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Fw: [Slovak-World] Re: Slovak Folk dress and Slovakia's Treasures!

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  • Fred G Kovalyak
    Great story Helene, I am sharing it with Relatives and Friends as I have with your Great Book Treasures of Slovakia . Hope to take another of your Treasure
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2009
      Great story Helene, I am sharing it with Relatives and Friends as I have with your Great Book
      "Treasures of Slovakia". Hope to take another of your "Treasure Tours" again someday with my Daughters.
      FG Kovalyak

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: helene cincebeaux
      To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 18:58:55 -0400 (EDT)
      Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Re: Slovak Folk dress and Slovakia's Treasures!

      Dear Ben - that is like asking which is your favorite child - each one is so unique. I do love the pieces that have a personal touch - a date embroidered in among the flowers; initials on the elaborately embroidered wedding bed covers; funky pink rabbits on an apron from Ruzbachy; fir trees, fertility symbols and stick figures of men and women on the older aprons from Horehronie; initials and cats on aprons from Myslava near Kosice; Adam and Eve picking apples off the tree of knowledge on men's shirts from Helpa; beaded headdresses from Hont that have magnificent blue, purple and silver color schemes; the amazing gold and silver embroidery from the villages around Trnava; the goddess motif and solar symbols that decorate Spis aprons; the beaded vests from Orava which show the rare flower that only grows there in the high mt.meadows; the magnificent batik or blueprint that was made in workshops throughout Slovakia; only in Slovakia and Moravia wast
      double sided - different prints on either side - no one today knows how this was done or if they do know they won't tell.

      Slovak folk dress is so special because these beautiful and enduring pieces were made with so much love, often embroidered by the light of kerosene lamps after the women had worked all day in the fields; and the super sheepskin appliqued vests and coats made by men who were master makers; and the hand-made leather boots with charming cutout work and tassels; the spectacular filigreed brooches and buttons; the big dramatic hand felted men's hats;elaborate wedding headdresses in Levice like a silver wedding cake, in Vazec like a huge sunburst, in Liptov like a flying nun - the flaps could go up, down, bent - they had a meaning from newlywed to nursing mother.

      Slovakia is one of the few places in the world where colored lace was made and seven different types of lace can be found here. I visited lace makers in remote villages and they gave me their patterns and their charming hand-carved bobbins that were often made as love tokens - carved by a young swain and given to his beloved.

      I will never forget the lace pillow with its 100 plus individually carved bobbins and multicolor designs coming to life on it that was on the front step of the outbuilding the pigs were in in a tiny village in Novohrad..

      oh I could go on and on - Slovakia is a treasure house of folk dress - so incredibly varied over the last 130 years and constantly changing over the years just as fashions did.

      It is close to the end now - the older people who knew how and made these things are leaving us - and all that is left is a memory of their smiles and joy in what they made.

      But their work lives on and inspires all who come to our exhibits with awe that village people were such artists and created such enduring beauty!

      Working on two projects now - one is an update of the "Slovak Pride" book that will have over 20,000 Slovak surnames and villages, along with coats of arms and old engravings, etc. and the other is a book on Slovak customs and traditions which I have promised to be complete for the big CGSI Conference in Cleveland in mid-October - it will have color on every page and will be a tribute to all the beautiful people of Slovakia who shared their treasures and taught me about the richness of their lives. A book on kroj is 3rd on the to do list, alst but certainly not least!

      I did publish a book in Slovakia in the early 1990s called "Treasures of Slovakia" that had 100 color photos of people and folk dress and customs from across Slovakia that I had captured over some 26 years and visits to some 3,000 villages. It became a photo exhibit too that has been on display in many places in Slovakia and a dozen countries including castles in Italy and in the Sultanate of Oman.

      My great aunt dressed me in her village folk dress when I was 13 - changed my life forever! Then my fate was sealed when I finally made it to Slovakia and found folk dress heaven!!!!! Slovakia is my Shangri-La!!!!

      But that is the beauty of it - it's endless - Slovak songs, music, dances, sayings, stories, traditions, musical instruments, celebrations, all kinds of art from medieval to modern. For such a relatively tiny county it is filled with beauty - the land, the people, the heritage.

      Slava Slovakia!!!!!

      I am getting emotional as this summer marks the 40th year since I first went to Slovakia in 1969 and in June it will be 50 years from the time i looked from the top of Giewont Mt in the Polish Tatras down into the green and lovely land of Slovakia and fell in love forever. (I was chosen to be a part of the first Experiment in International Living Group that went into Poland - in today's global world hard to imagine how remote Poland was in 1959 - behind the Iron Curtain, beyond the pale. We were the first Americans - regular citizens - that were allowed into the country, I lived with a family in Warsaw, almost 15 years after the War there were people living in ruins, bombs were found each day, food was minimal but the people were wonderful - what an eye-opener for a cupcake cheerleader from Syracuse U.)

      When I finally made it to Slovakia ten years later it was like falling into heaven and ever since it has all been magic!!!!!! And then for the past 20 years having fun sharing my favorite places and people in Slovakia and re-connecting people with long-lost family through our Treasures Tours - trips number 65 through 70 will take place this summer. Sure has been fun! Who would ever have imagined it. How privileged i have been to be able to sit in hundreds of cozy kitchens from one end of Slovakia to the other, feasting on rye bread and butter and hearing and the stories! And the over 100 folk festivals we have enjoyed soaking up the music, song, dance and joy! Especially Detva where the bands played in the culture home til dawn and little groups of the "greats' gathered in the vestibule to play and sing; we all stood on chairs and grooved on every note! til they put us out on the street at dawn and we danced some more as the sun peeked over the

      Detva hills..

      And I get to go back to Slovakia and will be there June 11th for another golden summer. Thank you God!


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