Culture & People Crafts & Craftsmen Platres artists and craftsmen

Platres artists and craftsmen

The main profession of the villagers of Platres was, as aforementioned, the process and decoration of wood, and sometimes of pots with the turning lathe. This manual machine was the basic tool of wood carvers as well as ceramists. It consisted of “two thick girders”, which were rectangular and were placed parallel to the floor.

The turning of the wood and the clay required artistry and attention. For instance, a piece of wood had to be formed with a hack hammer in order for a part of it to be decorated. It was then place on the turner. The craftsman sat on a stool holding the bow with one hand and the chisel with the other hand. They had chisels of different kinds-“round, flat, middle, narrow”. They used to turn the periphery of the piece of wood with the cord of the bow and simultaneously decorated the part of the piece with the chisel.

The turning of the wood and the clay required artistry and attention. For instance, a piece of wood had to be formed with a hack hammer in order for a part of it to be decorated. It was then place on the turner. The craftsman sat on a stool holding the bow with one hand and the chisel with the other hand. They had chisels of different kinds-“round, flat, middle, narrow”. They used to turn the periphery of the piece of wood with the cord of the bow and simultaneously decorated the part of the piece with the chisel.

The most common decorative patterns on wood were roses, branches, flowers and many geometrical figures. The decoration was also customized according to orders.

Unfortunately, this craft is almost extinct. However, furniture decorating the traditional houses of Kato Platres are reminiscent of this wonderful trade.

Many inhabitants used to work in open brick and tile factories. They used to sift local earth and threw away all stones. They took the clean earth and placed it in special moulds. Then they placed it in firing kilns, namely in small ovens made of mud and bricks. The craft of handmade brick production survived in Kato Platres until the end of the 20th century.

The quilt maker is another traditional profession that survived in Kato Platres and was completely deserted recently. The quilt maker used to make “cotton quilts, mattresses, divans, couches and armchairs”.

The quilt maker used to go around villages and advertised his merchandise. He always carried his bow with him, a wooden instrument in the shape of an arrow, which was adjusted by a certain lever. He used to process cotton and turned it into small cotton balls with his hand before using the bow, namely before hitting the cotton with it. He then placed the cotton in a thick fabric bag, hit it with a thin stick and sewed its ends so as to make the quilt.

While the quilt maker softly hit the surface of the quilt, he had to observe the way in which the cotton was spread. He only sewed it as soon as it was evenly spread. Thee quilt was stitched across its whole surface often in a decorative manner.

Cobblers were also quite popular in the village until the end of the 20th century. He used to create shoes, mostly boots for farmers from animal leather.

Their basic tool was a draw file (“ladakono”) used for sharpening, “farsetta” a long steel razor for cutting leather, “dontagra”, a kind of bender and a drawing knife for cutting the thick thread called “rafidi”. They painted the shoes with “xydia”, a black paint made of vinegar (“xydi”), pieces of iron and leather. The cobbler used to wander in neighbouring villages and repair shoes locally.

Sources:
Iona Ioannis, Traditional Cyprus Professions, Nicosia 2001
Nicos Ioannou, Secretary of Kato Platres Community Council
Hadjithomas Andreas (ed.), Cyprus, vol.6
Great Cypriot Encyclopedia, vol.5 and vol.12

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