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Alena Rybáriková speaks about folk costumes

Embroidered tablecloth, designed and made by Alena Rybárikováby Jozef Lenhart

Ethnographer PhDr. Alena Rybáriková from Bratislava is an established expert of the Centre for Folk Art Production. She started her career in the ÚĽUV as a research worker (folk costumes and textiles) in 1973 to be appointed the folk costumes production manager later. She has become an established expert on the Slovak folk costumes due to her study of traditional costumes and on-field research. She is skilled in all practical works necessary for making folk costume elements such as the selection of materials, making patterns, drawing decorations, making templates, assigning tasks to makers and making finishing works. She is an advanced dressmaker and skilled in many traditional techniques such as bobbin lace, boar weaving, loom knitting, multi-strand weft technique, embroidery techniques, etc. She has published her views of this area of expert work. A digested interview with Alena Rybáriková:

„I preferred reconstructions of folk costumes according to traditional patterns. ... Making folk costumes for folk ensembles provokes my creative potential – we were combining past with present which required profound knowledge of traditional making techniques and procedures... Making a folk costume is a very demanding job – accurate and orderly work and a skilled worker is a must.“

„Research of folk costume started in the early 1950s in ÚĽUV. I became part of the research team in 1973. Research work ended in 1985 – 1986. The research itself was an initiative of people before me. Many of them were with no special professional education, but they conducted research work with great effort and had perfect results which will be recognised as valuable in future. Well, they may have experienced true folk culture and folk costumes on real people. They made pictures that were by no means reconstructions of clothing in Slovakia, but real life with great documentary value. In the 1970s, we revived the research work and were forced to made reconstructions of clothing, look for and combine parts of a folk costume to make drawings and pictures. Experts may find such an approach non-scientific, but the ÚĽUV believed in it. We needed specific samples of folk costumes because the ÚĽUV had started to produce folk costumes in the 1950. Now it is the only complex material, even for the academic workers.“

Participant of the recent Rings in Water competition and young designer Ľubica Poncik used golden embroidery from the Trnava region in her clothes to transform it creatively and discover new aesthetic values. „I understand that we, older people, approach traditional values, among which embroidery has the most important position, in a more conservative way. We keep on believing in its traditional values. Ľubica Poncik approached it in a different way, without prejudices. This is what helped her to uncover its unique beauty and find embroidery new, contemporary and modern utilisation. It is not good to insist on traditional techniques on modern clothes – it costs money and time and it is difficult to service it. She came with innovative approach with right regional identification, her clothing is good to wear and financially viable.“




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 02/2009:


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