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A Rare Peek Behind The 'Handwoven' Scenes of Tisca Rugs in Transylvania

There's something extremely special about rugs, especially in Scandinavia where hard wood floors are the norm. Not only do rugs help to add cosiness and warmth, when chosen well, they can also bring a room to life. There's something particularly special about handwoven rugs: they possess a unique quality that tell a story. This is one of the reasons I'm a big a fan of Austrian brand Tisca. Tisca has been making handwoven rugs from high quality wool for nearly 50 years. Every rug is unique - and if you take care of it, it can be passed from one generation to the next. It helps of course, that they are beautiful too! A few weeks ago fellow bloggers Decor8, Happy Interior Blog, Vosgesparis, Monster CircusPassion Shake and I were given the rare opportunity to visit Transylvania to discover more about the craftsmanship that goes into every rug, discover the historic centre steeped in the tradition of weaving - and of course go in search of Count Dracula!  

We stayed at Casa Belvedere in the small village of Cisnadioara which is idyllically situated at the foot of the medieval Kirchenburg. It was the perfect base from which to explore the untouched beauty of the Transylvanian countryside, Romanian culture, history, food and crafts. 


Tisca rugs are made in the lush, hilly district of Cisnădie - a historic centre for the manufacturing of textiles not far from our guesthouse. Although much of the industry has disappeared, local people remain steeped in the tradition of weaving and are highly skilled in crafting beautiful rugs by hand. I was fascinated to discover how Tisca combines cutting-edge knowledge with centuries old tradition to create a variety of unique rugs. 

The Beauty of Wool
Wool has been the preferred raw material used to make rugs thanks to its strength, beauty and that it's easy to clean. When Tisca rugs are woven with a plain weave, wool rugs can be used on both sides - perfect when you have little kids running around - or friends who are occasionally a little unsteady with a red wine! 

Weaving techniques
Tisca use two different weaving techniques - either woven or braided. With the handwoven rugs in Transylvania, the classic plain weave approach is used - which allowed for two-sided use with both flat-woven and pile rugs. 

96 colours!
If the pictures above are anything to go by it would appear you can have any rug you like as long as it's white, blue or grey - but that's far from reality! In fact, with Tisca you can design your own rug - choosing from 96 colours, a variety of yarn thickness and 26 possible textures - yielding never-ending possibilities! And then of course there's the size and configuration (the colours and the weaving techniques can be freely chosen!) with a width up to 6 metres and any length. So handy! 

Social projects
I loved that Tisca textile maintains two small workshops near the factory in Cisnadie. In Bogatu Roman, around 12 women make high quality rugs from waste yarn (from the main plant). The women take pride in running the site themselves, managing their work and holiday schedules. The rugs are incredibly popular thanks to the excellent quality and reasonable prices. In 2014 Tisca opened another small workshop in Tichindeal, a small Roma village as part of the 'Elijah' social project in collaboration with Father Sporschill, where high quality woollen yarns are woven into standard-sized rugs. 

Weaving our own rugs!
Towards the end of our factory visit we got the opportunity to weave our own rug. It was such a satisfying, mindful process. It also gave me a glimpse into what's required to weave a rug - and a new-found respect for the skill of the craftspeople working for Tisca. Weaving a rug requires attention to detail, skill and concentration that I found I didn't quite possess! And the craftspeople I met were always cheerful and passionate about their work. It was wonderful to see! 

Visiting Sibiu
Our trip wouldn't have been complete without visiting the beautiful city of Sibiu. It's not somewhere I would have thought about going, and I was mesmerised by the beauty of it, don't you love it when that happens? It's known for it's Germanic architecture - the legacy of 12th century Saxon settlers. We strolled passed the remains of medieval walls and towers and took in the atmosphere while sipping coffee at one of the many cafés. 


Bran castle
What would a visit to Transylvania be without a visit to Dracula's 'Bran castle'? Despite the journey, it was well a visit (just make sure you're loaded with garlic first - Mwah ha ha haaaa!). But if your schedule is tight, I also recommend Brukenthal Palace which is nearer to Sibiu (and has a great hotel and restaurant attached to it!).  


Thank you so much to Tisca for an amazing trip. I hope to return one day to see more of Romania with my family. What a beautiful country! 

You can read more about Tisca rugs and commission your own one here. I'm sure you will enjoy it for decades to come!

Niki

This is a paid partnership with Tisca, however all words and pictures are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible.



LATEST COMMENTS:

  1. What a fascinating post this time! A pity though, to see you carrying the ubiquitous plastic bottle of water........the rest of the post certainly mindful, and beautiful.

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    Replies
    1. Happy you enjoyed the post - it was such a beautiful place.
      I agree on the plastic bottle - thank you for raising this. I would love to receive more tips about what others do for water to avoid plastic bottles when they are travelling abroad.
      On a recent excursion somewhere really hot you needed to drink constantly when out and about and I was thinking that it would be good for tourist shops / cafes to sell water from a large dispenser so you could re-fill your water holder without the need to buy a plastic bottle (if they were unwilling to dole out tap water).

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  2. This is the first time I've commented on your blog and I'm a long time reader. This post is really inspiring. I am always looking for new cities to visit and am so grateful for the tip. Thank you! Kerstin

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  3. Happy to see you! Greetings from Transylvania!

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  4. Answer.....A small metal water bottle, easily purchased, easily carried, easily refilled, even if you have to 'purchase' fresh water for a top-up. Where there's a will, there is ALWAYS a way :))

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  5. Rita/Turtledesign8 July 2019 at 09:12

    Here in Bergen we now have gotten water posts around the city, where you can refill your bottle. There are also a few shops that encourage you to come by and refill your bottle. And the city water company sometimes put water trolleys out, especially on weekends, for the student/drinking crowd.... We try to bring a bottle from home when we travel - we have reusable water bottles - but since we often travel with only hand luggage, that is not always possible. Some places airport security will let you pass with a water bottle, but then suddenly another on the same trip will make you throw it away. So when we travel with hand luggage, we usually buy a bottle when we arrive, and refill during the trip.

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  6. RITA/TURTLEDESIGN......Brilliant!

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  7. Great post, great rugs. Thank you so much, Niki!

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  8. Niki, your photos have captured the beauty of this place! I am inspired. I also love the story of the rugs which are gorgeous! Amanda

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  9. Amazing to see photos from Sibiu and Transilvania in general. I am glad that you had a good time in Romania. That part of the country is really inspiring. It is good to see that traditional methods of weaving are still in use and a bit dissapointing that there are so few places left. Cisnadie was the main producer of rugs in Romania and a few years ago - I am talking about 15-20 years ago - to have a rug from them was the ultimum achievement. My mum bought one when she was in her thirties and she was really proud of it. Quality wise - amazing.
    Thank you for sharing.

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