Creating an exact replica of the oldest female thorn costume during lockdown

With the onset of the so-called “pandemic” of this unknown virus, a window of leisure opened up for me to fill with things I had never had enough time for before. My profession is a graphic designer and my hobby is to practice typical Bulgarian crafts.

I usually don’t refer to them as a crafts because they were not considered as such in the past – they were just part of the skills that every women practiced. Some of this includes knitting /1 and 2 hooks/ developing initial wеаving skills, lace making, typical Bulgarian embroidery making and a fine knowledge of the technique of sewing the lace “kenne” - a legacy from my grandmother.

I have worked on a number of projects related to the preservation and the transfer of these skills between the generations. My last workshop was in the framework of a project with the “Dupnitsa” History Museum in Bulgaria. The name of the project was “To make embroidery as our grandmothers - restoration of the typical “Dupnitsa” stitch. The main purpose was to unravel the stitches and to train young people and who wish to reproduce it.

Another project related to the transmission of ICH is the latest project from the National Museum of History - “Signs of the Vesmo. The Bulgarian Stitch for and Through Generations,” which unfortunately was interrupted by the quarantine period.

Within the framework of this project, four workshops were conducted with a practical focus on the mastery and specificity of the traditional embroidery from different regions. I used to run two of them - the Samokov and Dupnitsa embroidery workshop.
Two more took place in the towns of Bansko and Pleven. It seems that after everything is back to normal, the Culture Fund will allow this workshops to be held with delay.

So… in these troubled times, I stayed home and dedicated myself to a project that was so large that I had been postponing it for two years – a creation of an exact replica of the oldest female thorn costume - a shirt and overcoat. Everything is made by hand, the exercise is extremely rich, getting as close as possible to the authentic one by working with authentic materials.

For a month of quarantine I managed to make the skirts of the manophile, half guard + sleeve and half shirt. True, a rather chaotic job, but the puzzle is gradually assembled. Through the experience I discovered many followers and as result I am considering to produce a calendar with photographs of emblematic Bulgarian stitches, which, in addition will have instructions how to make them.

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