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REVIVING RURAL INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE - TOWARDS AN ECONOMIC VALORIZATION OF ART-CRAFT TRADITIONS Ion IMBRESCU West University of Timisoara.

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Presentation on theme: "REVIVING RURAL INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE - TOWARDS AN ECONOMIC VALORIZATION OF ART-CRAFT TRADITIONS Ion IMBRESCU West University of Timisoara."— Presentation transcript:

1 REVIVING RURAL INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE - TOWARDS AN ECONOMIC VALORIZATION OF ART-CRAFT TRADITIONS Ion IMBRESCU West University of Timisoara

2 Involution of quality of life in rural area The last 30 years was characterized by a deterioration of quality of life in the Romanian rural area. The principal causes were: 1. in the last years of “communism” the appearance and development of huge industrial sites generated a migration of labor force from the rural area to these sites, and often the workers bring with them another members of families 2. after the 1990 “revolution”, there was a lack of investments in industrial sector but also in agricultural sector, and that situation generated the increasing of unemployment and a migration reflux to rural area, but also a migration flux to other countries (the official data underline that the biggest Romanian community is in Spain)

3 Specificity of Romanian rural area “What is that impulse, that irresistible force which will not let the peasant rest content with the merely useful, but drives him to seek the best proportioned and most harmonious forms that appeal to the eye by color and line, are pleasant to the touch and produce that rare sense of contentment, poise of mind and joy which characterize aesthetic enjoyment? (Peasant Art in Romania, George Oprescu, 1929)

4 Wood Trees of life, twisted rope, moons, stars, flowers and wolf teeth to ward off evil spirits are associated with myths and superstitions. They show up in furniture, spoons, ladles, walking sticks, keepsake chests and other decorative objects, sometimes embellished with paint. Wooden flutes and recorders are also elaborately carved. Most prized are the multi-piped pan flutes, which are now very rare, as few artisans know how to make them and even fewer know how to play them.

5 Wood Homes are trimmed in elaborately carved wood, wooden gates and even fences are intricately carved. Historically, in this area, a family’s community status was displayed through the gate – the more elaborate, the more important the family.

6 Painted eggs Painting of real hollowed- out eggs was an integral part of preparations for this festival of renewal. Women and children gathered in someone’s home and spent a day painting and gossiping. Intricate patterns were actually secret languages known only to residents of the regions where they were painted.

7 Masks Masks are linked to folk festivals. Typically made from the hides of sheep, goats or cows, the masks are adorned with fabric, hats, pompoms, metallic bits, feathers, beans, straw and animal horns to represent bears and goats.

8 Rugs and blankets As varied as different areas’ attractions, so too are the rugs that are displayed on surrounding fences. Most are flat-weave kilims, probably introduced centuries ago by the controlling Ottoman Empire. Today’s hand-weavers mix traditional vegetable-dyed yarns with commercial aniline- dyed yarns to produce startling accents within traditional patterns and colors.

9 Rugs Rugs from Oltenia reflect nature, with flowers, trees and birds. Those of Moldavia have patterns of little branches repeated in rows to create a tree of life. Rugs from Maramures tend to have geometric shapes, resembling those from Turkey and the Caucasian mountains.

10 Pottery Romanian pottery is still made mainly on traditional kick-wheels with simple finishing tools. Shapes, sizes and patterns reflect the different clays and cultures of diverse areas where are produced.

11 Pottery Color glazes and decorations vary from strong geometrics, to delicate florally, animals and humans. There are approximately 30 pottery centers throughout the country, each with its own distinctive style.

12 Folk costumes Embroidery on folk costumes worn for holidays and special occasions (like weddings) follows strict regional patterns and serves also as a sort of secret language known only to people within the different regions.

13 Metals

14 Mapping of craft production » The necessity of mapping the local artisans and to collect relevant information about them, because a lot of them working as “amateurs” not as “professionals”, the characteristics of production are: non continuity and seasonality, the quantity of the products is not high and the probability for a consequent production is very low. The actions for this direction must involve the local administrative bodies and, where is possible, the representatives of cultural agencies.

15 “Modernization” The insufficient attention paid to artisans, a lot of local representative considering that the products of handicrafts can transmit the idea that the area are un-evolved and they tend to press the artisans to product “modern” goods. This tendency to “modernization” can destroy a lot of valuable objects or even places (in one of my research travel in a village of Banat, one specialist in architecture told me that he cannot convinced the owner of a house to restore it in original way because a local governmental representative told him that is the most ugly house in the region, so the last house with a cultural traditional value was “modernized”; also some wood artisans were “convinced” to renounce to traditional products in order to product modern furniture).

16 Advertising The insufficient advertising of goods and services, caused by the characteristics of local production of artisans; they know how to do but did not know how to transmit a message that can penetrated through the abundance of other messages to potential clients.

17 Access to the market The insufficient access to the market, even if we refer to a real market or to a virtual one. Few artisans have knowledge about using the internet as a potential market and almost all have real problems with the costs of transportation their products to real markets.

18 Market creation The difficulty to be present to a market can be surmounted through the creation of a local market where clients can be attracted using different methods: preparing catalogues with the products, preparing some sample souvenirs, organizing exhibitions.

19 Price mechanism The inconsistency of a price formation mechanism in the area of handicrafts can be considering a very important element that “contributes” to the underdevelopment of supply side of the market. The materials used by artisans have more prices variations because there regular are only occasionally acquisitions so is almost impossible to know the production costs. Also there are a lot of problems with evaluation of labor costs and all that have a negative influence on the market mechanism. The solution can be represented by the cooperation between artisans, local representatives and universities because all almost all artisans are “dreaming” about profit but very few have the habit to “economic thinking” about profit, so the training involvement in this direction must be consistent.

20 Cooperation One of the keyword is “cooperation” but the people are reticent about it because in socialism the “Agricultural Cooperative of Production” meant that the state collects the production and the workers were paid with high “proud currency” and with very low wages. Interesting to present that in a lot of communities the cooperation has different aspects, for example in sheep subsistence farm there were families that cooperated in these activities from preparing the fields till the allocation of the results, or in construction and exploitation of water mills also manifested a positive form of cooperation. But, when we tried to formalize the cooperation in some handicraft activities, the reticence was very high because we can “smell” some untrusted positions related to the fair allocation of positive results.

21 Accommodation The lack of accommodation places can be surmounted through the development of some specific programs, such as “the front room”, in the Banat area almost every house has a special room for guests, but the rule is that the guests are family friends and hosts cannot accept a payment for accommodations.

22 Conclusions The art-craft production can resist and be developed only if artisans will be “re- discover” by the demand-side, and that is possible if they will collaborate with local governmental representatives and the bodies involved in cultural activities (including universities) and the processes of administrative conformity (especially financial rules) will not represent a “scary” factor.

23 The appearance and development of some “guidance centers” can represent a positive factor for increasing the characteristics of market – oriented production of artisans. The attributes and competences of such a “guidance center” must be specific to every crafts and also to the local area of artisans.

24 Thank you!


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