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Semester Completed

Spring 2017


Deau, pulaski, art, polska, dolls, painting, ceramics, boots, shoes, printmaking, photography


Art and Design | Art Practice

Artist Statement

Polska-ski encompasses the enthusiasm and energy of the Polish traditions and a town at the heart of it all, Pulaski, WI. Polka music creates joy, excitement, and familiarity in a place where the only true event that happens every year is Polka Days. Pulaski is proud of its Polish heritage.

This body of work was created through the traditions of Pulaski and the atmosphere Polka Days brings. It is intended to bring attention to Pulaski in hopes to bring life to its downtown not once a year, but every day. I have heard stories of what Pulaski used to be; clothing shops, candy stores, the movies, an active weekend life. Now it is a few vacant buildings and outdated bars. Pulaski is so much more than what one-time visitors see. It is a community, a parish, a culture, history, and above all, home.

Each of the pieces in this exhibit are all made by hand and have an element of storytelling. The dolls, in particular, feature the traditional polish clothing and process. They emphasize the touch of the hand from ceramics to sewing to woodwork. All elements of the dolls show how multiple mediums can come together to portray one idea. Doll-making for me has been a long term process that started from yarn, to socks, to fabric, to porcelain dolls. These particular dolls also show the vibrant whimsical Polish garments.

The map shows all my favorite parts of Pulaski. The A.B.V.M. church was built around one hundred years ago and was made to be able to seat the whole town. The architecture of the church was modeled after the traditional Roman Catholic church, one might see in Italy. The Catholic faith is a big part of Polish culture and the size of this church in such a small town shows its amplitude of importance. Dairy queen and the cemetery are adjacent to one another. It is a tradition in our family to go to dairy queen and then drive through the cemetery. Without this tradition, Dairy Queen would not have made the map.

The energy of Pulaski during Polka Days is always something I look forward to. The Polish Spirit shows that energy really well. There are polka dancers from youngsters to elders which is a great example of the phrase, “it is fun for all ages.” It is hard not to dance when Polka music is playing. The instruments are corky and lively. It is hard to beat (pun intended).

Red dancing boots are worn with traditional Polish clothes. I decided to try and make my own pair using all affordable materials. The soles are made from jute string and flex seal. The rest of the boot is made with felt, cotton fabric, sequins, and lace. It has Polish folk art patterns around the shoe using sequins for some flare.

This installation is meant to bring focus to Pulaski, its rich culture, and ultimately its dwindling life downtown. All these illustrate its vibrancy, joy, and roots. Polka Days could not happen without Pulaski.

This exhibit is in dedication to Regina Nowak and Joanne Doolittle


Maria Deau

Maria Deau Senior Art Portfolio