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Getting familiar with the workshops

 The organization of workshops on traditional arts and crafts taught for free in Arachova’s Ethnographic Museum is the second support column of the Museum’s cultural cell. After intensive preparation lasting for at least six months, it was made possible on the 26th June 2012 to have the Traditional Arts Workshops functioning fort the first time as part of a pilot program within the Museum’s building, while their function has properly started since autumn 2012. After an invitation addressed to all inhabitants of Arachova without exception, 20 of our fellow townsmen came to teach whichever traditional craft they knew without expecting any financial reward, and another 160 people of all ages enrolled as students. Our attempt was assisted by the Arachova Associations. The impressive participation of our fellow townsmen reflects the acceptance shown by Arachova’s people, who embraced our work with true enthusiasm.

  Eighteen classes are taught in the Workshops: sewing and embroidering all parts of the local traditional costume, weaving tapestries in traditional looms and old techniques of embroidery. Traditional processes are followed in all crafts. Specifically, as far as the art of embroidery is concerned, the students attended all traditional processes enacted by elderly women and analytically recorded by scholars of the Academy of Athens.

  Analytically, the traditional arts that have been up to now included in the teaching schedule of the Arachova Ethnographic Museum Workshops are the following:

1.      Weaving

2.       Embroidery with golden thread

3.       Embroidery

4.      Women’s traditional costume

5.      Men’s traditional costume

6.       Knitting

7.      Stone carving

8.      Iron works

  All crafts mentioned above are taught in the building of the Ethnographic Museum, apart from the stone and iron crafts which are going to be taught in the workshops that will be constructed especially for this purpose in Kamares, i.e. in the tholos structures under the large bridge, next to the Ethnographic Museum building. At the same time, the function of workshops producing traditional sweets and pastries, cheese, candles and wood-carving products is in preparation.

  At this moment there are 9 looms, 10 gold embroidery canvases, and 8 embroidery –sewing machines functioning in the Museum building, while public participation is impressive.

  People’s participation in our Workshops is of excellent rate and in fact proves that the local society has embraced our attempt. It is also very encouraging that the Arachova Ethnographic Museum Workshops are enthusiastically attended by people of all ages, i.e. young students of the Elementary and Junior High Schools or elderly townsmen, while most students are young girls and women from 30 to 50 years old.

  It has been, however, a surprise for us to understand that the locals’ motivation to learn a traditional art also has a social aspect. Besides getting to know something new and independently of any economic goals or professional prospects, a significant motive is the need for social contact and personal communication. In any case it is attested that folk’s tradition, having undoubtedly deep roots in Arachova, can open new ways of communication among members of the local population under today’s contradictory conditions.

   

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