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Maria’s Woven Waist Belts

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At the age of 81 She’s Still Weaving on a Loom

One thing I love about rural people is their friendly nature. They are happy to receive visitors. No matter how busy they are, they will always find some time for you, even if they don’t know you. There is impossible to feel alone. You can visit whoever you want and speak to them as if you’ve been friends since childhood. That’s how we came over to Maria’s house.

Romanian Loom Weaver

With her back curved over the loom, she was weaving a traditional waist belt. Patience is said to decrease over time. At 81, Maria won’t refuse anyone who needs to have a waist belt crafted by skilled hands. She knows there’s no other woman who masters this art in her village. Other than creating an income, I believe Maria is rather pleased to do something useful for her community. As a child, she didn’t like it when her mother was giving her weaving lessons. Soon after she got married, she started to make a living from it. Later, she also taught two of her nieces.

Hand Weaving a Romanian Folk Waist Belt – Manually Picking in the Warp

Romanian Traditional Textiles

These narrow waist belts are tied around the waist over the man’s blouse. When she was young, Maria used to finish weaving a 3’11”-5’10” (120-180 cm) long waist belt in two days, but now it takes her a week. They are woven with two heddles. For warp and weft, she uses industrial woolen yarns (stramatura). Before, they were made of naturally dyed, handcrafted woolen yarns.

Karamani Weaving

The pattern is inspired from the traditional tapestries. Actually, the tapestries are made in a similar way. In Romanian, this weaving technique is called “alese cu mana”, or hand picked in the warp.

Traditional Loom Weaving

Since the pattern doesn’t repeat, she has to pick each row based upon a previously woven textile she uses as a template.

Woven Waist Belts

A hand wrought fabric takes longer to weave than a threaded one, but it provides more variety and requires only a two-harness loom.

weaving floral fabric

The weavings are busy, having all the spaces filled in by hand, without using a shuttle or any other carrying device:

loom weaving

 

woven waist belt

two heddle weaving

woven floral pattern

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