Tag Archives: artisan

The People of Maramureș

People of Maramureș - A Journey into the Last Living Museum of Europe
People of Maramureș – A Journey into the Last Living Museum of Europe
click on the photo to access the pdf book

It is more than seven years now since I and my wife Cristina undertook our month-long trip to Maramureș. Ever since, I wanted to publish a book about the region, focusing on its people and its artists. At the time – 2009 – there were very few photography books on the region, albeit some of the very best (“Maramureș”, by a Maramureș loving Japanese who discovered the region by accident, during communist times –  Miya Kosei – which I regard as the most beautiful and sincere photography book about the region, as well as “Maramures: The Land of Wood“, the beautiful black and white photography of Ana Bârcă).
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A Maramureș legend has left us

2016 started on a sad note. Godja Pătru Pupăză, a fable like character, passed away on 3 January. He was 81 years old.

I met the artist in the summer of 2009, at his home in Valea Stejarului. Those were very happy times. He was surrounded by his family, his son-in-law was carving a Maramureș cross “troiță”, his nephew was strolling around, at times making attempts to help his father chisel the wooden cross, despite the fact that he had yet to learn to speak.

Godja Patru Pupaza, Godja Pătru Pupăză, Sat Valea Stejarului, Village, Maramures, Transylvania, Romania, wood carving, arts, artist, artisan, artizan, living human treasures, artisans, artists, traditional, old, artizanat, traditional, mestesuguri, meșteșuguri
Godja Pătru Pupăză with his daughter, son-in-law and nephew. The artist did not have sons, but his son-in-law is a skilled wood-carver, too, preserving the wood carving tradition in the artist’s family.

Continue reading A Maramureș legend has left us

Tănase Burnar – Dacian pottery is well and alive and the maker is in the Săcel village

 In Săcel, another wonder has survived the centuries: unglazed, red ceramic pottery. It is the only place in Romania where unglazed red pottery is still produced. The family of Tănase Burnar of Săcel has been making ceramic ware for more than eleven generations. The technique is the same as the one in the prehistoric La Tène period in Dacia, using a very unique, greasy type of clay found in the area at 12 to 15 meters depth in the hills near the village.

Tanase Burnar, Sacel, Maramures, Pottery, Traditions, people, living treasures, old, ceramics, Transylvania, Romania, Transilvania, Săcel, Maramureș, olarit, ceramica, ceramica nesmaltuita, caramică nesmălțuită
Tănase Burnar working in his workshop in the Săcel Village

Continue reading Tănase Burnar – Dacian pottery is well and alive and the maker is in the Săcel village

Godja Pătru Pupăză of Valea Stejarului – a fable like character, wood carver and maker of all things small and big


Godja Pătru Pupăză from Valea Stejarului (once a standalone village, now part of Sighetu Marmaţiei) is renowned for his wood carving skills  one can see his wood-made commemorative crosses, the troiţe, in many Romanian communities abroad. Besides crosses and gates, he creates small decorative objects, which impress through craftsmanship. 

Godja Patru Pupaza, Valea Stejarului, Sighetu Marmatiei, wood carving, artist, artisan, crafts, traditions, people, living treasures, Maramures, Transylvania, Romania, sculpting, troita, wood crosses, wood gates
I first met the artist Godja Pătru Pupăză at Tânjaua de la Hoteni back in 2009. Here he is pictured with his magic staff which hides a narrow neck bottle of pălinca in its upper end

Maria Pipaș from the Tisa Village – a living repository of the art of traditional wool carpet making

Nicolae and Maria Pipaş need no introduction in the art loving circles. The initiated traveling to Sighetu Marmaţiei spares no effort to visit the Pipaş Museum, truly a collection of several museums, an impressive repository of old traditional art of Maramureş, of works by prominent Romanian painters and engravers, of carpets, ceramics, furniture, lace and more.

Maria Pipas, Nicolae Pipas, Pipas Museum, Sighetu Marmatiei, Sat Tisa, Maramures, Transylvania, Romania, carpet weaving, arts, living human treasures, artisans, artists, traditional, old, Maria Pipaș, Nicolae Pipaș, embroidery, artizanat, traditional, mestesuguri, culori vegetale
Maria Pipaș weaving at her home in the Șugătag Village, Maramureș

Vasile Şuşcă – the merry artist of masks, joy and all things hillarious

I first met Vasile Şuşcă in May 2009, at a traditional festival in the Hoteni village. I had known him and his his masks from pictures; even so, it was hard to recognize him: his rich, proverbial mustache wasn’t there anymore. Less than a month later, I paid him a visit inside his artistic den, a former grain millhouse abutting a river bed by now dried out for more than a couple of decades.

Vasile Susca, Sacel, Maramures, Transylvania, Romania, masks, traditions, people, living treasures, crafts, old, traditional, artists, Romanian
Vasile Șușcă in his artistic den in Săcel Village, Maramureș