We were invited again to do a residency project at the transdisciplinary art center SERDE in summer 2013. We explored already last year Latvian folk costumes through electronic interventions in the e-crowns project – this year our fascination and curiosity was caught by the beautiful range of hand-woven Latvian belts (jostas). Latvian belts are worn as part of the traditional costumes and contain amazing, regional patterns, which have mystical meanings and are ideal for electronic reinterpretations.
We stayed first in Riga during the Latvian Song Festival. The timing was perfect for investigating Latvian belts, as many events related to traditional culture and crafts were taking place. Thanks to traditional culture expert Linda Rubena, we got the chance to visit a national costume show and a craft exhibition, and to learn weaving from a local master, Lilija. We also organized together with SERDE and RIXC an Open studio event where people could learn about e-crafts. After Riga, we stayed at SERDE in Aizpute and continued learning weaving with another master, Laima. Even the local TV was interested in our explorations and made an interview, which you can find below.
We are currently working on how to integrate electronics into woven belts. More stories about our journey into reinterpreting Latvian belts can be found here:
The project is supported by SERDE, Nordic Culture Point and Aizpute Municipality Council.