Traditional Artisan from Romania Loom Weaving Patterned Bands
A traditional artisan is a link between the past, the present and the future.
A traditional artisan crafts his products by means of primitive tools, most of which could be found in museums. There are tons of fancy weaving gadgets and looms on the market today, but watching an old style traditional loom being put to work fascinates.
In the village of Bilca, I had a wonderful experience visiting the traditional artisan Aurelia Cârdei, who showed us the ins and outs of her traditional loom weaving methods. We saw how she assembled the floor loom and understood it’s secrets.
Then, we watched her loom warping from back to front.
She has developed these skills since childhood, while sitting besides her grandmother and watching her weaving rugs, traditional blankets and blouses. When she was in the seventh grade, she grew particularly interested in hand weaving warp faced patterned bands.
In Romania, the woven cords are traditionally used to tie the wrap around skirts at the waist. Back then, there was a school cleaning lady who was creating beautiful patterned bands, and inspired Aurelia.
She showed us some of her finished projects, pointing at each pattern, locally called by various names: „the gingerbread”, a “flower with wings”, the “buds on the twig”, “sheep toes”, the „S” pattern.
Some patterns are maybe a hundred years old”, she explains.
The symbols were inherited and reproduced from one generation to the next. The traditional artisans followed them, linking the past to the present.
Symbols such as “Sheep’s Toe”, or “The S Pattern”, meaning the shepherd’s hook, point to an ancient occupation. Shepherding. The sheep breeding in Northern Romania was a traditional, century-old activity. Hence, many vintage textiles, including these patterned cords, were made of natural hand dyed and handspun wool. Before they even began work at their loom, they had to shear the sheep and process the fleece themselves. After the introduction of the industrially available threads, such methods stopped being employed.
The shepherds hook, initially made of a hard cornel-wood, with a S shape head, was used for catching sheep by their legs.
Read also Lace Weaving Towels in Romania
Aurelia Cârdei Weaving A Warp Faced Patterned Band on a Floor Loom
Furthermore, Aurelia showed us how she weaves a warp faced patterned band in double face weaving technique, explaining that all the dark blue warp threads are border and pattern threads and the light blue are background threads.
She’s weaving with one weft color. She’s raising and lowering threads to get the custom shed. The weft is then passed through this custom shed and is pushed with a hand beater, made of maple wood, locally known as „weaving knife”.
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