Lithuanian Straw Christmas Ornament Workshop

Workshop Description

Instructor Don Astras demonstrates straw applique technique to 2016 workshop participants. Photo by Rita Janz

Learn how to create beautiful Lithuanian straw Christmas ornaments at this year’s Straw Christmas Ornament Workshop at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture. Instead of the traditional threaded ornaments–wherein straws are threaded with string to make intricate 3-dimensional designs–instructors Donatas and Kathy Astras will teach how to score and flatten shafts of wheat straw to make wheat straw applique ornaments (see photo above). The Astrases are carrying on a tradition started by Donatas’s late mother, Ursula Astras, an award-winning folk artist who for many years taught classes at the Museum. Examples of her straw ornaments will be featured at the workshop. Celebrate and pass on this centuries-old folk art tradition to your family.

Workshop participants will be able to complete one straw ornament (4-inch diameter) and have step-by-step instructions to make more at home. The workshop registration includes:

  • A viewing of examples of Ursula Astras’ exquisite designs and artwork
  • Lithuanian Christmas traditions
  • A step-by-step process that you can repeat at home
  • Templates of designs
  • Guidance by Don and Kathy Astras
  • Tool kit and materials
  • Instruction in English
  • Refreshments will be served

**Note: Each participant is asked to bring a pair of scissors and a ruler.**

Additional patterns and designs by Ursula Astras as well as information about her life and work can be found on her website at and can serve as templates.

For more information about the workshop, please call 773-582-6500.

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