5th weavers’ colony, which was held from August 4 to 7 in Dojkinci on Stara Planina, gathered excellent weavers from Pancevo, Sremska Mitrovica, Bela Palanka, Loznica, Belgrade and Stapar near Sombor. Due to the epidemiological situation and imposed measures, a smaller number of weavers participated in the colony, but with participation of the wife of the US Ambassador to Serbia, Anne Godfrey, as one of the weavers the colony is said to be international.
Canadian Ambassador Kati Csaba and Mrs. Godfrey, tried kilim weaving on looms in Stara planina so that they could authentically talk about weaving as a demanding skill that preserves the identity and heritage of our country written in kilim motifs.
Ms. Godfrey encountered weaving for the first time and wants to master it because she values the cultural heritage and handicrafts of women from Serbia with whom she connected with in the colony. She comes from Ireland and is a crafter herself / she knits, sews and makes quilts, and is fascinated by Pirot kilims that are identical on both sides and have over 100 motifs.
Pirot kilim, as a national brand and the women who weave it with dedication, left a strong impression on Ambassador Csaba. “These are unique handicrafts that testify to the rich cultural heritage of a country. Coming from Canada as a country of immigrants, I appreciate the preservation of tradition even more, and we gladly support such manifestations because they contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women," she said.
President of Ethno Network, Violeta Jovanović, points out that the patronage and support by the embassies of Canada and the USA to weavers’ colonies speak clearly of the attention by development agencies and diplomats for preservation of heritage as a driver of socio-economic development.
“This shows that our handicrafts have a perspective in both tourism and economic terms and that is why they need state support to secure a salary from crafts through the placement of handicrafts as business gifts and tourist products”, said Jovanovic and added that the first step would be to adopt the law on crafts followed by introduction of the institute of guardian of tradition and the opening of ethno galleries in tourist centers.
Diplomats and national media who visited the colony, visited the Momcilov grad fortress, the cultural center in Dojkinci, Tupavica waterfall and took amazing photos at the bottom of the dried sea in Slavinje gorge, with a well-deserved lunch at Vrelo and getting to know Stara Planina gastronomy. All colony participants successfully mastered the task and wove pieces with a sovra motif. Certificates and recognitions for the participants were awarded in the presence of the Ambassador of Argentina, who came with his wife to visit Pirot and the colony. Recognitions of the expert commission were awarded to Olga Žolnai Jokanović from Pančevo and Jelena Alargić from Sremska Mitrovica, for the best hand-woven piece and for color innovativeness. The third recognition for the exceptional skill shown during the colony, more than deservedly went to Mrs. Godfrey, who in just a few days mastered the basics of weaving and managed to weave her sofra piece in the colony. The weavers and guests left Stara Planina, intending to soon return as tourists.