Thursday, September 9, 2010

Magyar florals



To follow the strands of cultural sharing and engaged heritage from the Irish short film I posted the other day, and in keeping with the (technical) style theme of this blog, here are some photographs of the gorgeous embroidery that covers the other half of my ancestry. I grew up much more Hungarian than Irish, as my mother was born in that country, and the attitudes, aesthetics, and (most importantly) food of Hungarians permeated my early life. The ability to identify with a culture and country beyond America has always been valuable to me--particularly during a handful of pessimistic teenage years--and I love that my home, like my mother's much larger and lovelier one, is full of bits of Hungarian art, and my dinner menus burgeon with with the flavors and dishes I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother. I make no apologies for getting half the people I've ever known addicted to my grandmother's cheese sticks.

For your continued Magyar-based pleasure, here are some examples of the glorious traditional embroidery that Hungarian women have covered their clothes and homes with for centuries. You can also find some examples of Hungarian writing and Hungarian cooking on this blog.

Hungarians are innately expert mixers of patterns.



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More geometric cross-stitch patterns are also widely used, especially on large spaces like tablecloths and bed-spreads.
 



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One of my favorite things about these patterns is the frequent inclusion of peppers among the flowers. Everything Hungarians eat is flavored with some variety of paprika, and ropes of the dried peppers (along with ropes of garlic, another prominent flavor) are often used to decorate kitchens and porches.

There you are. Don't you just want to drape yourself in it? I'd show you some examples of my own embroidery prowess, but they were embarrassed by these much more glorious pieces and hid under the bed.

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