The modern world is full of disposable things. Mobile phones that go to the trash heap after the first breakdown, vacuum cleaners for which it is impossible to buy a new filter, T-shirts that lose their shape after the first wash, not to mention disposable dishes and plastic bags. It seems that this dominance also determines human relationships, which often become “disposable”, but the Greeks stubbornly resist this general trend, abandoning cocktail straws, for example, or plastic bags. With mother’s milk, they absorb respect for the core values – be it the generosity of the land, family relationships, or the skills bequeathed by grandmothers.
“We, the weavers of the Aretousa weaving workshop, grew up on the heritage of the loom. We grew up surrounded by yarn, and we were lulled by the rhythm of the shuttles and the song of the shafts’ rumblings,” write masters of Aretousa workshop in the town of Archanes (16 km from Heraklion, Crete). The shops and markets are full of textiles. Buy if necessary. But the “song” of grandmother’s loom calls out. “While attending weaving lessons, we took it upon ourselves to preserve the tradition of Cretan weaving. Gradually, we pulled the old looms out of the attics to reanimate them.” “Weaving lessons” were held not only in classrooms. The main teachers were the very same grandmothers in Archanes, who suggested how to set up looms, to prepare yarn, including the one from old things made from natural fabrics.
After seven years of hard work and searching, the Aretousa workshop was opened in Archanes, where amazing things are done today on 80- and 100-year-old machines: rugs, bags, backpacks, pillows, laptop covers. Look at the Aretousa Facebook page. Every thing is unique, and each one keeps the warmth of the craftswomen’s hands!
Have you already been to Archanes? Did you not climb the sacred mountain Juktas, at the foot of which is this town, and haven’t seen performances at the stone amphitheater on Fourni Hill as well as not tasted the local wine made from a special rozakia grape variety?
Tey say that Epano Archanes (Upper Arhanes) is one of the most authentic settlements of Old Crete. Houses on cozy streets, buried in flowers and grapes, have been restored with meticulous precision, painted in different colors and surrounded by well-tended courtyards. This is the result of the municipality’s program for the restoration of old buildings as well as the efforts of residents who love their land and sacredly cherish the heritage of their ancestors. Another convincing proof of this is the Aretousa weaving workshop.
“Maria, you are an enchantress!”, “stunningly unique and timeless!” write in the comments grateful buyers to the master of Aretousa Maria Korasani. We, too, agree with them. To create such things, there is not enough to have respect for old traditions and to work hardly – you also need talent and ability to link old traditions, and modernity. “Textiles are not as simple as some people might think – there are many secrets and techniques in it,” writes Maria Korasani. «Every day I never stop looking for and studying textile techniques. This training does not end, and there is a magic…”
Also a magic is in how to make from old jeans a sea on a rug, and how customers can choose the colors they like, and then will receive a new wicker bag in this color palette.
“Maria, you are the most beautiful!” – Fans of the craftswoman write in the comments. They are confident that such amazing things can be created only by a beautiful person. If you are in Crete, do not forget to make sure of this by looking at the Aretousa workshop in Arhanes to the artist Maria Korasani, who gives new life to old things and decorates the world according to the behests of grandmothers.
In the meantime, getting ready for a trip, you can look at the Aretousa Facebook page to make sure that we do not deceive you.
By the way, the said page explains: “Our workshop informs you that it works online and by phone (6972215523) for your purchases.”
By Svetlana Zaitseva