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Traditional skills are under threat in a world of mass-production. On a visit to the rural Cypriot weaving village of Phiti in 2008, artists Sarah Dixon and Maura McKee spoke to Phiti weavers and the curator of the Phiti Folk Museum and felt an immediate affinity with their distress at the threat to the survival of weaving as young people leave and skills are not passed on. This is something we both see this happening in rural towns in our home countries of England and Northern Ireland, and elsewhere.

Cyprus has a long, esteemed tradition in, and international reputation for, weaving. It is sad to reflect that only a handful of weavers remain in the village which gave its name to arguably the best-known type of Cypriot weaving.

Phiti is a marginal, rural community – today only 60 people live there, owing mainly to the exodus to towns and cities as time has gone on. Our intention is to spend time with the handful of local weavers who remain; to listen, document, collaborate and support before the skills of Phiti’s weavers are lost forever.

We also believe it will be possible to inspire new generations of Cypriot artists to learn about these traditions and adapt them into a contemporary context. This cultural heritage is important but does not need to preserved so much as encouraged to evolve and remain relevant, whilst maintaining these important connections with ancestral history.

We are developing a proposal with assistance from the Laona Foundation for the Conservation and Regeneration of the Cypriot Countryside.

“The aim of this proposed project is to reinvigorate and recontextualise Phiti weaving, and to support Phiti weavers in their practice. We are setting out to catalyse a process of conserving and adapting tradition.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2011 1:17 pm

    Hello there Sara and Mora, I’m really pleased to find your blog as I am also very interested in the sad demise of all the, once prolifically practised crafts, in Cyprus. I have many relatives in Cyprus and on a visit to my cousin recently decided to write a small book about the crafts and food. I love weaving and basket making in particular and met a young weaver in Lefkosia who has researched silk weaving Rolandos Loucaides. Really pleased to hear about the Laona Foundation project and would be very interested to hear more about it.

    • February 22, 2011 2:15 pm

      Dear Sonia,
      Thanks for getting in touch, its good to hear from you. Perhaps when you are next in Cyprus you will be able to visit Phiti and chat to some of the weavers there. Just ask in the village – particularly at Voufa or in the Folk Museum. There are lots of things that can be done to support the weaving, from going to Phiti for lessons to simply ordering some cloths.

      You can join us on Facebook
      and you might like to read our Summary Report which you can access here:

      Keep in touch for the full report which is on its way.

      Best wishes

  2. Athina permalink
    May 19, 2011 8:21 am

    I am Atna Kyriakou from Bios Life Long Learning Center, Cyprus.
    Very interesting blog.
    Also, if you are interested you can visit our website, where you can find more info about our Grundtvig learning partnership project with aim to promote and increase the value of traditional handicraft as an expression of local culture and raise the awareness of the common cultural background by bringing together several cultures and building a form of expression and a national and European identity.

    • May 19, 2011 8:40 am

      Dear Athina,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Its very nice to hear from you. We are investigating whether we can form an international group for a similar project ourselves. If you have a mailing list, do add me on, sarah*at* Thanks!


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