Patrimonio Culturale Immateriale

FABRIC AND CLOTHING DECORATIONS

area : Podkarpackie
categoria : traditional craftmanship
The eternal desire of almost all women is to look beautiful. This aspiration was accompanied by a number of efforts, in which also traditional crafts were employed. Thanks to the weaving industry women had beautiful clothes. Other crafts, regardless of the women’s cultural background, religion, place of residence or financial status, needed to provide them with extra clothing accessories.
There is maybe some exaggeration in the last statement – not everything was available for everyone. The villagers, even the wealthy ones could not afford gold or silver ornaments, not to mention precious stones. Craftsmen, however, always tried to fulfill the women’s need for beautifying. They created all kinds of beads, necklaces, pendants and earrings. Regional jewelry had to match the folk costumes and therefore it was very colorful and had fanciful shapes.

Interestingly, one can clearly observe the regionalization of jewelry - from its design to the material. The material was crucial, as jewelry did not only make women look more attractive, but was also a visible proof of their wealth and their position in the community. Real coral, including amber, was regarded to be the most valuable, although amber, for obvious reasons, was not popular in the Carpathian Mountains.

It is, however, beaded jewelry that has become the most typical ornament of this region. It was sewn on clothing or worn in the form of remarkable necklaces (krewulek), which were made of very fine colorful glass beads. Each bead was hand-strung on a strong thread (or wire) with a needle or special tools. These necklaces were produced from Lemkivshchyna by the Hutsul Region to Maramures but every region favored slightly different colors and designs. The wider the decoration, the more sophisticated and intricate the design, the greater was the prestige of the woman who wore it. Men also wore beaded jewelry and necklaces - of course in their male form. While women had necklaces worn on their shoulders and fastened at the neck (sometimes reaching up to 20 cm), men used to put on ornaments similar to ties (called hardan or gerdan). Nowadays, beaded jewelry is very popular, not only because it has become a part of the fashion for tradition, ecology and multiculturalism, but also because it is very original. It is not available everywhere, but one can still find some authors of this craft in the region.

The needle and the thread form the basis of other crafts, too - embroidery and lacemaking, which are examples of other equally impressive elements of our intangible cultural heritage. They require enormous skills and incredible patience, which is why the ancient art of embroidery and lacemaking has always provoked the admiration of both its purchasers and the researchers of folk culture. Clothes of the residents of the region, from shirts to overcoats, were traditionally decorated with embroidery and lace. However, these ornaments have also been used for decorating interiors and adorning tablecloths, napkins and doilies.

Embroidery is a method of decorating fabrics, in which patterns can be made with the aid of various techniques. Cross-stitch has always been the most popular in the Carpathian region. In this method X-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern are used to form a picture, usually flowers, animals and geometric motifs. Chain stitch is a rarer technique, in which a series of looped stitches form a chain-like pattern. Embroidery was a typical occupation in all parts the Carpathian Mountains regardless of nationality or ethnicity, but there were significant differences concerning colors and themes. Traditional Boyko embroidery made use of only two colors: a black one and a red one whereas well-known embroidery from Haczów, deeply rooted in manor tradition, was always white. In contrast, the Lemko embroidery used to employ up to five colors. They were all associated with specific symbols: black indicated soil, yellow - the sun, red – fire, light blue – the sky and green - forests and fields.

Lace is not developed on fabric but is an openwork addition to it. It can also exist completely independently. Cotton, linen or silk threads are used to make lace. Originally, crochet lace was the most popular one, but over time more complicated techniques like Bobbin lace have become equally common. Actually, lace unlike embroidery has not always been a part of the region’s tradition – especially in comparison to places such as Bobowa or Koniaków. Despite this fact, a lace factory built in Brzozów in 1969 eventually became the largest manufacturer of Bobbin lace in Europe. Unfortunately, the plant declared bankruptcy in 2009 and was unable to find any followers. Lace tradition is, however, maintained in the region and developed by small art studios, especially in the area of Sanok and Strzyżów.
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