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Romanian Blouse in the Making – Textile Artisan Weaving on Floor Loom

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Artisan Manoilă Aurica Demonstrates The Craft Of The Romanian Blouse

There are two types of objects in the world: those which break the time barrier, and those which don’t. The things that you throw away without remorse and the things that you choose to keep forever. But some of these things are emotionally charged in ways that command wide recognition. The famous designers, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, who were inspired by the Romanian blouse, and the paintings of Henri Matisse are pointing toward the Romanian peasant.

Romanian Blouse Making by Traditional Textile Artisan

What Makes An Original Romanian Peasant Blouse

The story of the traditional blouse is unfinished until we know more about it’s maker. It can not stand independent of it’s maker, because the old time peasant blouses were created for personal use. When I touch an old blouse, I wonder what did the peasant woman feel, what was she dreaming about when sewing or weaving it? Was she wealthy? Was she poor? Maybe she was getting married.

Romanian Blouse How to Spot the Original Textile Weaving Demonstration

 

Before we get into the technical details of their craft, I’d like to pinpoint that, unlike the old ones, the blouses that are made today, with few exceptions, are different from an emotional standpoint. Their purpose seems to have changed. They are marketed rather than being created by a young girl dreaming to be the most beautiful and diligent at the prom. They lack the emotional charge. Yet, their craft involves the same age-old methods, which are kept among fewer and fewer peasants.

Romanian Textile Weaving Demonstration

To better understand the craft and knowledge of a peasant blouse, we searched the Romanian villages for authentic traditional artisans and found 84 years old Aurica Manoilă, from the region of Bucovina. She is pretty famous in the village of Arbore, where only a few peasants still keep the ancient art of traditional loom weaving. We find her weaving a man’s blouse.

Textile Weaving Demonstration

Curiosity pushes me forward to try and understand the peasant. I can see that she is living a traditional life from choice. Her sons, daughters and grandsons are all well prepared people, living in the cities. Weaving is her happiness. She also taught one of her sisters to weave.

I’m listening while watching her weaving. She speaks some words of wisdom, something you don’t hear everyday. She’s a weaver and a philosopher! Saying that people should work like ants, that they must enjoy life and know when enough is enough. She’s a spiritually gifted woman and her wisdom seems to come from her faith in God. I look at her loom and observe the cross on the beater.
Textile Weaving Demonstration Textile Weaving Demonstration

The Romanian blouse with straight line cuttings, keeps it’s sobriety with simple straight ornaments, at the bottom of sleeves, on shoulders, chest and around the neckline. This style derives from the poncho tunnic.
The cotton fabric is woven on a  two-harness loom. In the past, homemade materials, such as hemp yarns, linen, organic cotton, raw silk were employed. Today she’s weaving the sleeve. For the pattern to emerge, she’s weaving with heddle rods and weaving swords. To pick up the pattern, the weaving sword is put into the sheds of the heddle rods.

Winding Shuttle Bobbins By Use Of an Old Winder

After we dove into the creative world of traditional weaving while watching Aurica weaving a Romanian blouse, her primitive skein winder caught my attention.

Winding Shuttle Bobbins Winding Shuttle Bobbins
By 1990, rural people were producing their stuff by hand, including craft supplies and tools. With the development of the textile industry, many peasants have abandoned their old ways and tools. Today, most of these weaving tools can be seen in museums, but still they look interesting when in use.

I like every old tool, especially weaving tools, and I’m impressed to see them put to work again. Before weaving, it helps wrap her weft thread on shuttle bobbins.

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