Ms. Maria is sitting on the loom in an open barn in the front yard, enjoying the fresh spring air. It is a small wood barn protected alike from the sun, draughts and rain by a screen. The barn is so placed just at present that she can look out on to the front porch, catching a glimpse of her family members. She stretches out her hands to the bag with clews by her loom and takes up her work. At the age of 70, her hands and arms are strong and capable of action. “I am a retired weaver. I worked at Progresul Solca, a carpet weaving department until it closed down. I made Romanian and Persian carpets”, she remembers.
Located in Suceava County, in the historical region of Bucovina, Solca is a small town at the foot of the Obcina Mare Mountains. During communism, up until 1990, Progresul Solca, a weaving factory, was established in the town. Ababii Tiron Maria had worked there until the factory was closed down, following the collapse of communism.
She employed herself, therefore, in manufacturing Romanian traditional carpets and rugs, which she sold either at the annual bazaar, to tourists, or to the friends who retained an interest in her.
She is weaving a Romanian traditional rug. She soon becomes wrapped up in her work, though she does not progress very quickly. This weaving technique, „alese cu mâna”, involves constructing the pattern by placing the yarn manually and changing colors as work progresses. „It takes a month to complete a 3 ft long carpet”, says Maria, completely absorbed in her work.
Although the carpet weaving process is very meticulous, she never fails to complete a project. One of her biggest projects is a large carpet, measuring 23 ft long and 2.7 ft wide. “I made it four years ago. It took me a year to finish it”, she explains. The carpet is huge. Just thinking that it takes an hour to weave just one inch makes me truly appreciate the Romanian traditional carpets, not only for their color and beauty but also for the constant endeavor greatly expended in the making process. The patterns are inspired by old carpets and rugs, which are yet to be found.
Her choice of colors is happy, with a vintage effect, due to the use of repurposed yarn. “I am using repurposed PAN yarn. I buy second-hand sweaters and unravel the yarn.”, she says, explaining that the eye-popping vintage-feel colors that are so elusive today, won’t bleed int he laundry, even if they are washed in the washing machine.
Carpet weavers are very hard to find, especially someone who combines such qualities: patience, passion and a very rarely found sense of beauty. This weaver consistently possesses these traits, which makes her works so distinctive!
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