Carpet weaving traditions (Interview with Deshire Maja)

Today we are in one of numerous artisan shops in the Old Bazaar of Kruja. According to local tradition while having a cup of coffee we are talk to Deshire Maja who is not just the owner of the shop, but also a traditional handmade carpets weaver.
Carpet weaving traditions (Interview with Deshire Maja) photo 2

AT: Good afternoon, Deshire! Let's talk a little bit about your craft. How many years have you been producing carpets?

Deshire: Good afternoon! Frankly speaking, I have been doing this craft for over 40 years.When I was 16 years old, my mother decided to pass the weaving traditions to me, which is an essential part of our family business today.

AT: What material do you use to create carpets?

Deshire For the production of high-quality carpets we always use natural sheep wool, not goat one, which is specially prepared for further work.

Carpet weaving traditions (Interview with Deshire Maja) photo 3Carpet weaving traditions (Interview with Deshire Maja) photo 4

AT: How do you get ideas for creating ornaments and patterns?

Deshire: To create ideas of ornaments, I use not only my inspiration, but also reproduce traditional ornaments which are typical of different Albanian towns and regions, the design is also based on geometric figures. In addition, many carpets are weaved and purchased on request, in this case both the ornament and the colour ideas of the product depend on the client’s wish, we can jointly develop any carpet model.

AT: How long does it take to weave a carpet?

Deshire: To create a small 1x1 m2 carpet, I need 7 working days and 8 hours of full-time work.

AT: What other handicrafts do you offer in your store for Kruja’s visitors?

Deshire: First of all, my husband and I have been selling carpets, though one can find other handicrafts in our shop — traditional felted hats (qeleshe), embroidered tablecloths, napkins, shawls, scarves, woolen bags and socks, felted slippers, etc. We also offer locally made silver jewelry and other souvenirs.

AT: When did you open your first artisanal shop?

Deshire: In 1998, our first shop was opened in Kruja, since then I have been working here. This building in the Old Bazaar of Kruja belongs to my husband's family. And our home is nearby. Another shop was opened in Tirana, it is located opposite the former Yugoslav embassy, where my youngest son works, while the eldest one is engaged in copper production.

AT: So you're from Kruja, aren’t you?

Deshire: I am, I was born in Kruja district and have lived here since my childhood doing my favorite craft which is my hobby and my life.

AT: Then we would like to ask you as a resident of Kruja, what national dishes would you recommend to Kruja visitors?

Deshire: Kruja is famous for its excellent cuisine, among the popular dishes that are cooked in our families and which I would advise to try: byrek, meat on a spit, yaprak cooked from grape leaves, ferges. As for desserts, we have kabuni, revani and others.

We thank Deshire for her story about her craft and wish her family further prosperity in their business!


Address of shop: Pazari i Vjetër «Derexhik», Kruja
Phones: +355 69 539 5036, +355 69 224 7053

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