The Folk Artisan Ioan Craioveanu is creating clay figures representing the Romanian peasant in various situations of life. He has learnt the secrets of clay modelling from Nicolae Diaconu, former Ambassador of Romania abroad, who introduced a novelty in this trade: the clay figure standing on their own feet. These pieces of work are stand-alone exhibits, not resting on any support, and depict the characters as they are in real life. We are talking here about modelling not structure since the pieces of clothing are added to the kneaded clay.
"When working with kneaded clay that turns into a figure, the pieces of clothing are made separately and added afterwards. It is like a kind of tailoring in clay. I stretch the clay sheet, I cut out the shapes of clothes and then apply them on the figurines. The miniature sculptures are empty inside, each of them is a unique work of art and no moulds are used instead they are manually modelled piece by piece. My characters include: the drunk man riding the barrel, the thinker, the mother with her child, the shepherds, the couple, the man with a book beneath his head, the political prisoner in chains, the monk, etc. All my clay figures represent people from the Romanian village." said Mr Ioan Craioveanu talking about this craft.
I met Ioan Craioveanu at several fairs of folk art craftsmen. Each time he offered the public live demonstrations of clay modelling and presented his working method. Tourists are very keen on knowing the way he makes the clothing of the clay figures and are amazed when they found out that the apparel covering the clay sculptures are separately done. Each piece is a stand-alone work of art and perfectly integrated in the world of the genuine characters when placed within the context of the Romanian village. The method of working has drawn the attention of several ceramic sculptures from the country and abroad.
Foreigners Interested in Mr Craioveanu`s Work Style
"In August 2017 I was invited in France at a centre of ceramic sculpture which operates inside a museum. The French people were attracted by my work style. I only use my hands and one stick in making my works. I also gave a demonstration in France. Several ceramic sculptures from different countries were invited to this event. The theme of the first evening was the Fire Evening when each had to build his own oven for burning the sculptures. The event took place in a pottery museum. My technique made quite an impression. The French children have come to master the Romanian technique." also said the artisan Ioan Craioveanu.
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