Latvia / European Arts and Crafts days

Posted by Stephanie on Oct 23, 2012 in News | No Comments

Meet your craftsman!
March 30, 31 and April 1, the Centre for Arts Education and Intangible Heritage (CAEIH) of Latvia is organizing the event “Meet your craftsman!”, during which the regions of Latvia have been invited to hold open workshops, individual activities, hands-on lessons, crafts demonstrations and concerts, public talks and discussions. In order to find and meet the craftsmen of long-standing traditional skills, schools, cultural centres, museums and libraries were also invited to get involved in the project.
“Meet your craftsman!” is a continuation of the “Traditional Skills School”, within the European project “European Craft Days 2012”. Craftsmen from France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy and Estonia plan to join us in this event.
The realization of “Traditional Skills School” started in the fall of 2009, when in several places across Latvia, master craftsmen offered to acquire long-standing craft skills with their guidance. The project was very successful and continued in the spring of 2010 in Zemgale and Sēlija, in the fall of 2010 in Vidzeme and in the spring of 2011 in Latgale.
The organizers invite craftsmen, who master and practice several intangible cultural heritage skills to apply for the project, “Meet your craftsman!” Legal have also been invited to develop and establish creative partnerships between master craftsmen, the state, the municipality, non-government organizations and the private sector in the conservation of intangible cultural heritage.
In total, almost 100 entries (98) were submitted from all four regions of Latvia for the event “Meet your craftsman!”: Kurzeme – 20, Latgale – 29, Vidzeme – 32, Zemgale -7, Riga – 10.

Prospective participants are mostly masters who have participated in previous skills schools – from the park “Vienkoči” in Līgatne, from the Ludza Craftsmen’s Centre and from Rucava, as well as an historical jewellery master from Ceraukste, a double mitten knitter from Mazsalaca among others. There are also many entries from national decorative arts studios. However, we are delighted that folk ensembles have also become more active, applying to participate in the event – the musical group from Salnava will teach how to play instruments and make music, the youth folk ensemble from Upītes will teach northern Latgalian dancing, and in Riga, the Rīga Dance Club will teach traditional folk dancing.
This time, guided by the event regulations, some interesting opportunities for cooperation have developed between various organizations and master craftsmen. The result of the cooperation between a barrel maker and the Preiļi Museum of History and Applied Arts is both the creation of an exhibition and the making of a film about the work of a barrel maker. The event participants will also have the opportunity to acquire barrel making skills in the craftsman’s own workshop.
There are many entries from music and art schools that have invited craftsmen into their classrooms to demonstrate their skills.
When referring to “craftsmen of traditional skills” in Europe, they are often understood as artisans. In Latvia, however, we (CAEIH) are organizing these days on a broader scale, involving both artisans and masters of national decorative arts, as well as other expressions of intangible cultural heritage such as music making, storytelling, traditional singing and traditions based on nature and the universe (sauna rituals).
The event aims to promote the conservation of Latvian cultural heritage, to highlight craftsmen and their unique skills, as well as to strengthen the awareness of our identity and worth, creating a platform for new and modern partnerships.

For more information about the project see the Cultural Heritage section of the CAEIH web page