Ursula Astras has designed art in straw more prolifically than any other artist in the US or Lithuania. She had taught and demonstrated her art on numerous occasions at various institutions including Annhurst College, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the Grand Rapids Art Gallery and Michigan State University. She has also had one-person exhibits, including the Čiurlionis Gallery and Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, both in Chicago and the Vilkaviskio Krasto Muziejus in Lithuania. Private and institutional collectors have acquired her straw pictures, Christmas tree ornaments and decorated eggs. She has truly transformed Lithuanian folk art into fine art.
Straw applique pictures for sale
In her straw paintings, Ursula used bits and pieces of natural wheat and rye straw, which she cut, dampened, pressed and glued into colorful velvet backgrounds in order to create delicate designs based on traditional Lithuanian motifs. From the 1960s through the 1990s, she perfected her style and applique technique into a fine art of beautiful and exquisite compositions.
Straw Christmas tree ornaments
Lithuanian Christmas tree ornaments have been made from natural wheat or rye straw for centuries. Ursula learned to construct the traditional designs of braids and mobiles with strings running through them from her mother. However, in the early 1950s, Ursula created new art forms of intricate snowflake or geometric design by pressing the straw on to a masking tape backing and gluing these veneers together. In 1955, she received her first award from the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
Lithuanian Easter eggs
Ursula specialized in the intricate scratch egg decorating technique, which she had practiced since she was a little girl. Her Lithuanian Easter Egg decorating workshops had been held at the Balzekas Museum every year since 1967 through 2005.
Contact us today for more information about how you or your organization can learn how to create your own Lithuanian straw or egg art. Read more at Folk Art Workshops. Connect with your global culture.