Bulgarian traditional crafts and home crafts create objects and works whose value proves to be impressively resilient to the power of the times. To make the various products, Bulgarians and Bulgarian women used local raw materials and materials, and the products were purely practical. Today, the strength and quality of the tireless hands of the craftsmen - craftsmen and women - the hostess still ceases to delight and amaze. The objects are distinguished by their high artistic and cultural uniqueness, which easily explains their continuity. Each work is a kind of interweaving of different artistic concepts, which were important for the formation of aesthetic criteria of generations among Bulgarians.
The creations born of traditional and home-based activities have a long-lasting contribution to expanding the notion of the place and role of the beautiful in the life of the Bulgarians. They form a balanced "microcosm" in which the dimensions of the material world of our ancestors have extended.
Items originating from domestic activities are initially created by the need to meet daily human needs. Gradually, however, they began to overshadow the production of the craftsmen.
The Renaissance period (XVIII-XIX centuries) marked a significant progress in the development and popularization of folk crafts on the Bulgarian lands. During this time period, many interesting styles and patterns emerge, bringing freshness and fresh feeling to traditional performances. The ever-expanding markets during the Renaissance give a wide field of realization and stimulate the flourishing of crafts. It was then that the Bulgarian conditions were particularly favorable for the formation of influential structures of craftsmen, who subsequently managed to reach enviable heights in the specialization of production.
During the Renaissance, the first art schools appeared, Renaissance craft centers were established in pottery (in Busintsi and Troyan) and in carpet and weaving (in Chiprovtsi and Kotel). The interest was focused on acquiring and improving the skills for dealing with natural matter. The balance between different styles and techniques was sought to bring the matter to a more sophisticated form. This is the beginning of a long series of innovations, which today we call "the secrets" of the craft. They were passed down from father to son, from master of calf.
The skills in question bordered on mastery and were perceived as something very delicate. They are a collection of technical and technological rules that are not traditionally recorded but transmitted from person to person.
The works of folk crafts and domestic activities were not only an expression of the then concept of beautiful, but also an expression of the notion of being useful. Traditional ideas are considered to be beautiful, which brings the greatest benefits to everyday life.
The Bulgarian lands are home to many and varied crafts and home-based activities that are closely related to the way of life of the people of that time. Each material work is distinguished by its uniqueness. In the rich variety of homework pieces preserved to date, some of the works stand out with their artistic uniqueness, which is a great cause for pride.
Laziness in the Rhodopes
Linen is a textile known to the world since ancient times. Evidence of its ancient origin is the findings of modern archaeologists in the excavation of the pyramids in Egypt.
Pharaohs' mummified bodies were encased in linen. In 6000 BC humanity is well aware of and appreciates the strength and quality of flax and has used it for many applications. Flax is an extremely strong vegetable fiber, twice as strong as cotton.
Flax is the oldest fiber culture in the Bulgarian lands as well. Even during the First Bulgarian Kingdom, its cultivation for tissue production had an important role in the economy. In the eighteenth century there was a great demand for linen and Bulgarian merchants exported large quantities to Transylvania and other parts of the Balkans. In Batak and other areas of the Rhodope Mountains, flax is the main fiber plant for a considerable length of time. Batak has been known since the Renaissance, as a settlement where laziness was highly respected, along with the main livelihood of the population - logging and woodworking.
According to some more recent historical studies, lenarism is closely related to the development of abagia, another folk craft that is found in many Rhodope and middle-mountain villages, as well as in Plovdiv and Pazardzhik. The Abaji masters used large quantities of linen to create the woolen garments. For many years, the cultivation and processing of flax has yielded good profits for botanists, with which they have supplemented the income from logging and woodworking.
Local production of linen begins to decline gradually as factory yarns are available on the markets of the Turkish Empire. Their low price makes them more attractive to artisans. In the second half of the twentieth century, Bulgarians in Batak began to look for factory cotton yarn for the manufacture of cloths, towels and other fine fabrics. The cotton yarn had more softness and whiteness, which made it more sought after than linen. Nevertheless, the processing of linen as a home-made craft remained until the late 50 years of the twentieth century, demonstrating remarkable resilience.
After the Liberation, flax is watched and processed by almost every household in Batak. In 1934, the Charm Charms stopped working. Locals who until yesterday were independent producers are becoming wage earners. Urban influence is becoming more and more apparent, changing Batak's architectural vision, people's clothing and home furnishings. But even these changes of modern times do not so easily limit the role of flax processing.
In the 20 years, the idea of reviving laziness and becoming a major livelihood began to be accepted more openly by the local population. This led to the opening of the Riga Flax Cooperative in Batak in 1935. It distributes the Russian flax variety, which is grown all over the country and produces high yields. This opens up a good opportunity to get more raw materials to be traded and the income can cover the household and cultural needs of the population.
Flax continues to be sown and cultivated in separate households. During World War II, there was a severe shortage of wool and cotton yarn. Their demand motivates botanists to grow and process as much flax as possible. Culture began to lose its popularity and significance in the early 50 years. In 1959, land was cooperated and women were no longer able to sow flax for their own needs. Thus, as a major traditional craft for Batak, laziness gradually but surely fades away.
Craft in Shiroka Luka
Located on the right bank of the Shirokolashka River, not far from Smolyan and the winter ski resort of Pamporovo, the village of Shiroka Luka is among the most desired tourist destinations in Bulgaria.
In the old days, Shiroka Luka was a vigilant center of Bulgarian culture and education. Even today, the area has been able to preserve the authentic spirit of the Renaissance. The impressive architecture, preserved folklore - customs and traditions represent only a small part of the rich cultural and historical heritage that attracts thousands of foreign and local tourists and connoisseurs of Bulgarian traditions every year. An important resource that significantly contributes to the development of cultural tourism are precisely the crafts, some of which still exist in the village.
In Shiroka Luka, a number of handicrafts such as masonry, carpentry, abacia, tailoring, blacksmithing, tinning and arrogance were on the rise. The favorable location of the village, in close proximity to coniferous and deciduous forest species, is an important prerequisite for the development of huts. Wood is a basic material in the manufacture of utensils and vessels (barrels, casks, barrels) needed for everyday life.
One of the most widespread crafts in the Rhodopes from the end of the XIX and the beginning of the XX century is abagacy. The settlements, Ustovo, Raykovo, Colonel Serafimovo, Petkovo, Zlatograd, Shiroka Luka are emerging as more prominent centers of this craft. In these places, where each house was a kind of small factory, home made fabrics, abies and shayaks were needed to sew traditional men's, women's and children's clothing.
Unfortunately, later socio-economic and cultural changes at the beginning of the 20 century, when traditional clothing was discontinued, led to the decline of abagia.
In addition to abagism, Shiroka Luka is also known as a village with rich music and singing traditions. The crafts associated with the making of folk musical instruments, mostly bagpipes, remain alive to this day. It is no accident that the core of 40 bagpipes, from the famous 100 Cabo-Bagpipe Orchestra founded in 1961, was assembled in the village of Shiroka Luka.
The Gaydar tradition continues today. The periodic rallies on Mount Rozhen and the traditionally annual bagpipes in the nearby village of Gela, the carnival games, and any other family and family holidays that give the authentic spirit of the Bulgarian folklore a great contribution to this.
Weaving in Ludogorie
As a rule, Bulgarian folk crafts were inherent in men. But it is precisely against the background of men that one who demands not the masculine power but the tenderness, purity and diligence that only a woman's hand can give: weaving, manages to stand out.
Initially, the hand loom was only used at home. It was a solid construction in front, arranged in parallelogram form. At its two ends are two wooden cylinders called 'cross'. Other more important details that make up the loom are the two "nibbles," "birch," "prong," "feet," "shuttle," and two "dogs." Weaving used wool, hemp, cotton and silk. Mainly weaving was used for making clothing and household needs. Unlike Chiprovtsi and Kotel, there were no weaving schools in Ludogorie.
The wool was the main raw material from which the industrious Bulgarians for many years made clothes for men, women, children and other necessary things for the arrangement of the rural home. They made mats, rugs, carpets, rugs. Wool processing was done in the most primitive way. After a good wash of the fleece, the wool "curled" to become ready for processing. All the activities that accompany the process of transforming the wave into colorful rugs, carpets and warm, beautiful clothes were at hand.
It is curious to mention that in the years after the Liberation, the Turks continued to weave their traditional garments themselves - salvars, shirts, vestments, etc.
With the increase of the Christian population in the Ludogorie region, mainly Balkanians, and a little later, settlers from North Dobrudzha, weaving of rugs gradually began to become a particularly popular craft. The weaving was mainly done in the autumn and winter when not in the field.
With the development of the domestic economy, industrial textile fabrics are beginning to enter and weaving activities are dwindling dramatically.
Even though this craft is completely dead today, it still preserves the beauty of the variety of colors, masterfully woven with the power of sensation, diligence and skill of the Bulgarian woman to create grace.
Knitting in Transko
In the past, along with weaving, knitting was another widely practiced Bulgarian craft. Hand knitting was widespread in the Tran region. The knitters used mostly wool yarn called "mane". From her weave cardigans, sweaters, socks, hats and more. Knitting in Transko stands out with a wide variety of patterns. With innate talent and a sense of aesthetics, the knitter was able to feel the right color combinations and appropriate loops when knitting men's and women's socks.
Over time, handmade knitting continued to evolve as a craft. The Tranchans gradually began to make lace, tablecloths, cords, curtains and a variety of knits, which brought even greater comfort and beauty to the home. The folk costume of the woman, adorned with fine seamstresses, is a vivid expression of the skill, creative talent and rich perception of the Bulgarian woman.
Shevitsa is a testament to the immense creative talent of the Bulgarian woman.
The desire for the beautiful, dictated by the inner sense of harmony of the Bulgarian woman, is revealed precisely in the rich variety of ornamental and harmonious forms. At the heart of the Bulgarian seamstress are intertwined Slavic symbols, which speak of the closeness to the characteristic features in the exercise of other Slavic peoples. Styles and techniques influenced by Byzantine and Oriental patterns, which were widespread in Bulgaria in the days before the Liberation, are observed in the Bulgarian sewing industry. It is remarkable how the Bulgarian woman managed to interpret these elements purely in Bulgarian and they acquired national originality and originality.
Knitting is a craft that luckily has managed to stay current today. In many Bulgarian villages there are still older women who make gorgeous knits. What is more, many young girls show great interest and practice this creative craft in their spare time.
The wealth of folk crafts in Razgrad
The craftsmanship in the Razgrad region developed at a rapid pace during the Renaissance. Newcomers from the Balkans (and especially from the Gabrovo and Elena region) have an important contribution to this. With their industrious hard work and enterprising mind, they are able to give a strong impetus to the local economy and stimulate its further development.
Balkan settlers bring with them the knowledge and skills of their traditional crafts: mutafchystvo, abagia and construction. Along with them, they see a fertile ground for the development of new crafts professions: barbering, carpentry, colo-ironmaking, tailoring, fur, shoemaking, sarcastic, etc.
One of the most important elements in the carpentry workshop is the massive wooden counter on which the primary processing of the wood is carried out. Nearby there is a simple pocket (a wooden vessel, a narrow-bottomed landing gear and a wide opening) in which the heated woodworking tools are cooled. On the counter and above it the masters ordered: a small planer for primary processing of timber, planes, planers of various sizes, a digger. The arsenal of carpentry auxiliary tools is complemented by: saw, carpenter, wheel hub press, wheel spokes pattern, front hinge templates, cart front chair. Initially, the board is roughly machined with a small planer, and then the actual work is started where larger planers come into use.
The carpentry industry in Razgrad has several directions. Coloro - carpentry is one of the woodworking trades. In the past, it was a leader because the main means of transportation of goods, materials and people were wagons and cars. Sleighs and deacons were constructed. Joinery is another woodworking business of significant economic importance.
Craftsmen provided the population with beds, tables, chairs, chests, chests, troughs, shingles, pomegranates, sofas, small three-legged chairs, wooden villas and rakes, chests of various sizes, shovels for baking bread, trays, carpentry tables and counters, wooden knuckles, etc.
Joinery is another up-to-date craft. The joinery workers made floors, floorings, ceilings, porches, closets, worms, sheds (sheds), sheds, eaves, stairs, covers, floors, benches, fences, barriers and other household items and equipment.
Barbering and stunting were also sought after in the Razgrad region. The craftsmen made barrels, casks, tubs, tubs, buckets, buckets, buckets, as well as various other blanks of wood and construction materials.
For a while, crafts were the most important source of livelihood for Bulgarians. Today, they are a symbol of folk tradition and continue to convey the comfort, beauty and light spirit of a bygone era.