Aldona Saimininkas A Lithuanian artist

Aldona-Saiminkas-Lithuanian-straw-pictureAldona creates Lithuanian pictures and traditional ornaments using straw. In a time-honored process learned as a girl in Lithuania, she hand-picks rye straw from farm fields and prepares it to form ribbons which she then cuts into pieces. These are assembled onto a dark background in abstract or floral folk art patterns that reflect Lithuanian weaving or embroidery, or to create a scene important in Lithuanian culture. Aldona also makes hanging ornaments from pressed straw or straw tubes fashioned into stars, snowflakes, and birdcages for Christmas trees; Easter eggs and wands; or mobiles called sodas (garden). Although a humble plant material, the golden color of the straw shines, signifying light. For over three decades Aldona has given workshops to Scout groups, Lithuanian gatherings and cultural schools, and adult classes throughout the U.S. and in Canada. She plays a central role in Connecticut’s Lithuanian community as an artist, tradition bearer, and cultural ambassador to Hartford activities such as the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Festival of Trees and Traditions.

Aldona’s work has been commissioned by St. Andrews Church in New Britain and she continues to make pictures and ornaments for private collectors. She was asked to create an official gift to represent the Lithuanian American community as a commemoration of the American celebration of the 600th anniversary of Lithuanian Christianity. One of her straw pictures was given to Pope John Paul II and is in the Vatican’s art collection.