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Fairchange artist draws on his Polish heritage

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Artist Joseph Borytsky of Fairchance is shown with all three types of his Polish artwork.
Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Taking an interest in his heritage and the visual pieces that go along with it, Joseph Borytsky of Fairchance has learned the skills to create wonderful examples of Polish art.

For many years, Borytsky, May's Fayette County Artist of the Month, has been creating elaborate crèches, Polish drop and pull eggs, and Polish paper cuts.

Examples of all three types of Borytsky's work will be on display in the Fayette County Courthouse Law Library throughout May and will be open for public viewing during regular courthouse hours.

“For the past 15 or so years, I have concentrated on my ethnic background and found a new interest in traditional and colorful Polish art,” Borytsky said. “Many immigrants brought many of the Polish customs and artistic talents with them to America.”

Working several hours daily on his art, Borytsky spends time seasonally on different styles of the Polish art.

“In the early spring, I work on the eggs and in the summer the paper cutouts,” Borytsky said. “Then, in September, I will work on the crèches.”

Borytsky has created three elaborate crèches to date, spending several months on each one as attention to the minute detail is essential.

“I got interested in the crèches in 2005,” said Borytsky, explaining that the former priest in his parish had a smaller one that he displayed. “When he passed away I inquired about it and was told no one seemed to know what happened to it, so I decided to make my own.”

Borytsky said that he became interested in Polish paper cuts at about the same time.

“I started to really get interested in my ethnic background,” Borytsky said, adding that he had been working on paintings for years prior to that but started to lean toward the art of his heritage. “I started then to focus more on Polish art.”

Working for many years with the artform of the Polish drop and pull egg, the artist has been devoting decades to that one particular medium.

“I've been doing the eggs for 20, maybe 25 years,” Borytsky said. “My wife is an egg collector and when my son was in the Air Force, he used to send her eggs from different countries, so I decided to take a class and learn how to do it.”

Borytsky now takes his art to numerous shows in the area, displaying and explaining the wonders of the lost arts of Poland.

“I would love to try to bring some of the old heritage back,” Borytsky said. “Many of our young people are not even familiar with the Polish art, and I would like to see that change one day.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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