Woolen blankets woven by the students of the Estonian Native Textile specialty of the Viljandi Culture Academy, University of Tartu offer joy and color. The patterned loom-woven blankets have been made according to whole or partially-preserved blankets in museums, thus giving a new life to the forgotten handicradt heritage.
The exhibition shows student works of the traditional type. In weaving classes the students wove woollen blankets on looms, making copies of the blankets and rugs found in the museums of Estonia. According to old wedding customs, the bride had to make a blanket for the bridal bed; before marriage young people slept just under coats or sheepskin coats. Large ancient woven bridal shoulder scarves were replaced by colourful striped, chequered, supplementary weft-patterned and embroidered blankets.
The aim of the Native Crafts Department of UT Viljandi Culture Academy is to study and preserve the Estonian handicraft heritage and to associate it with present-day culture. In our department it is possible to acquire professional higher education in Inherited Crafts in three specialties – Estonian native textile, construction and metalwork – and the master’s degree in Inherited Crafts.
Estonian Native Textile is the oldest specialty in the Native Crafts Department of the Culture Academy. In this curriculum students explore traditional craft techniques, materials, dyes and patterns, using the textile heritage of Estonia as source material. They often visit museums and pick up old handicraft techniques straight from the museum items. Our students also study the impact of beliefs and traditions on the development of Estonian textiles over time.
Traditional folk art is seen by the students of Estonian native textile as a living and developing part of the Estonian culture, and also adapting to societal changes, so they wish to broaden its usage and introduce it to a wider audience. Using ethnographical sources and high-quality natural materials, they value and respect visual heritage and the sustainable thinking. They want to design items that would carry a strong local identity and enrich the cultural space of Estonia, serving at the same time as a model and encouragement for other nations in the world so that they would not forget their roots.
Traditional techniques and tools were used to make the items displayed in this exhibition. The patterned loom-woven blankets have been made according to whole or partially-preserved blankets in museums, thus giving a new life to the forgotten handicraft heritage.
In pattern-taking and weaving, the students were supervised by Christi Kütt.
Curated by Reet Kuuse.
The exhibition is open from April 6 to May 17, 2022 in the atrium of the Omicum building (address: Riia 23b/2, Tartu)
An article about the exhibition was also published in Tartu Postimees (in Estonian).
Photos by Lembe Lahtmaa: