The Croatian Heritage Foundation and Zagreb’s Folk Costume Workshop and Rental Department staged a very successful 13th annual Croatian Ethno Treasury from the 15th to 24th of July. The workshop and school focuses on traditional textile skills and the fabrication and restoration of Croatian folk costumes.
The concept of this CHF project is by Josip Forjan, the expert head of the Croatian Ethno Treasury and the director of the Travno Culture Centre in Zagreb in the frame of which the Folk Costume Workshop and Rental Department operates.

This workshop is targeted above all to costume designers, artistic directors and folklore ensemble dancers, people with an interest in Croatian folk garb and traditional textile handicrafts, but also to people interested in handicrafts as a free time, i.e. hobby activity.

Over the years the Croatian Ethno Treasury has established itself as a hands-on workshop at which participants acquire knowledge and skills associated with traditional textile techniques. This summer they learned three different types of embroidery, weaving on three looms that were set up, a number of different techniques for fabricating lace (Pag island style, Sol laces, Lepoglav style filet lace and tatting lace), the application of ribbons, fabric or leather, fabricating individual folk costumes (tailoring, sewing), knitting and mastering various methods of decoration (fabricating traditional jewellery) and upkeep (ironing, maintenance, restoration, wearing and fitting headdress).

Every Croatian Ethno Treasury to date has been special in some particular way – this year there was no lack of new content. Particular attention was dedicated to studying the fabrication and restoration of the Cvelferija folk costumes of Županjska Posavina (Županja Sava River Basin), a region devastated last year by a massive flood in which, among other things, old folk costumes from the region were destroyed. A comprehensive project that aims to restore the Cvelferija folk costumes has been instituted with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Culture. The principal in the implementation of this project is the Folk Costume Workshop and Rental Department in Zagreb, in collaboration with numerous institutions, associations, craftspeople and the local communities in the region. This year’s folk costume workshop made a great contribution to this effort. Six women from Županjska Posavina took part in the project, learning the art of embroidery, tailoring and sewing folk costumes under the watchful eyes of specialists. They were provided exceptional assistance in this by Josip Forjan and young ethnologist Katarina Bušić, a senior curator with the Ethnographic Museum of Zagreb. Ms Bušić held two specialist theoretical lectures, one focusing on the folk costumes of Županjska Posavina and the restoration project and the second on the history, fabrication and types of traditional textile techniques in Croatia.

We should certainly also mention the reconstruction of a woman’s folk costume of the Janjevo Croatians from Kosovo, which was also one of the special topics covered in this year’s folk costume workshop. Also joining in was a group of advanced attendees involved particularly with traditional jewellery – the most demanding part of the reconstruction we faced was the traditional necklaces and the very complex jewellery of women’s headwear. It was all achieved successfully.

This year’s Croatian Ethno Treasury was again staged in the pleasant setting of the Sculpting Academy in Pučišća on the island of Brač. Some fifty people took part in the programme – along with the leaders, assistants and a representative of the organiser, we gathered ten beginners, twenty advanced attendees (those that have already passed the introductory programme of basic techniques in previous years) and eleven demonstrators skilled in various textile techniques.

This year’s attendees came from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Switzerland and from across Croatia. Some have been coming to our workshop since its inception.

The Croatian Ethno Treasury wrapped up on Friday the 24th of July with an evening Open Day showing at the exhibition hall of the Sculpting Academy in Pučišća and on its expansive terrace. As always this exhibition drew in many visitors, both natives of Pučišća and tourists impressed with the beauty of the exhibited work.

Text by: Srebrenka Šeravić;Photos by: Goran Stokić


Photo captions:

1 – Beginning the reconstruction of part of a Cvelferija women’s folk costume
2 – The work is completed
3 – Working out the details of the reconstruction of gold embroidery
4 – Working out the details ahead of a project
5 – Fabricating a folk costume – detailing
6 – Fabricating traditional jewellery
7 – A night-time view of Pučišća from the terrace of the Sculpting Academy
8 – Starting work on the weaving of a sash
9 – Weaving the webbing
10 – A lecture by Katarina Bušić
11 – Starting the fabrication of a Janjevo women’s headdress
12 – The beginner group learns the fabrication of traditional jewellery