IA - a majestic concept. A two letter word denominating an entire creative universe. A product of collective traditional design with an individual author, IA a.k.a the Romanian Blouse, is a textile narrator. The intricate embroidery on foam-white hemp tells a story. And each story is unique and immortal.

A reflection of the symbiotic relationship between man and nature, in traditional Romanian design geometrical symbols depicting elements of fauna and flora are attributed spiritual character. The tree of life, the Aries horns, the running water or the Wolf’s teeth, as symbolic elements, are part of a universal language and are chosen with purpose. What makes a Romanian Blouse recognizable is the embroidering design and the combination of symbols and colors that trace it back to a specific region of provenance. In historical times, before the chronic urbanization of Romania, IA was created in the heart of the rural community. Often women would organize specific gatherings “șezători”, where they would embroider, tell stories, sing, even mourn, they would talk about their husbands and children, their spiritual beliefs and their challenges and aspirations as women. Sometimes they would probably discuss techniques and designs but my feeling is that this happened only subsidiary. It was like a collective design hub focused on the individuals’ skill and artistic growth. The craft was taught from mother to daughter. The quality of the execution of the embroidery and the complexity of the chosen pattern was proof of the skill and talent of the author. It was a silent competition. The constructive type. Learning by doing and by observing others do. Women with different stories, different skill-sets, and different visions of life, all part of a dynamic process of collective design focused on traditional clothing.

This is why every IA impresses the viewer, the feeler, the wearer. The embroidery speaks to you before you can read its meaning. It talks about life and finding its meaning, about love and trust, about origin and belonging, about community. Because it is at the heart and soul of the community that it was born. 

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Collaboration with The Fourwood online lifestyle magazine.

Read the full text here: http://thefourwood.com/textile-stories-reflections-on-the-romanian-blouse-as-an-element-of-social-cohesion/