Traditional Textile Weaving Demonstration in Romanian Village of Straja, Bucovina
Villages are still the heart of the Romanian folk costumes and traditional textiles, where traditional crafts like loom weaving were once considered a full time occupation. Things have rapidly changed over the years though. After the fall of Communism, part of the rural population have migrated into the urban areas and outside the country. Others have stopped weaving for different reasons and hardly any young people are learning anymore. There are only a few women who master the traditional textile weaving artform. Unlike the regions of Oltenia and Transylvania, Bukovina doesn’t seem to have many rug or carpet weavers left, but we had the chance to observe the making of Romanian woolen blankets “Cergi”.
They are types of traditional textiles once used as blankets, but now used as rugs. Not many people can tolerate the feeling of wool against their skin. They rather place them in well traveled spots to cozy up their homes. Either way, these traditional textiles are appreciated for their coziness and resistance. Every old villager has a few pieces woven during childhood, teenage, or inherited from her mother or grandmother.
“As a child, my mother taught me how to weave,” says 74 years old Elena Breş from the village of Straja. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t know how to do it today”, she continues. “During the whole summer season, I was spinning with the distaff tied at my waist. I stopped weaving after having my children, until 10 years ago, when they got married. My husband passed away last year, leaving me all alone. This occupation helps me beat loneliness.”
She takes orders from many women. They bring the yarn, organic, processed wool, handspoon and dyed by each woman at home. A neighbour helps with warping the loom. The combination of cotton threads for warp and wool for weft creates a thick, heavy fabric. The fabric is woven on a four-harness loom.
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