In the nearly five years as a teacher, regional developer and social worker in Romania, I have had frequent contact with people who have stuck to their craftship despite the most adverse circumstances or who have found their way back to their traditionally learned craft after losing their job.
For these people, the craft means more than just a bread-and-butter job. Whether it is weavers who have been weaving local raw materials such as willow rods, corn leaves or hazelnut rods for generations as a supplement to activities in agriculture, or Romani people of the Rudari group, whose families have made bowls, plates and tripod stools from willow wood as far as they can remember. What all of them have in common is the work with local raw materials, the passing on of skills from generation to generation and the love for their craftship. The simple design of their products, which is characterized by functionality and whose shape is strongly based on natural motifs, gives the objects an incomparable authenticity.
However, the clear cutting of local rural traditions driven by communism and new, cheaper materials such as plastic have gradually robbed these craftsmen of their livelihoods over the past few decades. That is why more and more people are leaving their villages, trying their luck in the urban areas of Romania or in the metropolitan areas of Western Europe. Additionally, they are often disoriented and without real prospects for the future.
With the platform for traditional craftship – FAIR CRAFT, we want to counteract this development. We have come together to find a public who is interested in traditional craftship and to sell their handicraft products at fair prices. Supported by the belief that these traditional and resource-saving handicraft skills are something that should be preserved for future generations, we get to work.
This “we” consists of the different craftsmen and Horatiu Oltean, where all the handicraft products come together on site and who organizes the transport to Austria. Furthermore, it includes Thomas Pöchtrager, who sets up and organizes the sale of these products in Austria and informs people about handicraft and how the platform for traditional craftship works. Last but not least, the people who are interested in our products, their development processes and the promotion of traditional craftship in a European context, are a central part of the platform.
The FAIR CRAFT sustainability standard
The work of our platform is based on the sustainability guidelines that we have created and continuously developed. For us, fair means in particular that all people working together here treat each other and their environment fairly. In terms of sustainability, we have defined areas of validity and application for production, transport and trade in the sustainability standard.
PDF document for download:
A special thank you goes to the human ecologist Birgit Strasser, who designed and developed the sustainability standard in collaboration with Thomas Pöchtrager.
Every handicraft product bought from us has the name of the artisans on the enclosed label. You can find various information on the craftsmen and the manufacturing process of the product on the website.
Since these products are handcrafted and each product is a unique piece, the relationship between craftsmen and the crafted product is of particular importance. Therefore, we make this relationship visible and reasonable with the possibility of traceability.