Textile art is often relegated to something the women did, basically to keep them busy in all that spare time. As someone who enjoys and appreciates it both as a pleasurable pastime and an artform, I’ve often received very lefthanded observations from (probably?) well meaning folk who feel they have the right to comment.
“oh, how lovely, but I just don’t have the time”… translation – “I am far to busy with important things to waste time like you” Or my particular favourite, “I just couldn’t be bothered…” (which saved me the trouble of completing a gift for that person).
So it is wonderful to see the needlework of Romania being valued for the art that it is. I am not so naive to think that they are all hand embroidered, but the designs endure. The clothing was teamed with jeans, and worn with casual elegance whilst the ladies shopped, drank coffee, rode the bus and basically went about their lives. Breathing life into the craft.
I don’t know much about the patterns, but I imagine there are stories within them. There is quite an informative blog post from a textile artist living in Romania here. She runs workshops on various techniques which sound fascinating…
A lovely collection of hand stitched textiles was on display in the Fortified Church in Viscri, where the attendant who greeted us was sitting doing her crochet. The little village was in the middle of rolling meadows full of wild flowers and possibly the worst road we had traversed to that point.
We were told that there was a degree of indignation that famous designers had utilised the designs for their runway collections, which is I guess a compliment and maybe on the other hand a copyright issue. Australian indigenous artists feel the same way about their designs and the stories interwoven into them.
I am not sure how many artisans are producing the work now or whether any youngsters are still learning how to reproduce their grandparents craft. Perhaps it is enough that they are valued.
Here’s a collection of some examples of historic and modern work
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