Textiles & Embroidery tradition in the Balkans.

An important part of our cultural history.

By MIka Panagou -Costume designer and researcher

  • In the past, cloth was made by our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers before it became an industrial technique. Each local costume was specific and marked family history, social status, and origin. It was part of a  more complex cultural-geographic history and not according to country or Ethnicity. Looking into the numerous collections and selections of traditional costumes from the Balkans, you will discover great similarities such as  the style of embroidery, as well as common form & design elements. For example, the influence of the Ottoman Empire is apparent in the use of coins in headdresses, necklaces, and belts from various regions including Greece, Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro. Fashioration project aims to point out visually this enormous variety of folk costumes and textiles from across the many regions of the Balkans.
  • Embroidery upon wool, non woven fabric: felt – ketses- tsoha- etc.
  • Embroidery in the Balkans
  • Since ancient times embroidery has been an art of its own. Designs of amazing craft, complicated and unique with bright colors and numerous different patterns are created and used in all kinds of textiles in the Balkan countries. Each country has its own special designs and characteristic colors& patterns as well as a certain approach to the tradition of wearing embroidered clothing. Furthermore, it is used in decorating everyday household items such as napkins, towels, blankets and of course in a bridal truce collection. Ancient needlework techniques can be seen –apart from the clothing- in towels, tablecloths, napkins, clothing and small rugs almost in every house. Many different symbols characterize each region or even each family. One will find stylized images of many figures from the natural environment: animals, plants and natural forms as well as various elements of inanimate nature such as geometric designs.
  • Embroidery a unique creative expressive art for women always had more dimensions. Secret codes and symbols served as ways of special talismans and objects of protection from the evil. The evil eye and thoughts of strangers.


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