Romanian Fiber Artist Morar Maria Demonstrates Traditional Loom Weaving a Square Black and White Pattern Peasant Bag Specific to the Village of Straja, Bucovina
While visiting the village of Straja, Bucovina, we could observe traditional loom weaving peasant bags (traiste). These bags are accessories of both men and women’s traditional peasant costume.
These days, peasants wear their traditional bag to church, or village celebrations.
Before, when working the fields, or going to the peasant markets, it was used for storing and carrying food.
The bag is woven on a 4 shaft floor loom, with woolen warp and weft yarns. The shoulder strap (baiere) can be a woolen twisted cord, or a fabric woven on a loom.
The motifs range from narrow stripes and geometric square patterns to phytomorphic patterns, in two or more colors.
Romanian Artisan Morar Maria Traditional Loom Weaving a Square Pattern Peasant Bag
The black and white square patterned Romanian textiles are found in Straja, a small village located in the north. It’s one of the last villages in Romania where traditional crafts are a source of pride for the villagers and the houses are still covered with old wooden roof tiles (draniță). They are good hearted and hard working people.
Romanian fiber artist Morar Maria has been weaving peasant bags for 15 years. She learned traditional loom weaving from her sister-in-law.
Maria was back from field work when we entered her house. She was a little embarrassed because she didn’t have time to prepare herself.
Two floor looms were already set up: a small one for the shoulder strap and the other one for the bag.
Instead wound on the back beam, the warp is tied in knots. Each knot is untied as the work progresses. She uses acrylic (pan) fibers.
After showing us how she weaves the shoulder straps, the loom weaver invited me to have a seat at the other one, and try weaving the bag (the black & white square pattern fabric). I was a little shaky because I never weaved before, and it really felt like I was doing something important.