Maria and Iulian Mihalachi are living in Băltățești, a village from Neamț county in the north-eastern part of Romania. The two spouses are artisans whose work is recognized and appreciated all over the country. The home-made decorative fabrics and traditional masks made by the couple are the most admired objects.
Maria Mihalachi, ex engineer and teacher, has taught herself to use the horizontal loom inherited from her grandmother. Maria studied about weaving techniques and ancient Romanian symbols in museums and also directly, by observing women workers who already knew the craft. In time, with her husband’s help and support, the artist built a workshop where she currently creates carpets, tapestries and pouches. On the horizontal loom Maria uses cotton warp and wool weft in creating the fabrics; the wool can be either natural or dyed with natural pigments (obtained by boiling in water different types of leaves, roots or flowers, tree barks or even minerals).
The motifs incorporated by Maria in her art are inspired from Neamț, an area in north-eastern Romania; some motifs are reproduced, others are stylized and all of them bear their maker’s personal touch.