FROM MOTHER TO DAUGHTER TO THE LIST OF INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE
We’ve got superpowers: we can measure without tape, cut without scissors and write without ink. We can carry the sun and moon on the shoulders, grow roots and fly and more important, we can teach others to do the same. We inherited these powers from our grandmothers and we’re determined to pass them further on.
Yes, I am a practitioner and I convinced 40.000 to join my vision, so now it’s “we”. Brought up with all the legends of the Carpathian Mountains, educated in IT, I graduated as architect and specialized in retail design, I’m using my skills in visual communication and marketing to sell one simple idea: make your own Romanian Blouse, wear the legend.
I’ve learned it’s two things that made humans thrive: empathy and the obsession to store knowledge, relevant experience and offer it to future generations. We have now artificial memory and artificial eyes who can read our QR and bar codes; yet our fears and hopes never changed. We always wanted to fly, to be immortals and to be loved.
Only few generations ago, wise women that we might now consider illiterate used needle and thread to encode crucial information in the textiles they were wearing. They used a visual ‘alphabet’ of symbols inspired from their environments, in order to express the order of nature and the laws that govern life on this planet: birth, growth, decay, regeneration, energy, balance, all their sewn signs are in fact keys to a happy and meaningful life.
I realized that if I can ‘translate’ the symbols, the myths and the ancient textile practices, with all their “do”-s and “don’t”-s, I can convince women to change their mindset, lifestyle and also their shopping habits. All these ancient rituals and legends, passed down from mother to daughter are nothing else but golden rules which, if respected, will lead you to a perfect piece of collective design. No sizes, no material loses, no compromises to comfort, no harm to environment or to others. No label either, but a story to tell.
It all makes sense: every traditional creation was understood as an echo, a repetition of the initial act of creation. When creating a house, a ceramic pot, a carpet, a shirt, my ancestors felt and behaved as if they had to put a whole universe in order. If you take a consumer and educate him/her to think and act as a creator, step by step, gesture by gesture, through repetition, this person will become one. Educated and empowered, people will blossom.
Making your own Romanian blouse is a form of meditation also because the intricate embroidery slows you down, forcing you to live the moment. Even the contact with the fibers that were selected by our ancestors directly from nature (hemp, linen, wool) is healthy too and integrates you back in the natural cycles, where in fact we belong. The deep respect for nature and its wonders comes along the way.
With a strong textile history and industry in the past, Romania has plenty resources and the most valuable might be all those solutions born from scarcity and from difficulties; need is the best teacher and difficult times make creativity flourish.
The creation myths are sometimes more efficient in education, as people still chose magic over statistics. The sacrifice, the labyrinth, the journey, the monsters, the heroes – will take different shapes for each generation. The myths are here to remind us we can all be heroes and we can all have superpowers, as long as we care.