CULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF GERONTHRI
GERAKI, LAKONIA, P.C. 23058
CONTACT PERSONS: 1. – Mrs Evagelia Kontogeorgou,
Association Superintendent, Τel. No 6936815850
2. – Mr. Νick Zitsas,
Treasurer of the Association, Τel. No 6976074673
Geraki, 1 Νovember 2019
Subject: “Calendar 2020: A Tribute to the Weaving Art of Geraki”
Inspired by the idea and conviction that our Association has a duty not only to honour and promote every worthy ancestral work, but also to see to its preservation in the years to come, this year we decided not to issue a Calendar, but to commission to our unique –hopefully not the last– active Weaver of our village the crafting of 200 creations on her upright loom.
Their pattern designs, all true copies of the famous very old carpets (kilimia) of the village of Geraki, in which even a mere observer can admire the way in which the weaver crafted, but also how she depicted on her creation what she saw around her or what she imagined. Indeed, the designs of woven works are taken either form the real world of the weaver (animals, plants and birds), or from another world, more imaginary (“dragons”), or even while she was philosophizing when crafting the “Tree of Life”. All these designs as well as a multitude of other ones, in combination with the styles and the manufacturing and dyeing techniques of threads, which for centuries mothers passed on to their daughters, made Geraki carpets (kilimia), works of unparalleled material and aesthetic value, which acquired their own identity and escaped from the narrow framework of the household and the village. To date a plethora of written and oral testimonies referring to woven textiles, make a special mention of the carpets of Geraki which have become famous all over the world. The prizes they were awarded in international exhibitions in Greece and abroad (Vienna, 1873), (Zappion Mansion, 1890), (Thessaloniki, 1970’s) constitute a great proof of their unmatched value.
In the scientific field, archeological research and excavations carried out in recent years in the village of Geraki have brought to light proofs of the weaving tradition which demonstrate its uninterrupted historical continuity. Already, 282 loomweights (“agnithes”) have been found in the excavation work performed by the Dutch Archeological Institute in the Acropolis of ancient Geronthri, which date back to the Classical and Hellenistic years. At the same time, in the restoration works taking place in the Castle of Geraki archeologists speak of weaving craft workshops in the Byzantine years. All these discoveries, true testimonies of the past, attract the interest of distinguished scientists who come to our village in order to “pick up the thread” of weaving many centuries ago until today, while enquiring contemporary women who in the past used to weave masterpieces.
For us, who live in or come from this beautiful place, when coming in touch with the heirlooms of weaving, or hearing the sound of the loom of the unique weaver in our village, Mrs Chrysoula Stamatopoulou, things acquire larger, spiritual and psychological dimensions: Every sound refers us to a link of the chain that leads to our distant past and our concern is that it will not be the last that will stop here and now a tradition of centuries. At a time of industrialization and globalization, it is now more than urgent for all of us to look into our ancestral heritage and make sure it is preserved and further developed.
We therefore deliver this Calendar, addressing, primarily, each inhabitant of Geraki with the urge for it to be the “key” for a deeper insight into their tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the works of their ancestors, but also with the wish to strive so that they will not be driven to oblivion.
In conclusion, our Association would like to thank Mrs. Stamatopoulou for her intensive, three-month collaboration in weaving the Calendars. We would also like to express our gratitude to our compatriot, Mrs. Catherine Constantinou-Doukas, for having, without a second thought, contributed morally and financially to this effort.
Finally, to each and every one, individually who reads this note, we wish that the coming Year will be full of Health, Creation, Inspiration and Joy!
The Board of Directors of the Cultural Association of Geronthri