19 Years Old Vladimir Andrei Does Preparation and Spinning of Hemp Fibers
As we approach a third industrial revolution, the era of the robots doing people’s tasks and 3D printers creating everything, it is important to understand that we must preserve our age-old knowledge.
I’m not against evolution, if only this could happen in humans. Unfortunately, as Sir David Attenborough says, “humans have stopped evolving”. And now we have the machines on the verge of a takeover. Like the famous quote says, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction”, now we have Stephen Hawking warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence. So we should not let go of hundred years of knowledge for the sake of our iphones, computers and who-knows-what else is going to come.
It’s a good thing to have people who still have that knowledge, especially the young people who can pass it down to the next generations. It’s what makes us humans and is our responsibility to support these people in doing what they do.
Take an artisan like 19 years old Vladimir Andrei. If you haven’t heard his story, you will be surprised to know that this young man does everything manually: knitting, weaving, preparation and spinning of hemp fibers and wool. Guys like him are as rare as hen’s teeth in these times, but there’s one thing they all have in common: they are willing to teach others, to share their secrets. It’s in their blood. The trade is learned and passed forward.
Vladimir wouldn’t let us go. After showing us his weaving skills, we move to the front yard for a short demonstration of the preparation and spinning of hemp fibers.
In a twist of fate, hemp fabric, now appreciated for it’s scarceness and natural properties, was grown, processed and worn by the poor peasants. It’s history is “filled with romance and folklore”.
The whole process, from plant to fiber, involves many steps, as described here. He starts from combing hemp to remove impurities and obtain the first rate material for spinning. He uses a heckle (ragilă), a wooden comb with long and sharp metal teeth.
What remains from this operation in the comb are short fibers (trăsură), which are separately heckled and spun into a thick yarn. These are used in the rope, baskets, rug making.
The fibers are arranged in layers, doused with water, and wrapped around the distaff so that the fibers to be parallel to the distaff. Vladimir explains that wet spinning ensures that the yarn is perfectly smooth.
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