Counted stitch patterns
designed and worked by
Take a journey and learn about Belarusan spirituality while immersing yourself in Belarusan folk wisdom.
According to Belarusan beliefs, when you feel a need to commune with God there are three ways to ensure your prayers are heard. First, you can go to church and pray. You can also light a candle and pray. Lastly, you can embroider while meditating on your prayer, for doing embroidery is communicating with God.
Belarusans have preserved ancient Aryan symbolic scripts by transforming them into ornamental stitchery. For generations they have passed on the traditions, symbols and wisdom of their grandmothers. They still believe the adage, "While your hands are stitching, your heart communes with God. Stitched symbols are a way to communicate with the spiritual realm."
Iryna Varabei, Canadian stitching designer with Belarusan background.
Iryna came to Canada in 1999, when she was 40, bringing her old dream along. She had dreamed just to stitch (meant that back home, she had no opportunities to...).
In 2005, she joined the Toronto Guild of Stitchery.
Now, she is happy to offer to Canadian stitchers her own designs. All of them are based on Belarusan traditional ornamental motifs or on Belarusan images. Iryna tries to transform the traditional patterns into modern designs enriched with diversity of stitching techniques. "I work in different techniques, with different colours, but I still think Belarusan", she says.
In a country rich from the stitching traditions of many nations, needleworkers can now try their needles at stitching a piece inspired by the traditions of Belarusan needlework and to include it in the mosaic of Canadian stitching styles.
Iryna Varabei's work has been regularly published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine
and displayed at CreativFestival in Toronto
As well, she teaches workshops and/or hand-ons on Belarusan Nizanka techniques
at CreativFestival and other places
Iryna's two pieces are a chosen part of the juried Treadworks 2016 Travelling Show
In March 2019, Iryna was awarded with the 100th Jubilee Medal by the Rada of Belarusan Democratic Republic ('BNR') "in recognition of merits in the promotion of Belarus through art".
Iryna Varabei is a proud member of:
Toronto Guild of Stitchery
Needlework Designers of Canada
Embroiderer's Association of Canada
Belarusan Institute of Science and Arts (BINiM) in Canada
Union of Belarusan Writers