In August I spent three weeks in Transylvania (Romania), researching for my project ‘Our craft is our heritage‘.
Taking the crafts of the Transylvanian Saxons as a starting point, I am investigating the cultural connections between the Netherlands, Germany and Romania.
The community today known as the Transylvanian Saxons settled in waves in Transylvania from the 12th century onwards. They were recruited from the Meuse Valley, a region that today belongs to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and France.
Therefore, the cultural heritage of the Transylvanian Saxons is based on a cultural mix. These different influences can still be identified today in the costumes, traditions, house construction, household items and language. I interviewed the art historian Jan De Maere in Sibiu (RO) about the subject.
Using crafts – weaving, embroidery, ceramics, woodworking, basketry and architecture – I want to outline this European migration history in an exhibition.
I visited numerous museums, archives and fortified churches, spoke with curators, conservators and historians, incl. Camelia Ștefan, Simona Malearov, Viorel Ştefu, Diana Macarie, Sergiu Török and Iris Ordean
The designers and curators Marlene and Alex Herberth (KraftMade) told me about their work and plans to open a local history museum in Cincu.
I had a conversation with the artist Lilian Theil about her extraordinary rag pictures.
The restorer Ștefan Vaida told me about his projects on monument conservation and showed me his historical collection.
I visited Nocrich Ceramics and met Manuela Ivan, painter of traditional furniture, at work in the Astra Museum.
Tile painter Michael Henning, coppersmith Emil Calderar and leather craftsman Uwe Boghian explained their craft to me.
I am very grateful to Gerhild Rudolf (Teutsch House Sibiu), the Connert family (Mediaș), Susanni Schöffend (Ațel Church), Katharina Wagner-Birtwistle and Andy Trincia for valuable tips for my research.
Many thanks to all of them!
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