Patroness of Land and Water

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Nikki Manzie

Patroness of Land and Water

Fibre Arts
35 cm x 43 cm x 5 cm

This Motanka was created in the ceremony, following traditional methods. Calling on the wisdom and traditions of my Ukrainian ancestors, and in particular, my grandparents and great grandparents who moved to Canada from Galicia in 1910, I specifically chose the fabric patterns and colours to reflect both my grandfather and grandmother’s birth regions.  This particular Montanka is called a Patroness. Traditional winter clothing incorporates fur and sheepskin, which are also found on The Patroness, salvaged from vintage furs.  She wears a black Namitka (headscarf) as my pra-Baba’s (great grandmothers) also wore.The Patroness also incorporates the magical traditions of my ancestors.  On her belt you will see a bone, found on one of my walks, representing the ancestors. It is written using traditional symbols of protection. The other side of her belt holds a prayer bundle, containing herbs that would have been used by my grandmothers in smoke cleansing (obkuryuvannya).  It is bound to look like a vinici (broom) to sweep away negative energy. On her outer vest, a vial contains wild water gathered from three sources in the Cowichan Valley, potentizing it. As Patroness, then, she is called upon to help protect the waters and watersheds. The three bundles attached to the other side of her vest are made of dried thistles, wrapped in the hair that grows on trees (moss) and coated in beeswax (bees symbols of sun, fertility and protection). As Patroness, she is also called upon to help protect the trees and inhabitants of the land.  She wears a Ladanka — neck worn satchel — that contains local soil, along with salt, and Pysanky shell fragments (traditionally written eggs). As Patroness, she is called upon to help protect the fertility of the soil and abundance of life.

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Posted on

April 22, 2022