Costumes and contrasts -a personal insight

Contrasts are everywhere in Slovakia…

I was  part of the group of Both participants who travelled to Slovakia to join with Icelandic and Slovak textile artists on a very full programme of cultural exchange  and textile technique exchanges.

I will over the next month share with you the many experiences and opportunities this visit made possible.

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The visits to many wonderful museums to view folk costumes and handle some of these precious pieces of folk art was excellent but somehow it was tempered by the contrasts that many Slovak textile artists have to live with.

One of the starkest of this was Vapenik village and the work of JAMARO keeping and popularising folk costume and the skills to create them and the nearby ‘Death Valley’

The battle of the Dukla Pass was the scene of bitterly contested battle on the Eastern Front of World War II . Fought between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1944   on the borderland between Poland and Slovakia

Cattle feeding amongst the metal war machines

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The tanks of cold metal and the death of 30,000 men in just 3 days and all these years of sunlight and growth later I am standing here watching a butterfly land on a killing machine.

In the barley strips are  growing many wild flowers  ,the red poppy being just one of many. There are potatoes growing too despite the colorado beetles on their leaves and I wonder at the fertility of the soil being feed by the lifeblood of all those men.

Feeding the living that have seen many changes since recent release from the iron grip of communism . Just 15 years is the time for the new sons of the state to mature and re find their Slavic roots through song and dance and costume.

The world is changing and quickly paced for a deeply devout nation and when the gilded churches no longer hold the strings of morality what then?

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A child plays on a remnant of war in a Svidnik park

What will this new generation have to believe in if not themselves and the ways of their forefathers.



I am but a quiet witness to these changes. My heart will speak where my words are not of that language.

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The joy of dance and laughter

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