Udruga Škrinjica hrvatski jezik
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An insight to "Skrinjica"

"Škrinjica" is an organization of aficionados, admirers of tradition and handicraft who want to prevent from oblivion the knowledge and skills of our grandparents, known and unknown, craftsmen and craftswomen, and keep them for our children, grandchildren and grand grandchildren. We work through workshops: gold embroidery, necanje , weaving, decorating of squashes, ceramics, and pottery. In year and a half, 250 attendants have passed through our workshops. Every workshop has its team leader, master of the craft, who is willing to pass on all the secrets and skills. We have only about 30 members, but active and concerted. We organize themed workshops as well: Christmas and Easter workshops, ducat binding, making of lots of soup noodles , making dolls out of corn leaves and stem, cooking of home made soap, making decorations out of pasta, ...


On Fridays the members gather on the "prelo" evenings. Then the people enjoy together in the evening and each other's company, and they do stuff together, grandmothers, mothers, and those for who we do this - OUR CHILDREN.
Our organization is situated in the birth house of Ivan Kozarac. It is located in the most šokadian area of Vinkovci, on the Krnjaš, near the Merava river and the lazy but beloved river Bosut.


We are admirers, but we are moving forwards. It is our wish to modernize tradition, to transfer old samples and motives onto new ones, to use it as wearable and usable, and preserve the identity. "To be new, but to be one selves" - such, approximately, could be our slogan as well.

A Story About Tatting

One day our friend Kaja arrived at "Škrinjica" with a plastic tatting shuttle that she was flipping with seemingly magical abilities among her ten fingers, creating the most unusual, beautiful, and unfamiliar new lace.

 

Everybody had questions..."How do you make that? When and where did she learn it? Will she show it to us? May I try it out immediately?..."

Kaja explained to us that she had learned it more then 30 years ago, as a young "snaša" (married woman) from a lady that returned to Đeletovci from America after WWII. She had brought with her a metal tatting shuttle with a little hook that was used to connect the lace.

We immediately began to search for these tatting shuttles for our group. Kaja allowed me to photograph her shuttle which I sent off to my sister, Verica, now living in America in hopes that she could find out where we could get these magnificent devices.

My sister showed the photograph to our dear friend Amy, an American "snaša", who recognized the shuttle from her grandmother who used to do tatting as well. She was very happy to hear that we had decided to include tatting in our work and revive this very old art. She was able to find just the right shuttles for us and sent them via my sister when she came for a visit.

I was excited to see my sister and to take over the tiny package containing the shuttles. I spent some time researching various sources on the Internet in order to learn the required techniques and was confident that I had mastered it. However, when I showed my efforts to Marija Novak, another member of our group, she told me that I had it all backwards, and that the thread has to be flipped differently - as we say it has to "click". Only then was I able to say that I finally understood how to do tatting.

Marija was very persistent and tried to learn all the possible tatting techniques. She sat for hours with Kaja showing her the steps: "Here, do this, see, and then that..." She also searched the Internet to learn as much as possible. By the time that I arrived back with the shuttles, Marija had completely mastered tatting techniques and she and I immediately began to instruct the others in the group.

I really liked the lace and I spent a lot of time trying out tatting technique on tablecloths, handkerchiefs and so on, some projects requiring the use of two shuttles simultaneously. Marija also was experimenting and came one day with a necklace that she made herself based on instructions that she found on the Internet. She showed the finished example to all of us and we were all completely thrilled. Everyone was excited to learn, work, and invent our own creations ranging from wristbands to necklaces to earrings. I made a few rosaries with two shuttles and small beads.

After a few months, my dear friend Amy sent us a set of new shuttles as well as diplomas for each of us that had mastered the skills. I am very happy to say that everyone from our youngest honorary member, 9 year old Helena, to our oldest grandmother, Vinka (90 years) received diplomas for learning the tatting skills. The diplomas were handed out that same evening we received them. We took a group picture showing all of our members proudly holding up our diplomas and everybody was very happy.

Thanks to Ms. Slavica Musa, we can proudly say that our tatting works were presented at a convention in the United Arab Emirates as well as a Health Convention in Vinkovci in 2008. This presentation of our work attracted a lot of attention and brought us many interested women wanting to learn the tatting technique.

I am also happy that we received an invitation from the elementary school in Vođinci, to show their teachers and children what we do. Thanks to Ms. Marija Levanić, we visited the school several times and held a workshop.

In February this year we had a visit from the Croatian Television (HTV). They made a documentary about our club and it was shown on National TV on March 3rd, 2009 in order to preserve our work for future generations.

 

Although it was not common practice, there were a few women in Croatia who knew how to do tatting and they used many of the same techniques we learned in this region. We discovered through our group member, Maja Salaj, that tatting was known to Croatia at least some 50 years ago. She brought in some old lace that her grandmother had made and we estimated that it was done between 1950-1960. We are still researching the history of this technique in our country.

 

Tatting has strengthened our friendships and taught us that anyone can learn something new and teach others as well. As far as we know, we are the only club in Croatia that is dedicated to this kind of handiwork and it is our pleasure to know that these skills that we are learning and teaching will be preserved and not be forgotten.

 

N.K.