Embroidered Map of Bulgaria Combines Beauty and Talent

Банско – шевици – карта на България
Photo: БТА

Embroidered Map of Bulgaria Combines Beauty and Talent

Bansko, Southwestern Bulgaria, August 7 (Emil Mihailov of BTA) - Zdravka Tsvetkova is a civil engineer, but like many other Bulgarian women and a true native of Bansko, she has inherited a penchant for doing needlework and creating beauty by the standards passed on from mother to daughter.

To Zdravka, this is something that comes from within. She calls it an urge of the soul. "It just can't be any other way," the Banskian asserts. It is easy to believe her, because she has embroidered a map of Bulgaria which took her six months to complete. The map is currently on display in an exhibition called "Bulgarian Embroidery - a Code, a Spark, a Tradition," which has been staged at the House of Arts in Bansko and has attracted the attention of Bulgarians and foreigners alike. The event has been organized under the Made in Bulgaria Programme to coincide with the Bansko International Jazz Festival.

Zdravka says: "The embroidered map of Bulgaria is my most beautiful and inspiring work so far. I made it the way I felt it ought to be made. I studied the types of stitches and the regional characteristics of the whole variety of traditional Bulgarian embroideries. I read all the literature I could find. But I certainly can't claim all the credit. I just can't. It was a collective effort of the members and enthusiasts of the Sedyanka Society. We recently celebrated six years since the establishment of our society."

"These are 5,000 wonderful women," Zdravka goes on to say. They all rummaged through their grandmothers' clothes and photographed the treasures they found there. They toured museums and popular conventions, taking pictures and sharing everything among themselves. The result was a precious collection.

Speaking about the art of embroidery, Zdravka notes: "We didn't invent it, it comes from ancient times. It is an expression of the Bulgarian women's thirst for beauty and love." She says that in the past there was a distinguished embroidery expert, Mara Kolarova, who travelled across Bulgaria to seek out authentic embroidery patterns and reproduce them herself. Kolarova staged 67 exhibitions.

Zdravka could speak for hours about the embroidery patterns typical of each ethnographic region in Bulgaria, about the symbolic meaning of various figures and signs, and the stories and legends associated with them.

Source: Bansko, Southwestern Bulgaria