Elena Neagu – artisan, housewife, parent and a very involved member of the community life.

It’s about 5 years since I met Elena at a meeting. I’ve heard of her talent, but I didn’t have the chance to meet her till that moment. Her optimism, her cheerfulness and effervescence, an effervescence of a person who wants to do a lot, is still imprinted on my mind.
I met her again some time ago. It was like we knew each other for a long time! We began to talk about her work, about weaving, embroidery, fairs, and the women’s initiatives in Malancrav.
Since 2002 she has been working uninterrupted with the 200-year-old loom inherited from her grandmother. She is using natural fibers: cotton yarns and works with so called “stolen” techniques from ancestors! They are the best to create curtains, tablecloths, towels, wipes, bed covers, pillowcases and more. Her weaving adds personal details, ornamental motifs and colors that are representative for the lifestyle in the village where she lives, a place at the confluence of the Târnavelor hills and the Hârtibaciului Valley.

When she is not at her old loom or in the house, you can meet her by the table in the yard, where she spends time with other ladies in the village who appreciate the art of embroidery, or crochet! They all want to take these crafts further. They work, talk, and lure the other ladies in the village to their table with pies, donuts or syrups. Those ladies who want to get initiated in this art get to meet the experts this way!

The weaving, embroidery or crochet is not an easy thing, or available to anyone, but for her, all these crafts get another dimension. I was in the middle of a story about how, for 3 years, she was teaching craftsmanship to a group of 15 girls from the Sibiu People’s School of Art. I was amazed how easily is for her to do igloo embroidery without even looking to the model. She tells me, laughing, that this is usually an „evening” activity while watching the news.

Elena Neagu inspires you, gives you confidence, astonishes you and cheers you at the same time. I feel this after only two meetings with her. Can you figure it out how much I can discover about her and her work in a long time?
If you are curious, you can go through Malancrav and ask about her. You have all the chances to find her in the village, next to her colleagues and girlfriends, all working on embroidering fabrics and crocheting future plans for the community development.

Foto credit: Vlad Dumitrescu