Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Indigo dye printing blocks

There is a tradition of Indigo dyeing in  Hungary. Several workshops continue to dye and resist dye using traditional techniques and equipment.

The following are original indigo dye printing blocks. 140 pieces in total. These blocks were made with metal ribbon and nails and used to apply the wax like substance which would be overdyed. The wax like substance would then  be removed to reveal the patterns in the original colour of the cloth These pieces come from a workshop in Hungary. They are for sale in one lot.  Enquires; 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Apafi Manor, Malancrav, Transylvania

This is the first of a few posts focussed on  Transylvania.

Transylvania has a rich folk cultural heritage and  was where my interest in textiles was triggered.  I first travellled to Transylvania in 2007, my  friend Peter Strickland was making a film. We stayed in a traditional village house surrounded by hills and ancient forests. It was  insight into rural life in Transylvania which has held  a  fascination for me ever since. The combination of  dramatic countryside, medieval villages, cultural heritage ( including of course  the textile heritage) and  the simplicity of everyday life makes Transylvania perfect place for retreat from the noise of the city dwelling. You can get an idea of the natural beauty from the trailer of Katalin Varga here

At the end of May I travelled from Budapest to Transylvania. First stop was Sibiu and then
Malancrav, a Saxon village in the heart of Transylvania. There are a number of Saxon villages in this area, they are well  know for their fortified churches.  The Saxon villages in Romania have had a dwindling population since WW2 but particularly since 1989, 90% of the population left, most returning to Germany. Many of these villages were left almost desolate with buildings declining into a  terrible state.

The images above are of and from Apafi Manor in Malancrav.  The manor was bought by Prince Charles and was painstakingly  restored by the  Mihai Eminescu Trust (MET). You can read more about it here. Its available to rent via the MET as are a number of beautifully restored village houses.

A word of caution; the MET are very good at restoring houses but  I wouldn't recommend staying in one of their village  houses.There was a lack of information, for example, we know there was a weaving house but we couldn't find it, no walking maps in English etc, no local produce available. The MET are missing a trick here, there is so much more they could do to make this a better experience.  There are much better places to stay to gain an insight into village life in Transylvania. Here are two of them;

Valea Verde/ has the option of staying in a village house. Jonas is knowledgeable  and  passionate about the village and its people.

Count Kalnoky Estate

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Antique Cross Stitch Embroidery

This is a finely cross stitched antique wall hanging.  I took it to the restorer as there were some small holes. She said that they used to spin paper into the cotton thread to save money. She also recognizes this as an embroidery made by ethnic Hungarians in the Ukraine who used to bring embroidery to Hungary in exchange for flour and bread which were hard to come by in the Ukraine at the time.  However I am more inclined to think that this was made by ethnic Hungarians living in Transylvania... anyone any thoughts? I have included an image of the back  of the piece

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Lovely Piece of Matyo Embroidery

Beautiful piece of antique Matyo embroidery in unusual muted colours. Matyo refers to a community consisitng of a few small  villages in a small area of northern Hunary. Matyo embroidery is on the Unesco list of  cultural heritage. Heavily embroidered in silk usually on a black or white cloth.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


.Cloth by Cassandra Ellis will be published in the Autumn. Our indigo dyed linen ( sheets and a resist dyed vintage linen cushion) are featured on the cover 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chamber Maids Apron

  We have just had this restored. It is Hungarian chamber maids apron  from around the 1930's. The pocket was for tips!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Vintage Linen Rolls

We have some wonderful rolls of vintage linen just in.

These vintage linen fabrics are wonderfully characterful, versatile and durable.  They were woven, mainly in peoples homes,  before the second world war on narrow home looms. The linen  and hemp was often home grown and processed.  The home spinning resulted in threads that were not uniform- this is in part what gives these fabrics such wonderful character.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Embroidered "Matyo" Bolero

 We have just had this Hungarian bolero waistcoat restored, there were a couple of holes in the embroidery which  have been meticulously repaired and embroidered and lots of old storage marks.  The shapes of the flowers are Matyo but the colours are colder ( but very nice?) than traditional Matyo designs.  The embroidery is a mixture of hand and machine.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Old Printing blocks

I picked these old printing blocks up at a flea market. There are some nice Matyo designs

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Embroidered window panels

These three embrodiered panels come from the Kalotaszeg region in Transylvania and were made as a window surround. They are hand embroidered on lovely hand loomed linen and in near perfect condition.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Embroidered cloth from Transylvania

This is an antique embroidered piece from Transylvania, dated 1934. Embroidered in black cross stitch, this piece was probably made as a commenerative piece. There is lace on three sides suggesting that this piece was made for a high decorative bed.. I should have more information about the origin of this piece soon

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Flower stones

Hand -made from the finest crochet thread, these lace stone flowers from Ribisli are beautifully made by expert Hungarian needlewomen.