Straw compositions were used to decorate rooms on various occasions, such as Christmas and weddings. Ornate hanging ornaments made of straw were the special feature of the decorative setting for bridal tables. To mark the Epiphany, stars made of pieces of straw of different length were used to decorate rooms.
The basic element of every straw composition is a segment made of 12 pieces of straw strung together with a thread.
In 1971, Elena told the News newspaper that “Christmas decorations should strive for beauty, individuality, and the true meaning of the festive season”. But when I was a girl we were taught to make Christmas tree decorations from straw when we were at school and there used to be great rivalry between families to see who could present the most original decorations each year”.
The straw, a symbol of Christs only comfort at his birth in the stable. The straw must be stripped cut it into workable lengths so it can be threaded into the chains, bells and lanterns which decorate the home and Christmas trees.
Elena was born February 17th, 1908 in Daukuose, Marijampolė. She, her husband and young son migrated to Australia, and resided in Adelaide after the second world war.
Elena worked at Calvary hospital and quickly learnt English. She later worked in a hotel and became head housekeeper and assisted Lithuanian women to gain employment.
Elena organised with P. Rutenis Adelaide’s first theatre group and was an actor and director. She sand soprano in the choir and often sang solo parts. She was later elected to the ALB Committee. Elena also wrote articles for Lithuanian and English newspapers about the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. Elena was a member and at one time, President of the Baltic Women’s group in Adelaide.
She was a great ambassador that was always promoting Lithuania.
In the last years, she and her husband moved to Port Macquarie, NSW where her son has a doctor’s practice.
She died on September 11th, 1997.