Kashubians have been well-known for their embroidery work for many generations. The unique Kashubian embroidery design is typically a floral pattern, most often comprised of sea stars, roses, tulips, pansies, cornflower, blue-bells, carnations, lilies, and forget-me-nots.
Seven different colors are used in Kashubian embroidery, each representing nature in the Kashubian region:
- Dark Blue represents the Baltic Sea
- Medium blue represents the color of the Kashubian lakes
- Light blue depicts the sky over Kashubia
- Yellow represents the sun and wheat in the fields
- Green represents the rich forests
- Red symbolizes the heart and love, as well as the blood that Kashubians were willing to shed for their land
- Black symbolizes the earth
The tradition of Kashubian embroidery was started by the Norbertine sisters in Żukowo around 1209. Initially, the sisters embroidered motifs in one color, decorated with silver or gold threads and they primarily embroidered bonnets and vestments. The nuns also taught peasants’ daughters the art. The convent closed in 1834 but the women they taught continued to pass the tradition to their daughters and eventually, the Zukowo school of embroidery was formed.
There were schools and centers of embroidery in Żuków, Wdzydze, Puck, Wejherów, Tuchola, Słupsk and Bytów. Each of them had a different color scheme, and particular schools can be recognized on the basis of the designs used.