Before Easter, my best friend, who lives far away from Romania, asked me to help her with finding gifts for her family from here and there, as well as for her work mates. And because the love and the wistfulness for the mother country have been intensifying, she told me that she would like very much to find Romanian gifts - traditional and authentic. As she wished to make online order, I have started to make a small research. Knowing how rich the culture of the Romanian handicraft is, I thought I would end fast.
But guess what! I was surprised to find lots of kitsch, made in „you name it”, and that the handicraft shops have poor quality goods. No trace of the well-known Romanian craftsmen. What about I had to find gifts for 12 families plus the work mates, different nationalities, different religions, from young children to elder people. Wow!... Complicated. I started searching for the names of the craftsmen I knew of and I managed to find their web sites. Another shot: the orders were lasting too long. I heard on the radio that there were going to be different Easter fairs through the capital. I went there very confident. And I did well! I met there the great craftsmen in person, who had brought many art pieces. I really had where to choose. One more beautiful than the other, all full of Romanian sense! But it was more gratifying to meet young creative artists who interpret the traditional art in modern style. Oh my! What a delight to see how traditional Romanian handicraft lasts for centuries, how it gets a new look but keeps its value! There was so much beauty and authenticity around me, so many wonderful people, as if I were in a fairy tale only with good heroes and happy happenings. I left full of all kinds of ceramics, weaves, embroidery, wooden carvings, paintings, stained glass, all kinds of handmade sweets, liqueurs and ointments. Back home, I ordered two, three things found online and ready, mission accomplished. Or not?! Wonderful what I have found, my girlfriend says, but she asked me right away how I should send her all the gifts. Ups! I haven’t thought about that. I had to find a safe pack. Gift bags on the airplane? Too many. Cartons for ceramics? It will break. Wooden boxes? Too heavy. And I took my time to think about it. How can someone carry something fragile? With natural fibers. So I built plywood boxes and I protected the objects with jute cloth and wood wool. All made in Romania – I was not going to ruin this concept. I quickly wrapped them in kraft paper, tied them with packthread from Romanian producers, as well, and ... Here it is! The super-Romanian, traditional and authentic gifts are ready to be delivered!
I couldn't believe how beautiful they turned out! To me only? My best friend was stunned. If she had not known me, she would have said I bought them somewhere ready-to-go. And the receivers? So impressed by the gifts, so eager to discover the Romanian traditional art, absolutely conquered by the richness of the Romanian handicraft. By sharing me the impressions she picked up about my gifts, my girlfriend has a flashing moment: what if this is the new road that opens to me with the Lord's Resurrection?
In the next five months, I have been researching, imagining, founding a concept, I have been selecting suppliers, art pieces, I have launched orders, I laid out a workshop, I developed a website, I took photos, I created gift ideas, I have been dealing with marketing, I have found an identity and, last but not least, I have chosen a name: Lădița Românească (The Romanian Crate).
This is its story: about friendship and family, about supporting and offering. About extraordinary people and their unique art pieces. About the love for the country and the desire to give a little piece of Romania away to the world.
As for me, I am Raluca Ionescu and I invite you all to step into my story. I welcome you.