When we went to Tkački dvor (Weaving Court) in the village of Rakari in the municipality of Mionica, our expectations were no different from the usual ones: we will see the house where Mrs. Zagorka Stojanović weaves, we will talk to her, she will tell her about ideas, plans, how many people come here, where she came from to Rakari , bearing in mind that she is an artist from Belgrade…
However, in the first few seconds, we realized that the energy and inspiration of the artist is much greater and completely different from what is usual. And that it gives additional inspiration to the one who writes.
“People grow old at the door when they stop falling in love.” This is written on Zagorka’s door. Although age does not matter, everyone would like to have such spirit and strength at her age.
The Weaving court is actually Zagorka’s house and it is a special privilege to have her open the doors of her home to tourists. On the table under the eaves there is homemade sweet and spicy brandy, a service for every guest. A beautiful Šumadija (a part of Serbia) custom.
– When a person is young, he or she travels the world, when they get old, they travel by themselves, in his or her interior. I was lucky to travel halfway around the world until I was thirty, and that shaped me. Now I have chosen to be at peace, right here in the village. I fell in love with Rakari as soon as I came here and it is so beautiful for me here, that I can’t imagine that there is a place that would be more beautiful for me than this – says Zagorka.
She is an artist, costume designer and master of weaving. She moved from Belgrade to this village near Mionica, and the house and property she bought were once neglected and in complete ruin. Now it’s a little paradise.
– It was love at first sight. What euphoria! I am happy that I had the opportunity to take care of everything. The picture best shows how it used to be and how it is now. It is not known which season is the most beautiful here, everyone has their own uniqueness and I enjoy each one equally – says Zagorka, showing us what her house looked like before she took care of it.
The room where she weaves is full of wool and thread, spools. Everything is colorful and cheerful. Each rug has its own soul, its own story. One of the most striking is the woven icon of Christ with golden threads. Divine.
– Every icon has a gold background, but no one has woven icons, I called it icono-weaving. I was thinking about how to achieve that sifting effect, and if it weren’t woven with just gold thread, then it would be stiff and hard. So I put only one thin gold thread and thus got a shimmer – the artist reveals.
The rhythm of weaving tends to slow down, she says, and unlike the everyday life of modern skills, here one strives for calmness, concentration, slowness.
The thread is arranged one by one and the hands must be calm, committed. And he thinks too – he says as he shows the upright loom.
As a combination of fashion and tradition, Zagorka created a line of hats called “chic shaykachas” (shaykacha is a serbian traditional hat).
– Like weaving and knitting, they are a kind of our tradition and it is very important that we know how to recognize, respect and nurture our tradition. Tradition is important for our survival and we should not be afraid of globalization if we have a strong tradition. And we must never lose it in a sea of insignificance. My chic shaykachas are for the 21st century. It is important to me that they are accepted by young people because I do not want young people to think that they are worn by toothless idiots and that they have resistance because of that untruth – says Zagorka.
And they are diverse and beautiful.
Various materials, colors, sizes. She wears one herself. And it’s so chic.
– When people come to me, I want them to be relaxed, joyful, to get out of here in a better mood. My concept of demetropolisation of culture is here. And I like to show people how it is possible to live in one place outside the city, where there is silence, where there is no noise, where there are not many people and civilization, and there is no pain, there is enjoyment, peace and joy. Because the joy is in ourselves.
– People in Serbia are somewhat frowning, dissatisfied, unhappy… And look, it is not difficult to be happy. The village is the final path of my life and it brought me happiness, but I must also say this: Every day is a small life. And that’s how you should live. Not to look at the past or the future, but to live in the present – says Zagorka.
People are informed about her Weaving Court via the Internet, through texts, social networks, and announcements on the website of the Mionica Tourist Organization.
The good thing is that the municipality of Mionica provided me with signposts and now it is much easier for people to find a way. A lot of them come when they visit Vrujci Spa, it’s close from there – says Zagorka.
It is a special pleasure to watch the interior of her Weaving Yard. It exudes positive energy because it has a handful of little things of cheerful colors and corners with various decorations.
– I put everything I get on the wall or exhibit, because I like to see things and objects around me, and not to hide them from my eyes and from myself. I don’t need an inch of a free wall anymore! Here, I have a shrine in which all the guests put a piece of paper on which to write their wish, and I pray under the linden tree that all wishes come true – Zagorka says cheerfully.
She has a lot of friends and loves to hang out.
– I am a person who lives with the people. When I celebrate my birthday, in July, on Saint Johns Day, at least 70 people come to celebrate with me. Most of them were there when I celebrated my 80th birthday. Since then I know how old I am (laughs). Then my friend wove a huge wreath of flowers and I wore it on my head all day. It was beautiful – she recalls as he shows us the photographs.
Smiling, energetic, cheerful, full of inspiring stories, Zagorka will be happy to welcome everyone who comes to Rakari to her Weaving Yard, and she says she is not charging people to get in.
– It’s not all about the money. Socializing and joy have no price. Handke says that joy is the only right power. When a person stops rejoicing, he stops living. And fear? Fear is just a thought – she concludes.
This text is part of the project “Mionica, the beauty you must see”, and was co-financed by the Municipality of Mionica.
(Come to Serbia)