This week at AISB, students have the opportunity to experience traditional Romanian culture. Folk artists have been invited to share their art and handcrafted goods, from handmade rugs and blouses to artisanal honey products.

From March 4th through the 8th, students will be able to visit the stands in the atrium and main hallway to purchase an authentic piece of Romania. Three of the guests are profiled below (*interviews translated from Romanian):

1) Predușel Marin- Instrument Maker

How did you decide to follow this path?

“It was a family tradition. I was born in Troianu, Teleorman County. We had members in the family who knew how to play the whistle, and they had a whistle band.

As a child, I went and listened to them in the town square. When I was a young adult, I found someone making whistles. I bought one and started singing, learning from my brother. Since then, I became better and better at it.

We went to all sorts of competitions and festivals abroad. I also recorded 24 songs played with the whistle as well as different types of flutes. Because of this passion, I was able to go out of the country during communism with the singing ensemble.”

What do you feel when you make your instruments?

“The whistle is a very special instrument. Unfortunately, in Romania it is not as much appreciated as in Moldova and Bulgaria. For example, in Bulgaria there are 300 bagpipes players, while in Romania there are only about three. This shows how Romania loses a lot of its national treasures. People like us keep our traditions alive.”

2) Mariana Lăcrămioara Ionescu- Manual Embroidery

How did you decide to follow this path?

“It’s a childhood passion. My mother at the time made me constantly work and not lose any time. Since I was little, I developed a love for embroidery. The most important part is that I feel really good doing this. It’s a pleasure and a joy to do my job. When I see old traditional objects, I like to take inspiration from them and then use that in my own crafts. “

How long does it take to make a tablecloth?

“A tablecloth takes days to be made, depending on its size. For example, a medium-sized one is done in about five hours. The simplest are the bookmarks which are made in 30-40 minutes.”

Where do you sell your work?

“Usually, my embroidery is sold in traditional stores and museums as well as airports.”

Do the governors of Romania encourage the preservation of folk art?

“Unfortunately, no. We are treated like any merchants and the government does not see our efforts to keep these traditions alive. The status of the popular craftsman has not yet been established in Romania. We filed a request to the Chamber of Deputies but we have not received any special support.”

3) Dan Leșe- Pottery

How did you decide to follow this path?

“I came from historical Maramureș and over there, a type of ceramic is produced which copy the Dacian ceramics. I was born in a family of potters. This is a family tradition and I think it is my duty to take it further. I was 6-year-old when I started in the workshop.”

What do you feel when you create your products?

“When I work with ceramics, I feel joyful and I feel love for my traditions. These are some feelings I wish the younger generations could experience. I’m only interested in pursuing a tradition and doing what I like at home.”

How do you actually make the product? How long does it take?
“Making a pot on the potter’s wheel lasts 5-10 minutes depending on what shape you want to achieve. But first, the clay has to be extracted and after one year of maceration to plasticize, it will be possible to work with. Nowadays, it’s hard to say that you can live well from making pottery because young people have forgotten to drink water from the jug and they drink it from plastic instead. Because of this, many of the potters have lost their jobs.”

Thank you to these amazing artisans for talking to us, and for keeping these beautiful traditions alive! Make sure to see their works, as well as many other talented Romanians throughout the week.