January 29, 2018

IA-Aidoma Exhibition in Zaragoza, Spain

Boys and girls,

it happened, the exhibition I love is now in Zaragoza, the first stop on its European tour. I went there last week to help setting the exhibition, I was there at the opening and most likely I will be there when it will be closed and MOVED TO LUXEMBOURG!

That's the big news, I've been dying to tell you. Somehow I've managed to align the planets, to talk to the right people and make the most wonderful friends help me, and the exhibition will definitely come in the near future to Luxembourg. It's a dream come true and I will personally send invites to all those people that made me feel shit for being Romanian to come and see it.
The blouse with birds on the shoulder (altiță) from Bucovina

I will not give you any dates yet, be rest assured it will be soon.

If you still don't know what I'm talking about (and you probably don't) IA-Aidoma exhibition contains 40 authentic Romanian Blouses, which are replicas (aidoma means in old Romanian exactly that, replica) of blouses spread in all the major textile and ethnographic museums around the world. They are there due to donations or acquisitions and I do plan to see the ones in Lyon and Geneva this year. Making in the present 40 replicas of those blouses meant that in this way they were again brought home and displayed for people to see and feel proud.

Because a lot of Romanians live outside Romania, it makes sense to exhibit the blouses in Europe in places where Romanians build a second home. Zaragoza was only the first stop, but there will be many more and who knows maybe IA-Aidoma will go outside Europe as well.

Making 40 blouses sounds easy, but let me tell you that it isn't. In most cases the women who made the blouses had as inspiration only black and white pictures or just pictures of fragments of the blouse and from that they recreated an entire blouse. They had to put themselves in the time the blouse was made and think what resources had the people of that time at their disposal? Were they cultivating hemp or linen? Did they had access to industrial coloured threads or did they coloured them themselves? What is the region where the blouse was initially made? All those factors determined the way the blouse was created. Then came the task of finding the exact materials. One of the girls told me that she waited for the cloth to be made for almost a year. Do you realise, a year just for the cloth! Another told me how she experimented with different natural colours and how she chose the exact ones for her blouse.

So you see it's not just embroidering a blouse, in most cases the documenting phase of the process was more difficult, in others finding the right materials and in others deciphering the right technique. And the result are not just those 40 blouses and the IA-Aidoma exhibition. The result is that Romanian women re-learned old techniques of making the blouses, such as the hand made elastic that is present on the sleeve of the blouses, called in Romanian "încrețul funcțional". Now there are women who hand weave the cloth including the coloured margins of it specific to Muscel region for example. Now there are sources of metallic thread used to embellish the blouses or metallic sequins and glass beads identical to the ones used in old times. And little by little these women not only made an exhibition, but resurrected this forgotten Romanian craftsmanship.

I have to say that if you want to make your own authentic Romanian blouse you have all the help that you could possibly need. On you can find the story of the Romanian Blouse and you can document your blouse from there and even you can browse the patterns for specific regions and choose your own pattern to follow, on you have all the best materials to make the blouse, you can purchase hand made cloth, natural silk, metallic thread and other threads as close to the old ones as possible. And then on the Facebook group Semne Cusute, you can share your progress and get advice from women who made blouses before and know all there is to know about the pattern you have chosen.

A Romanian Blouse is a piece of art, a luxury item if you want, so an exhibition with these blouses, with 40 blouses no less, is something not to be missed. There aren't enough words to say why I want more Romanians to see the exhibition and why do I say it makes me proud. A picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case the pictures don't do them justice. Nevertheless, here are some pictures from IA-Aidoma in Zaragoza.
Two blouses with lovely "încreț"
IA-Aidoma exhibited in Zaragoza, Spain
I love this angle, the room was simply amazing in Zaragoza
Those are two blouses, one for the bride and the other for the godmother, from Basarabia, they are right now at the Museum of Ethnography, Sankt Petersburg 
Two blouses with birds, they are also blouses for the bride
Despite taking more them 700 photos, I only have two with the exhibition. Next time I will bring my own photographer :)
The exhibition in Zaragoza
The room just before the vernissage 
The opening of the exhibition
I've told you I loved this angle :)
If you liked this article or find it inspiring please do share it on social media and if you want to drop a line, you can find me at:

No comments: