IVANEČKI VEZ – authentic embroidery of the municipality of Koprivnički Ivanec

Renata Kotur Jakupić, secretary of the Society of authentic folklore of Koprivnički Ivanec
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A skilled womans hand, a needle and a thread, when being processed with different techniques and stitches make motley unique handicrafts all over the world, but the authentic skill of making the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec and the works of embroiderers from five settlements in the municipality of Koprivnički Ivanec, which is located in the northwest of Croatia, really are unique in the whole world. With small and precise stitches in seven different colours without finished schemes and plans, with special skills and an artistic gift, lively embroidered motives inspired by nature are being made. This embroidery decorates the festive women folk costume and determines the cultural identity of it's heirs. With the introduction, nurture and promotion of the art of making the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec we promote the mobility of cultural values and contribute to knowing and respecting the european uniquenesses and differences.

The motives of the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec used for decorating the folk costumes were created from women's inexhaustible inspiration of their living space and the beauty of their surrounding nature. With time, the skills of the embroiderers and their artistic gift have turned the beauties of nature into more and more beautiful and wealthier motives, which gained their titles after herbal motives, from which the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec drew it's beauty, liveliness and it's uniqueness. With small and precise stitches without any schemes and plans, today, as before, motives inspired by nature and the country life are being made: tulips, roses, lilies, daisies, tendrils, clover, ears, acorn, oak leafs, even "srčeka" – hearts which are symbols of love, and "vurice" – little clocks which are symbols of transience. The embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec is being made on a white homemade linen and cotton canvas or on a black plush, cloth and glot. The embroidery represents the native women festive folk costume from the district of Koprivnički Ivanec and it can also be found on a richly embroidered shirt sleeves, on a toe cap and on the shorter edges of large scarfs. Features of the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec are a resut of the imagination of embroiderers, the way they arrange, interchange, repeat or complement the motives and their selection between seven colours which are being used in the established order and combinations. A strong red colour dominates and gains attention on the embroidery, which is being supported by lively orange, green and purple colours in a contrast with white, blue or black colours. There are no schemes on how to make the embroidery. This unique skill is being transfered from generation to generation, so that girls and young women learn the skill from their mothers and grandmothers or from older women, skilled embroiderers. The folk costume with the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec is today being used in presenting the cultural identity and folk heritage of the residents of Koprivnički Ivanec. Except being used for the making of folk costumes, the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec gains new shapes in the modern times. For example, on the contemporary utilitarian and decorative souvenires, which assures it's survival beyond the folk amaterism. The authentic folk costume and the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec have survived thanks to the activity of the Society of authentic folklore of Koprivnički Ivanec and thanks to the love and unselfishness of the residents of Koprivnički Ivanec, which nurture, protect and transfer their authentic folk costumes, their embroidery and the art of making the embroidery on to younger generations. The Society of authentic folklore of Koprivnički Ivanec is creditable for the protection of the art of making the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec. Members of the society present our heritage with great pride, mainly in their private folk costumes, over one hundred years old, which are hard to fully reconstruct today, especially because the materials and threads from which they were made don't exist any more. That's why the Society of authentic folklore has the goal to make a collection of old original folk costumes, which are fewer and fewer with every day. With our project we want to repurchase, restore and make available to the public the inherited authentic folk costumes with the authentic embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec from private individuals which can't adequately take care of them or don't want to possess them any more. Through our folk amaterism, our goal is to properly take care of the folk costumes and keep them safe for the next generations.

European Dimension

The moto of the Society of authentic folklore of Koprivnički Ivanec is: "love and present yours, get to know and respect others". The Society is active in protection and promotion of the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec, they research and transfer the skill of making the embroidery onto younger generations making it available to the public, they have established many cooperations by organizing events, exhibitions, workshops, trainings and other cultural activities on a local, national and international level. We encourage the mobility of cultural values by promoting our heritage and getting familiar with other cultures in Italy, Austria, Belgium, Latvia and recently in Slovakia together with our partners in the EU project „Europe for citizens“ – Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Through our domestic folk manifestation „Ivanečki kresovi“, which are being held since 1976., and which nurture the cooperation of folk societies on a national and international level, and through our newer manifestation „Ivanečke kresnice“, in the organisation of which, besides our society, is our local comunity also involved, we are becoming more aware of our affiliation to the community and our connection with our heritage, as of the importance of it's preservation for the future generations. In the workshops of making the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec we are actively including our members of the society as well as all other individuals which are interested in our cultural and historical identity. We are especially focused on our young ones and children, who are, through their activities in the society, getting familiar with the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec in their early age. The embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec is a unique resource for creating, making of and selling contemporary objects and souvenires and for the development of cultural tourism. We are financing ourselves from the budget of the municipality of Koprivnički Ivanec, from fees of over one hundred members, from donations from folk value devotees and from different EU, national and local programmes. The public is informed on a regular basis about all of our activities through social networks and through our web page. We are a small community with unique cultural heritage, and with introduction and presentation of the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec we contribute to the promotion and respect of the european uniquenesses as well as diversity. The Republic of Croatia has a significant number of immigrants throughout the European Union which nurture and promote the culture of their native country in which they often use folk costumes with the embroidery of Koprivnički Ivanec as a symbol of northwestern Croatia.

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