Coming from a family with long tradition in practicing crafts, embroidery being one of them, I developed love for this unique language that was created with a needle and thread.
Being a proud owner of a Romanian blouse, I was intrigued by the intricate patterns they used to decorate their blouses. The Romanian blouse, also known as Ia, is quite unique in its structure and distribution of the ornamental panel(s) in the center of the blouse and on the sleeves.
The blouse is big and roomy with voluminous sleeves that actually indicate the wealth of the family - the puffier the sleeves, the wealthier the family. The color palette is usually entirely monochromatic, defined as "chromatic sobriety".
The Ia contains secret carefully chosen symbols, each to communicate and convey feelings and emotions, a message or a story. It is a kind of a "manuscript" that tells the story of predecessors and links the past with the now.
The peasant Romanian woman embroidered her clothes with her soul. The embroidery showed her prayer to God: "Inspirit my clothes, the secret of my soul". All the symbols and geographic shapes stitched onto the blouse aimed to generate and direct the energy they represent. The embroidery work on the chest and the sleeves channel the energy through the body, down the arms into the hands.
They used protective symbols to shield them from evil (the rooster and the eye), cosmic symbols and ascension (the stars, the sun), fertility and abundance (snail, wheat, leaves and fruit), symbols of time passing, rebirth and eternal life (grapevine, stream of water).
By being able to read the needlework one can decipher a message from people that lived long ago and see what they feared, loved,lived and wished for.
My blouse is similar to the blue one below and you can read about it here.
Did you know there was an international Day of the Romanian Blouse?