19 Years Old Romanian Textile Artisan Vladimir Andrei Does Preparation and Spinning Hemp Fiber
On the verge of the 4th 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. 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 hand spinning hemp fibers and wool.
People who still practice traditional fiber arts are very rare, 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.
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, spinning and hand combing wool, we move to the front yard for a short demonstration of preparation and spinning of hemp fibers.
Hemp fabric was grown and processed by poor peasants. In a twist of fate, this natural fabric is now appreciated for it’s scarceness and natural properties.
Hemp processing, from plant to fiber, involves many steps.
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.