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Weavars in Istria

22.04.2004 - 30.09.2004

Weavars in Istria

Weavars in Istria

Weaving, and the work leading up to it, is commonly considered to be performed by women. However, in this Croatian tradition, .Istria (and Hrvatsko Zagorje) were the exception. Weaving there was a job for male professionals, while all preparation (readying of the material – sheep breeding, shearing, soaking, drying, braking, carding, spinning, etc.) was done by women.
This exhibition is intended to bring this detail to public knowledge. One of the contributing factors to this practice was the permanent or temporary settlement of Istria by Carniolan and Friulian craftsmen, including male weavers. Evidence of this are found in many Istrian and Italian historical archives.

The end of the 19th century brought radical changes in the fashion of dressing, encouraged by the increased affordability and attractiveness of industrially manufactured textiles. Traditional clothing (made of wool, hemp and flax) and the cottage system of textile production were gradually abandoned. Yet still, household textile products did not lose their popularity until after World War II, more specifically by mid of the 1960s, with full industrialization of the textile industry.

The research project on Istrian domestic textile production is focused on its presentation, documenting and preservation. Some living Istrian weavers played a key role in its accomplishment. Their knowledge, skills and recollections, as well as hard evidence of weaving craft have been an immense contribution to the project and exhibition “Weavers in Istria”. This is something noteworthy, given that weaving skills represent an important segment of the national cultural heritage.

The accompanying video “Weaving in Istria” documents and explains the construction process for a loom, krosna, for the workshops that the Istrian Ethnographic Museum has organized since summer 2002 under the management of the weaver Ivan Vošćon. Our wish is to enable visitors to master the skills of weaving. At the request of individuals and groups, workshops can be arranged during the exhibition period and, hopefully, might become an integral part of the Museum’s educational program.