Leona Barthle - Polish wycinanki

Master: Leona Barthle, Sioux Falls
Apprentice: Theresa Hanna, Brandon
Art Form: Polish wycinanki

Leona Wojcik Barthle grew up in Granville, South Dakota, the state’s only Polish settlement. One of the distinctive Polish traditions she learned was the art of decorative paper cutting called wycinanki, in which multi-layered designs of flowers, birds and animals are cut from brightly colored paper. Leona has taught wycinanki to many people over the years, both members of her family and hundreds of school children through artist residencies. She worked with Theresa Hanna in her Sioux Falls home to pass on this art once again through an apprenticeship. Theresa had a Polish grandmother and has admired Leona’s work for years, so was excited to have a chance to learn wycinanki from her.

One of Leona Barthle’s many wycinanki incorporating a traditional image of birds.

Wycinanki (papercutting) by Leona Barthle of brightly colored birds









Leona Barthle and Theresa Hanna

Two women (Leona Barthle at left and Theresa Hanna) seated together

Theresa Hanna designed this wycinanki with two swans as one of her first projects.

Wycinanki (papercutting) by Leona Barthle of swans with bright flowers behind.