Egg decorator, straw weaver and folk painter Sidonka Wadina is a Slovak master folk artist deeply influenced by her Slovakian roots. Raised in the Slovakian community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she first learned to decorate eggs and weave straw designs from her grandmother for the annual Holiday Folk Fair, for which she has demonstrated and participated for 58 years.
Deeply committed to teaching and preserving the legacy passed down to her, her dedication has taken her to Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary and Poland where she conducted master classes in straw weaving to insure that the transmission of this tradition crosses both generations and borders.
Wadina, a National Endowment for the Arts 2015 Heritage Fellow, has participated in the Wisconsin Arts Board’s Folk Arts Apprentice Program since the 1990’s, has demonstrated at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival and the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial where her work graced the covers of their brochures. Her straw ornaments have decorated the White House Christmas trees of Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and three of Wisconsin’s past governors.
She has taught classes and exhibited at the National Czech & Slovak Museum in Cedar rapids, the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Washington D.C. and is currently a folk art instructor at the Kenosha, Wisconsin Public Museum.
Ms. Wadina is General Chairwoman of the Slovak ethnic group and President of the National Association of Wheat Weavers. Sidonka graduatedfrom Gateway Technical College with a degree in Graphic Design Technologies in 2007 and has written and illustrated a Slovak Recipes book.