. Every potter had a kiln in which he fired his wares.

Weaving was initially carried out in every home, but later some families specialised in this craft and sold the materials they produced. Linen was woven, used for sewing most clothes. The most distinctive, because the most decorative, are the woven pojas – colourful, usually predominantly red, wide belts for men. Their length depended on the wealth of the wearer and the longest of them were 4 metres long.

Families involved in wickerwork cultivated and then harvested and processed the wicker branches accordingly. Like pottery, wickerwork was a man’s profession, so the weaving process itself was handled by men. They mainly wove baskets of various sizes – both with handles for carrying and with lids for storing dry products. Later, wicker was also used to make carts, chairs and tables. However, these were much more expensive than wooden products, so they were most often used as garden equipment in manor houses.

Only women were involved in embroidery, in practically every household. It was used to decorate festive clothes – men’s and women’s shirts, slips and waistcoats. They were also embroidered on so-called household linen – tablecloths, serviettes and towels (which were used to decorate sacred images). The amount and richness of embroidery was an indication of a family’s wealth – on the one hand, they could buy a large amount of coloured thread, on the other hand, they had the time to create extensive embroideries. Cross-stitch embroidery1 was the most typical in our lands, but the influence from western lands is also visible and flat embroidery sometimes appears.

Blotting-paper making consisted of making flowers from blotting-paper and usually involved festive decorations – for example the Easter palm or traditional spiders. Ornaments made from tissue paper were created by women in every home. Throughout the year, especially during winter when there was more free time, bouquets of tissue paper flowers were created to decorate the house.

Wood carving was done by carpenters. Sometimes they decorated everyday utilitarian objects (such as chairs or sideboards) and again, due to their price, these were for the manor houses. It was also very popular for sculptors to create holy figures – mainly for domestic or country chapels, but also tiny figures intended for domestic altars. Figurines of the Sorrowful Christ were particularly popular in our area.

1 E. Piskorz – Branekova, Tradycyjne stroje i hafty hrubieszowsko – tomaszowskie, Zamość, 2011, s.49-51