Romanian embroiderer picks up her needle – second episode

30/10/2019

Florina Cismaru was born in Romania, a country well known for its beautiful embroidery. She decided to stitch one of the famous “Romanian blouses” and I wanted to follow her on her adventure to the sources of her culture. Halfway through its realization, I asked her a few questions.

Other episodes – First part ; Last part.

Work in progress ©Florina Cismaru

Here I am halfway through my project. I embroider 2-4 hours a day and I have completed one sleeve. I’m still so motivated and love this work, but I can’t wait to be able to wear it too!

Even after all this time, I have to constantly check the drawing, which is very precise and quite complex: it requires a lot of concentration. An error happens very quickly!

The first sleeve is completed ©Florina Cismaru
Detail of the motif ©Florina Cismaru

This is my first blouse and I was inspired by an old model found in Dimitrie Comșa’s book, Din ornamentica română (1904). The design must have been done on graph paper, but the photo is damaged and only the embroidery remains. It was a real challenge to redesign it.

I love working on this hemp fabric, it feels alive. It has a very nice texture. It is quite elegant too.
I took the precaution of washing it before embroidering it. But actually the hemp doesn’t shrink much, maybe 5%. On the other hand, I gained in sharpness, the fibers were more stable. The most complicated thing was to position the pattern above the elbow. You had to be very precise! I had to do several tests.

Hateg costumes, from the book by Doina Ișfănoni and Paula Popoiu : Costumul romanesc de patrimoniu din colectiile Muzeului National al satului Dimitrie Gusti ©Florina Cismaru

This experience came at the right time in my life. It gives me great inner strength. Sewing, embroidering, finding costumes, I love it. The art of textiles is a fascinating art, which I respect. The more I discover new pieces, the more I am amazed. And not just by the blouses, by the whole Hateg costume too. I find it both simple and elegant. I particularly like the monochrome designs. Our ancestors sewed and embroidered very meticulously. A neighbor gave me an old blouse, typical of the Mehedinti region where I live. The blouse has wide sleeves sewn with a very fine cotton thread. It’s covered in geometric patterns embroidered with tiny stitches! Gorgeous !

Traditional blouse from the Mehedinti region ©Florina Cismaru

The content of this site is free and is not damaged by un-welcomed publicity. I do this work with love and passion but it requires a lot of time. I would like to continue to offer a wider market to our artists, to show how embroidery is a wonderful art. But I do need a little bit of help. If you feel like it, you can participate with a little donation to help me continue. I will be so grateful! Thank you! Claire

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