Visual Chronicles from the Balkans and Central Europe: Samplers Remembered
Keywords:craft, popular culture, folk art, contemporary art, nostalgia, textile history
This paper examines the relationship between craft and popular culture by focusing on a peculiar type of textile sampler (needlework) that used to be omnipresent in the last century both in rural and urban houses across Central and South-Eastern Europe. Although these hand-crafted items are no longer part of today’s ‘compulsory’ household, they are still regarded as nostalgic, familiar or emotional forms of materiality and tangibility which perform a cultural politics of identity. These vernacular textiles predate the digital age and the free market and yet co-evolve and interact with digital networks and technologies. This paper brings into focus ‘amateur’ and regional forms of home grown cultural expression and the ways in which these forms of folk creativity and materiality are recast in contemporary urban popular culture and arts. Thus, the main aim of this study is to explore the contemporary re-enactments of these vernacular samplers.
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