The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant has a heritage textile collection, and the odd shirt and carpet understandably occasionally needs restoration. So the museum has launched the interdisciplinary MYTHOS project (Development of Advanced Compatible Materials and Techniques and their Application for the Protection, Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage Assets)…
…which…aims to obtain fibres, yarns and fabrics which will serve as reference materials. They will be greatly similar, biologically and technologically, to the fabrics used in the heritage textiles containing bast fibres. In this way, all restoration and conservation work will be safely carried out, while respecting the cultural and historical value of these heritage objects.
Since flax is not much grown any more in Romania, the museum had to go to genebanks in Germany and elsewhere to obtain old varieties.
It is also processing the resulting fibre according to traditional methods, and has come up with an artificial ageing process. But that’s not all. The idea is to also revitalize hemp cultivation.
In Romania, the efforts to revitalize the tradition of flax and hemp cultivation follow two directions: an industrial one, focused mainly on the export of seeds and a traditional one, targeting rural households. At this stage of the project, with a view of developing the second direction, we have involved a small producer of traditional fibres. A unique project, “Manual weaving”, undertaken and coordinated by Mr. Andrei Sas, is involved in the marketing of fabrics made from natural fibres: hemp, cotton, wool. Through this activity, it has become a keeper of local traditional weaving techniques, proving that artisans can contribute through their products to their own welfare and that of the region, thus supplementing their income.
Now here’s a fun use of genebank accessions.