Belarusan Motifs


Counted stitch patterns

designed and worked by

Iryna Varabei

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, Ірына Варабей

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.

  • Spirit Of Belarus Page
  • Blog. (in Belarusan)
  • Pinterest SoB
  • Etsy shope
  • Craftsy shope

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

© Iryna Varabei. Ірына Варабей

© All rights reserved. Усе правы абаронены. 2011

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now