In Hungary we work with a very special lady, a third-generation embroiderer in the countryside just outside of Budapest. Together with two other ladies of exceptional embroidery skill, they hand-embroider our Hungarian blouses and dresses.
The style of embroidery on our Hungarian blouses is known as Matyo embroidery, which is also the name of the region in Hungary where this florid style of embroidery originates. Matyo embroidery was traditionally a skill passed from generation to generation. The vibrant and rich motifs were traditionally designed and sketched by women who designed them in a sort of 'free-hand' embroidery style. Matyo embroidery was at its height in the late 1800s and was representative of lifestyle at the time, as women embroidered the various flowers of their gardens into their clothing, bringing their gardens to life. Houses were decorated with painted furniture, enamel plates and rich decorations. in the 20th century, the strong folkloric traditions of the region have mostly vanished.
The artisan we work with has won numerous competitions for her fine and delicate embroidery skills. It takes her up to four days to complete just one blouse. Sadly, she has patiently tried to teach her craft to younger apprentices but she says 'no one has the patience to finish an entire blouse, even if they are well-paid, they prefer to do other types of work, even to work in a cafe'. There are few artisans in Hungary who choose to continue this dying craft.