Transcarpathian craftsmen visited the neighbouring county of Hungary at the end of November in order to become familiar with the works of the local craftsmen and share their experiences. The participants included such masters, who develop and pass the special secrets of folk arts on to the future generation: coopers, potters, embroiderers, weavers, souvenir makers.
The event was realized within the framework of the project titled „Promotion of folk-arts and handicrafts in Carpathian Euroregion HUSKROUA/1101/163”. Its aim is to maintain and develop the ancient crafts and traditions in the border region.
A three-day program was waiting for the participants of the trip. The first stop was at Beregdaróc village, where the local artisans prepare gifts and everyday objects from hemp. Unfortunately, this traditional material used for weaving is not poular in Ukraine. In contrast, the industrial hemp is cultivated, and wonderful gifts - towels, tablecloths and even souvenirs – are made from it. A museum has been set up in the Hungarian borderland village, where one can see old wooden loom, most of which are still functioning. The local master Sukta Bertalanné presented a product show and the adventurers could try weaving or could produce gift items – woven flowers.
In the village of Tarpa Zsigmond Nagy farmer and entrepreneur presented the shop of local products (dried fruit, brandy, crockery), as well the operation of the huge fruit dryer, where pear, apple and plums are dried. The mayer of the village warmly welcomed the guests, he presented the local crafts and the settlement. The guest visited an absolute legal distillery – where fruit brandies are produced, which is considered to be a traditional Hungarian product and hungaricum at the same time, which is nothing more than the tourism symbol of the country.
The Transcarpathian delegation visited the Lekvárium at Penyige village – it is the plum jam museum. From here comes the plum, which is the base for jams, marmalades, compotes and alcoholic beverages. This plum is grown in significant areas – including Hungary, Romania and Transcarpathia. The name of the plum in Hungary is the so-called „do not know” plum. According to the legend, when buyers visited the village and asked for the plum type, they received this response from the local residents. The mayer of the village, Gyula Juhász and the director of the museum, Katalin Kőrösi presented a lecture about the local handicrafts and the tourism development. It is important to note that Penyige is that settlement, where the festival of local folk art products has been held three years ago, where all craftsmen of the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county participate. The idea to organize this festival came from Árpád Hanusz, the head of the Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg County Village Tourist Association, who is a partner in the given project. The Transcarpathian craftsmen were invited to the next festival traditionally held in August.
It was very interesting that in several settlements, mainly in villages, are the so-called „heritage houses”. The typical unique products are prepared here – embroideries, woven fabrics, toys, souvenirs, etc. Similar one is in the village of Penyige. Often unemloyed people carry out different traditional activities and receive payment for their work. This method helps to preserve the folk traditions in the settlements with the financial support from the Hungarian state. The guests met the local craftsmen in the village of Tivadar, where such embroideries decorated the room, which are very similar to the motifs used in Transcarpathia. It is not surprising, as the region, although nowadays is seperated by state border, but historically is the same.
The next workshop was held in the village of Apagy, where the local colleagues presented a product show – how to weave basket and prepare souvenirs for Christmas and New Year. Here the Transcarpathian masters could present their science – including Oleksandr Dvorak young and talented potter from Irshava. The characteristics of the Hungarian folk artists’ work were presented by the local craftsmen, who produce different folk art products from straw, twig and leather.
The trip continued in the Tokaj region, where the participants could learn about the wine making traditions. Géza Rozsnyai winemaker master presented the interests of wine making including a wine tasting. The last stop of the trip was – the Sóstói Museum Village in Nyíregyháza. Here, at the territory of the museum, there are those craft workshops, which worked at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the twentieth century in Hungary.
The various craft scenes can be found among them – the workshops of coopers, furriers, bakers, photographers and hairdressers. It is interesting that this workshops are operational – for example, those, who visit the open-air museum, can try the traditional gingerbread-making and can bake them in the local oven. In particular, it is a very popular activity for children. Adults can learn about the barrel making process, as well the traditional method of material painting.
Three days passed so quickly. Our craftsmen visited a number of interesting places. The Hungarian collegues will visit them soon. József Trapai, the director of the Ukrainian-Hungarian Regional development Centre said, that a professional publication is prepared about the craftsmen of Transcarpathia and Hungary within the framework of the project. They will participate together at the festival of local folk art products in Penyige, where the results of the project will be summerized.
Dr. Árpád Hanusz, Hungarian tourism expert said that the most important thing in the life of a person is to pass the gained experiences on to the future generation. This and the preservation of the craft traditions is the motto of the given international project.