|co/rizom incubator is guiding amazing artisans, designers and business professionals in developing their collections for a global audience.|
focus on series will allow you to get to know better the people behind the PODs.
This edition is dedicated to Chairs for Băbeni: The main goal of the chairs collection is to bring the Romanian classical wooden three-legged stool into a contemporary context. Created by Nicu Drăgan, a craftsman from Vâlcea, Romania, the chairs are complemented by a series of pillows designed by Wiener Times and crafted by Zestrea – an artisan community from Beiuș, Romania.
|Nicu Drăgan (or Bebe for friends) learned the craft from his family and this is now the main source of income for him, his wife and their two children. When he has more work, the whole family contributes to supporting the craft process. He is a man who respects and appreciates very much what he does and likes challenges, such as redesigning the classical three-legged stool.|
|Ana Florea is a teacher and a mother. She has worked in education for 20 years and dedicated all her free time to volunteering and doing extracurricular educational activities. Since 2017 she has had her own small ceramic workshop opened in her family’s yard. She also coordinates Zestrea Beiuș – a craft community working with thread, woven cloth and embroidery.|
How did you start working as an artisan?
As a child, I was curious and talented. I always liked to draw, especially on walls and was attracted to hand-crafting. While preparing to become a teacher I was forced to explore the limits of my creativity, looking for new methods and means to carry out my activity with children.
Living in the countryside, I was always in the presence of the traces left by grandparents, great-grandparents, traditions and the intangible heritage of the rural community. A few years ago, the family decided to open a pottery workshop. It was a perfect opportunity to set up a business that would supplement the family’s income. For me, however, it was a challenge of a different nature. I was put in the situation of learning a craft that is no longer practised in the area. I started with zero knowledge but with an open heart and a curious mind.
All these things, combined, fueled my desire to learn new things, to create and pass on what I learned. I don’t like to say that I am an artisan – it seems to me that I still have a long way to go until I get there. I try to improve myself every day and I stubbornly move forward as I think I still have a lot to learn.
What does the word craft bring to mind?
When I think of crafts, I think of talent and the incredible ability to transform matter. Regardless of whether it is a piece of soil or a thread of wool, artisans have the ability to make magic using simple things.
Describe the co/rizom incubator in 3 words:
I would like it to be so simple that I can only choose a few words to describe the experience. The co/rizom incubator was an extraordinary chance: it was a lesson, a challenge and an opportunity.
What is an emotion related to this collection?
Hope and pride – this is what I feel.
| Victor Dulgheru has a wide experience in the product development of household objects and home decor, handmade in underprivileged communities in Romania.|
What is the biggest challenge in the design process?
The biggest challenge is the unique shape of the chair, the thickness of the material and the drying process, especially since the wood is dried in a natural environment. We will have to be very careful about the size and shape of the product because the pillows must fit perfectly on the top of the finished chair.
Can you describe the material in 3 words?
Beautiful, alive, necessary.
What would be the dream, professionally speaking?
To reach a market that appreciates the craft. They will receive our products with curiosity about the community and the people who produce them.