I’ve just watched this video via a link from Stroud International Textiles facebook page and was enveloped once again in enthusiasm for the craft and it’s possibilities. So much diversity exists in creative basket weaving.
In Cyprus the basket making tradition is strong and in the past this was a highly versatile and much practised craft for making all manner of containers used in everyday life. Now, sadly there are fewer and fewer exponents of this once ubiquitous craft. The younger generations are not encouraged to take it up, and I’m sure they must think there are much more lucrative ways of earning a living. But what a shame it would be if the skills were lost completely, already the last man to make baskets out of twigs has gone from Kritou Terra.
Weaving is another craft that looked like it might be going the same way but, as already discussed in earlier blogs initiatives are now being put in place to invigorate interest in not only preserving the traditional techniques but also, just as importantly, instigating collaborations between universities in Cyprus and around the world to take an interest in the weavers and weaving techniques of Cyprus, so that innovation can take place and the practises are carried forward. I feel sure the same kind of initiatives can be put in place to re- kindle interest in basket making and get innovation going to produce some exciting and creative products using the traditional materials and techniques.
Lace is yet another very traditional craft of Cyprus and I was excited to see a poster earlier this week, again posted on facebook via Phitiotika, for an exhibition taking place at the Lefkara Hotel with the fabulous title of your ‘Granny can fly’,showing the results of a collaboration between local lace-makers and craft-makers and artists from the UK, Romania and Bulgaria. I wish I could be there to see it. This is so encouraging to see these revered crafts being carried forward by the next generations in new ways.