Meet Your Master! 2017 (ENG)

From March 31 to April 2, 2017, masters of applied arts, craftsmen, storytellers, narrators, musicians and singers will invite visitors to the event ‘Meet your Master! 2017’ in 167 places throughout Latvia.

In Zemgale, it will be possible to learn about the Latvian bathhouse traditions and soap boiling in Baldone district, to make toys in Bauska Children and Youth Centre, to acquire weaving and knitting skills in a number of applied folk art studios in Jelgava district, while in Ozolnieki district master Santa Rubene will teach to bake delicious sourdough bread.

Learning songs and games in Bārta Culture House, cooking sklandrauši (sweet rye dough pies filled with potato and carrot paste), skābputra (sour porridge) and fish dishes in Roja Marine Fishery Museum, pottery workshops in Engure district, weaving of the white shoulder shawl rims in Kuldīga and many other events will create a rich programme in Kurzeme.

In Dagda district of Latgale region people will be able to acquire fishing skills, Līvāni County Culture Centre will offer a possibility learn more about wedding traditions – tellers’ memory stories, mičošana rituals, traditional wedding dishes. In Vārkava region everyone is invited to smoke sauna, while in Viļāni district masters will present Lent period dishes.

Vidzeme will offer ample opportunities to learn how to make folk costumes in the weaving workshop ‘Vēverīšas’ and jewellery making in the Ancient jewellery smithy with master Daumants Kalniņš in Cēsis. In Ērgļi district there will be a possibility to learn weaving of the white tablecloth, puppet making workshops will take place in the writer’s Apsīšu Jēkabs native home ‘Kalaņģi’ in Gulbene district, preparation of the oak acorn beverage will be taught in Jērcēni Folk House in Strenči district.

In Riga, an extensive programme will be offered by Riga Culture and Folk Art Centre ‘Mazā Ģilde’ (Small Guild), by the National Costume Centre ‘Senā klēts’ (Ancient Barn), by Culture and Folk Art Centre ‘Ritums’ (Roll), by Riga Culture Centre ‘Iļģuciems’ as well as by other places where it will be possible to acquire different handicraft skills. In the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum, the visitors will be introduced to family craftsmen’s work as well as invited to plays, games and dances.

The central event of ‘Meet your Master! 2017’ in Riga will take place on April 1, in the main building of Swedbank Latvia and in its outdoor area (Balasta dambis 15). It will be a celebration of national traditions, knowledge and skills for both adult and very young citizens of Riga and visitors alike. The diverse programme of events will offer to take part in the most beautiful Latvian games together with folk groups, to try out their skills in the most popular masters’ workshops and to watch craftsmen’s demonstrations. Also, the visitors will be surprised by an extensive stage programme and a crafts fair.

This Saturday, on April 1, at 2 p.m. in the main building of Swedbank Latvia (Riga, Balasta dambis 15, 2nd floor), there will be held the opening of Lia Mona Ģibiete book ‘Suitu rakstainās zeķes’ (Suiti patterned socks).

National costume expert, the Head of the Kurzeme National Costume Information Centre Lia Mona Ģibiete has compiled research materials collected during several years about the Suiti patterned socks. The publication consists of three parts - a story of the ancient and the modern Suiti sock, a sock pattern collection created by the author, which introduces to the bright colour combination, the origin of each sock and technical drawings of patterns, as well as information on the historic Suiti socks kept in the collections of Latvian museums. At the same time ‘Suiti patterned socks’ is a practical guidebook for experienced knitters and a motivation for the beginners in knitting. The book ‘Suiti patterned socks’ is published by Latvian National Centre for Culture.

For the first time the Latvian programme of ‘Meet your Master! 2017’ also includes an event abroad. In Luxembourg masters Maija Biķerniece, Inta Jansone and the association ‘Luxembourg-Latvia’ will invite to learn the knitting of pērļotie mauči (pulse heaters) and spundiņraksts (a knitting pattern).

‘Meet your Master!’ traditionally will take place simultaneously with the project ‘The European artistic crafts day’, which began in France in 2002 and has become the broadest international event dedicated to the preservation of handicraft skills, their promotion and transfer. In 2017, already 19 European countries participate in this action. The central theme of this year’s event is ‘Strengthening links’, emphasizing the relationship between art and science, tradition and innovation, skills and experiments, generations, masters and disciples.

‘The European artistic crafts day’ website:

The aim of the project ‘Meet your Master!’ is to inform a wider public on the safeguarding and inheritance of the intangible cultural heritage, as well as about the masters, their knowledge and skills.