Sustainable City conference



University of Sharjah, UAE


To sustain authenticity, a holistic approach to preserving arts, crafts, and the fabric of the place must be perpetuated integrally. This research analyzes wool as a sustainable engine for local communities in Transylvania, Romania, and a tool for its artists and creatives to interpret it through different techniques and mediums to contribute to its continued preservation and perpetuation through generations. In Transylvania, the art and craft of processing wool continue to be part of the ‘region’s heritage. In order to sustain this practice, both as the basis for the economy and the ‘people’s heritage, it is necessary to seek alternatives to engage the older craftsmen while attracting the younger generation. There must be a continuum of practice to transfer knowledge and know-how. The paper is based on a recently completed case study entitled “”A Wool Journey: From Fashion Design to Art Installation”.” The project, which started in 2019, was financed by the Romanian Ministry of Culture and had two main objectives: to create a collection using wool as a foundation fabric for technical and material experimentation, making use of ancestral crafts and symbols from different parts of Maramureș, Transylvania, and to document the entire process of wool processing and manufacturing. The final result was revealed in the form of an art installation that highlighted this journey a journey that reinforced the importance of place. This journey started in Săpânța, home of the Merry Cemetery, a UNESCO heritage site, where the physical fabric of the place lends itself to sustaining the local crafts and craftsman. Therefore wool, perceived in Maramureș as having the same value as gold, soil, wood, and water, is attributed to new valences and focus, becoming a tool for the local community to perpetuate its heritage, necessary to its continuance.

Keywords: wool, heritage, Transylvania, Maramureș, crafts, craftsman, craftsmanship, cultural site, habitat