A Disappearing Village

Happy New Year! It's been a busy, productive holiday season, selling the tote and clutch (only a few left!), securing a no-interest loan through Kiva Zip, and researching production possibilities in Romania.


Winter in Kispetri: A home with ornate carved wood. Photo: Petru Suciu.

Today, I share with you the village of Kispetri (Petrinzel in Romanian), where I'm working with two master embroiderers.  In October, I filmed a video of Piroska P. and Anna demonstrating the írásos techniques, including the "lace" that I am using on the laptop case design.  As it turns out, the csipke, pictured in progress below, is particular to Kispetri.  The video, which is being edited by a Hungarian, Transylvanian woman living in Geneva, will soon be finished.  It will serve as a document for the community and a teaching tool, so that others can learn and continue stitching for ThreadWritten and beyond.


Video Still of Papp Piroska demonstrating the csipke (lace), October, 2012. Image: Sarah Pedlow.

I also visited the village and attended the Sunday church service, where I spoke about ThreadWritten and met more of the community.  There are less than 100 residents in Kispetri, roughly 30 of whom were in church that morning.  Several homes are closed up, their original residents having passed away.  The children who inherited the houses now live and work elsewhere, in Kolosvar/Cluj, or in Hungary, returning on occasion.  I met a Hungarian-speaking Roma (gypsy) family who is lives there permanently, struggling to subsist.  Anna taught one of the women to stitch írásos to make money.  The woman had spent a week making a pillowcase, presumably to be sold at a market, and only received 15 lei, $3. Seeing that strengthens my resolve to create more work for the women, to consider including skilled Roma women, and create more value for their kézimunka (handwork).

 Sarah Pedlow showing the laptop prototype with Pastor Csilla and a congregant listening.

Sarah Pedlow showing the laptop prototype with Pastor Csilla and a congregant listening.

About twenty women attended, all sitting to the left, outside of the frame and less than ten men were sitting to the right. In the Hungarian Reformed Church, the men and women sit facing each other on opposite sides.  It was wonderful to meet the community and share work with Piroska P. and Anna's work.  Photo: Sara Meaker.