Why is it important to bring the craftsmen to the 21st century?

One of the things we want most is to restore prosperity to the village. In order to achieve that, we need to build economic opportunities that are viable on the modern market. It's easy to say, but can we implement it just as easy? If we start from scratch, it is difficult. But we, in Buzău Land, have an advantage: many of the necessary ingredients already exist in the village world. Then we have another advantage: the people from OMV Petrom put their trust in us and offered us their support!

Do you know that each community was an economic microcosm? Each village had people specialized in a certain trade. They could be blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, shoemakers, tailors, weavers, stonemasons, even jewelers. Even if there was no money capital in the village, they offered their services in exchange for other products: grain, nuts, fruits, brandy, wool, wood, etc.

From time to time, however, there would also be income-generating economic opportunities. At first, they came from outside the community. An order for the blacksmith, one for the carpenter, one for the shoemaker, and money would begin to enter the community.

When craftsmen were too busy with work, they would use some of these earnings to benefit from services from the rest of the community: field work, for example. And here's how money started to flow into the community.

Unii meșteri creau întregi lanțuri economice! De exemplu, o țesătoare avea nevoie de lână. Firul de lână era pregătit de o urzitoare. La rândul ei, urzitoarea avea nevoie de câlți de lână, pe care îi lua de la cioban. Și uite așa se crea un întreg lanț de cerere și ofertă.

Traditional craftsmen were among the most important pillars of the local economy. Unfortunately, however, the craft in the country was negatively affected by 2 factors.

  1. One of the factors is the globalization of products. Industrial factories began to create series products in large quantities. More often than not, they came at a quality far inferior to the quality of the traditional craft, but at a better price. Benefiting from easy transport, retail stores and advertising capacity, globalized products have reached everywhere. They even reached the village world. Suddenly, having something cheaper and faster to buy, the villagers did not turn to local craftsmen as often as before. As a result, the craftsmen could no longer use the services of the other villagers so often. The economic chains have fallen apart. As a result, the villagers did not have enough money to buy globalized products, because suddenly the capital did not enter the community, but flowed out of it. A subsistence economy has been reached.
  2. The second factor is the lack of effective communication with the urban world, where technologies and needs have advanced much faster… and where there is a lot of capital. Thus, the traditional objects that craftsmen normally made lost their practical utility. Many craftsmen tried to return to economic life, but this factor did not allow them to position themselves on the market. How many of us need potters 'jugs, weavers' rugs, or blacksmith's horseshoes?

Interestingly, it is precisely the factor that has led to the degradation of the craft, namely the excessive globalization of products, that now brings the opportunity of the 21st century for traditional craftsmen. You see, wherever you go, in almost any country or city, you will find the same products. The same brands, the same t-shirts, the same bags. Places and things are starting to look more and more identical. For this reason, people are now looking for special and unique things.

The trend is to look for authentic objects, but also the story behind the object. One thing is to wear a scarf bought from your favorite store in the mall, made in China and sold in tens of thousands of copies, and another is to wear a scarf made in only 100 copies, on a loom, in a picturesque village on the edge of the forest. With a little spirit of adventure, you can even visit the persons who made it for you, you can see how they work and you can find out the story of the places. That scarf is no longer just an object, it is also a memory that you will cherish.

It is an incredible opportunity for craftsmen, but also for the local economy. If we manage to reinvent the traditional craft and bring it to the forefront, we have the chance to rebuild the local economic chains. We also have the Internet at our disposal now, which allows craftsmen to be visible beyond the boundaries of their community. There are services that allow craftsmen to sell their products.

Now is the time to get to work. It is time to reinvent the products, to teach the craftsmen to become visible and to help them make an income of the knowledge they have. It is time to show the community how it can collaborate with its craftsmen and how to attract capital. Not only craftsmen can benefit, but all those who associate in supply and demand chains.

Thus, the Meșteri 21 initiative was born. With the support of OMV Petrom, this initiative has gained consistency and we are ready to work! In the next 12 months we will work with the craftsmen of 3 communes with great potential in Buzău Land: Berca, Beceni and Scorțoasa. How are we going to do that? We will tell you in the next article!