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Vera and Mara’s
Main Page

Artist's Art Form

Vera and Mara’s
Art Form

Traditions in Artist's Work

Traditions In
Their Art

Vera and Mara Mednis

Latvian Weaving
Warrens, WI


Aesthetic: Relating to beauty.
Card weave: Weaving done with a set of small cards.
Congregate: To gather as a group.
Crane: Tall, wading bird with long legs, long neck, and a straight bill.
Decorative: Adds beauty.
Dynamic: Having energy, vigor, change.
Ethnic heritage: Beliefs, traditions, and practices that come from a person’s ethnic background.
Evacuate: To leave a dangerous place.
Exile: Forced removal from a person’s native country.
Exuberant: Lively, enthusiastic.
Folklife: Traditions, passed on in informal ways. Another word for folklore.
Folklife festival: A festivals that celebrates traditional music, crafts, food, storytelling, and dance.
Fuchsia: A vivid purple-red.
Generation: People in a family who are around the same age. For example, you, your siblings, and your cousins are of one generation. Your parents, aunts and uncles are of another generation.
Handwork: Skill or art done without power-driven machines.
Harness: A part of a loom that raises and lowers warp threads.
Horizontal: In the same direction (parallel) to the horizon.
Immigrate: To move to a new country and become a permanent resident.
Inkle loom: A small loom used to make narrow, weavings like belts and trim.
Loom: A tool used to make cloth. It interlaces threads at right angles.
Loom weave: Weaving done on a loom.
Mid-summer: The period around the summer solstice, around June 21st.
Narrow: Not very wide, slender.
Natural dyes: Color dyes that are made from natural sources, like plants, berries and vegetables.
Occupy: To take control or possession of a place for a period of time.
Piece: To to arrange and sew quilt top pieces together.
Quilt: To sew layers of fabric together, usually the quilt top, batting, and backing.
Reflect: To show, mirror.
Refugee camp: A place for people to live, usually in another country, while they’re escaping from a bad political situation. 
Regional costumes: Traditional clothing worn by people of a particular region.
Sense of color: Ability to judge which colors look good together.
Soviet Union: Former union of fifteen nations in Eastern Europe and Asia. The union ended in 1991.
Symbol: Something that stands for or suggests something else.
Textile: Any woven material.
Trim: Decorative pieces added to clothing.
Utmost: Greatest, furthest.
Vertically: In an up and down direction.
Warp: Threads that are vertical or lengthwise in a loom and crossed by the weft.
Weaving knife: A long, flat piece of wood used to press weft threads close together.
Weft: Threads that are horizontally pulled over and under the warp.

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Journal Questions

QuestionWhat hand woven items can you find in your home? Are they everyday objects or used only for special occasions?

QuestionHave you ever worked on a project with an older person in your family? What was the project?

QuestionThink about a traditional skill you learned from someone else. How have you changed parts of that tradition? 

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Resources For Teachers

Web ResourceCulture, folklore, maps, pagan designs—lots of good and interesting information on diverse dimensions of the Country of Latvia.

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Resources For Students

Web ResourceRead a history of Latvians in the United States presented by the American Latvian Association.

Web ResourceHungry? Then find out about lots of delicious Latvian foods at Latvian Cuisine

Web ResourceYou can weave even without a harness loom like Vera and Mara use. Check out these different weaving projects that are taught to students in Montessori schools. Try them yourself! 

Web ResourceHere’s a web page that will tell you lots more information on card weaving.

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Text written by Jamie Yuenger, edited by Anne Pryor.

Sources consulted include fieldwork with Vera Mednis by Janet Gilmore (10/28/86) for the John Michael Kohler Art Center, a tape recorded interview with Vera Mednis by Cindy Kerschmar (8/7/97), a tape recorded interview with Vera by Carrie Kline (8/20/98), with the taps housed at the Wisconsin Arts Board; a phone interview with Vera Mednis by Jamie Yuenger (3/17/03), A Joy Forever Latvian Weaving Traditional and Modified Uses by Jane A Evans, St. Paul, MN: Dos Tejedoras Fiber Arts Publications, 1991; and these websites: U.S. Department of State - History of Latvia and Treasures of Latvian Nature.


Wisconsin Folks

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and Mara Mednis



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