Gathered at the Museum of the Romanian Peasant - Muzeul Taranului Roman. I've written about the Museum before in previous posts, but if you haven't visited, you really must.
The idea for the visit was for the group to learn more about traditional Romanian textiles and embroidery as part of wider Romanian rural working life, to see the work in real-life, and to get inspiration for the week ahead.
The Museum is ordinarily closed on Mondays, so very very generously they had agreed to give us a special tour of the museum and its archive. Ion Blajan, Head of Collections at the Museum, guided us through the collection. I've visited the museum on a number of occasions, but it makes such a huge difference having an expert to explain and guide you. Ion was incredibly passionate and of course knowledgeable about the collection. The collection is overwhelming, particularly the textiles- there's so much to absorb. I always find it a very inspiring, but at the same time draining, experience.
The highlight of the visit was being taken behind the scenes into the archives. We were shown some truly amazing embroidered sample books. I could have stayed all afternoon looking and finding out more about these books and the embroideries contained within them, but sadly we had very limited time. You can by arrangement with the Museum go and study the archive, so I plan to go back and really research their collection at some point - the iconography, the techniques, the histories of who made them, where they were made and their social significance. At the moment it seems like I'm barely scratching the surface, only really being able to appreciate their aesthetic value, and a tiny part of their social value.
A huge thank you to Ion and everyone at the Museum for their warm welcome and for giving up their time so generously.