Romania, Borangic Silk Mill / Cristina Niculescu, Borangic Silk Threads & Weaving
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Cristina Niculescu is Romanian artisan, weaver, designer and entrepreneur, being the founder of Borangic Silk Mill.
With a twenty-year experience in the production of borangic (Romanian silk thread), self-taught, Cristina Niculescu carries out in her workshop from Stoenesti village in Romania, the whole production process, starting with the silk farming, yarn spinning, weaving and making the final product - IA, the Romanian blouse, with all the necessary processing involved. Cristina Niculescu and her husband Constantin are the only family of sericulturists from Romania, carrying on a centuries-old tradition.
The interest in cultivating mulberry trees and growing silkworms appeared in Romania in the 14th century, first in Transylvania (1348) and then in Banat region. In Moldova and Muntenia, sericulture was introduced by the Turks in the 18th century. From the Turks we have the word borangic (resulting from the Turkish word "buriincuk"), an old name for natural silk, which is actually untwisted thread, resulting from separating the silk threads from cocoons.
In the past, women from villages in the Oltenia region, where Borangic Silk Mill is today, obtained the borangic silk thread to weave traditional veils and Romanian blouses. In Cristina Niculescu’s collection you can discover pieces that evoke a fascinating history, saving from extinction the silk tradition in Romania and Eastern Europe. The motifs and cuts of the blouses and dresses are based on the traditional Romanian blouse - IA, unchanged for millennia.
Unbeknown to most, the Romanian blouse is truly an universal cultural icon. Worn by celebrities, part of cultural revolutions such as the hippie movement in the 60s, loved by fashion designers from around the world, and an inspiration for famous artists or movie characters, the Romanian Blouses trace their origins back to the ancient civilizations found along the Danube river thousands of years ago. They preserved a part of the language of signs and symbols specific to the mythical thinking of those times.
To celebrate this cultural treasure, June 24 was declared the Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse. The celebration started in 2013 as a Facebook initiative and is coordinated by the online community “La Blouse Roumaine.” June 24 marks the Midsummer Day – Sânzienele in Romanian folk beliefs. In a few short years, the “Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse” has become a truly global event celebrated on six continents, 48 countries, 109 cities, and 143 events. 25 years after the fall of the communist regime, this movement has contributed decisively to the rebirth and a renewed interest in traditional Romanian textiles. (Words Bogdan Banu for Merdian Center)