straw into gold
September 22, 2010 11:23 AM   Subscribe

The Serbian folk tradition of weaving and shaping straws of wheat, by artists who call themselves straw-girls (slamarke divojke), is showcased in the trailer for Branko Istvancic's documentary film "From Grain To Painting"

All around the world, artists work with straw. The straw-girls create many beautiful works of art.
via: All Things Paper
posted by various (5 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Part of a 1971 documentary, Slamarke Divojke is on YouTube, but the video quality is so poor that the subtitles are often illegible. part 1, part 2
posted by various at 11:24 AM on September 22, 2010

As an obsessive fan of Balkan folkloric traditions, I love this. Thank you.
posted by mykescipark at 11:38 AM on September 22, 2010

This is actually more of a Croatian folk tradition that somehow lived on primarily in the Croat-minority parts of northern Serbia (largely the parts of Serbia that used to be part of Hungary). The situation there is pretty analogous to the way that many Hungarian folk traditions survive best not in Hungary, but in the Hungarian-majority areas inside Romania or Slovakia.

These Croatian women seem to me to have taken the art form to the highest level. Similar, but inferior, straw-art exists in Ukraine, Serbia, Bosnia, Hungary, Macedonia, Russia and many other places . . . but considering that the Serbs living in the same areas as the "straw girls" tried (and often succeeded) to kill them and deny their culture just a few years ago, it's a little disheartening seeing this truly Croatian art be described wrongly as "Serbian".
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:46 AM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

As part on my (dim and distant) rural English childhood, mum got us all to make corn dollies (as at your 'artists' link) one harvest time and the somewhat mixed results (mine letting the side down, mostly) are still hanging on her kitchen wall all these years later. None of us on a par with some of these fine examples though. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
posted by Abiezer at 12:52 PM on September 22, 2010

Thank you for the clarification Dee Xtrovert.
posted by various at 2:21 PM on September 22, 2010

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