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A pattern of a length of 3 centimeters, borrowed from a traditional Berat sako (a long, embroidered coat), enlarged with embroidery. Another small detail taken from a medieval clothing item, made larger and, therefore, more visible through the fine art of embroidery. This is Egla Memaj’s mode of expression, her art-form. Young and talented, she is carving a niche in Albanian embroidery through her singular style.
The love of embroidery took root in Egla fairly early, at the young age of 6 or 7, as she watched her mother and grandmother do their needlework. The love and ability for this art, passed down in her family through several generations, was also inherited by Egla. From embroidering her doll’s clothes as a child, she chose to follow her passion at the University of Arts, where she majored in Fashion and Textiles. It was during her studies that Egla realized her passion could turn into a full-fledged profession.
“Certain pieces require that I work from morning to evening, for entire weeks, even months. You cannot do something like this unless you really love it,” she tells us, her words a testimony to the fact that this kind of creative and meticulous profession requires the kind of dedication that goes beyond merely fulfilling a task. It must extend to one’s entire life.
In the past, Egla has shared her work with the public in various exhibitions. Her focus is and has always been Albanian tradition, folklore, and ethnography. As a result, she is an avid visitor and careful observer of museums, artefacts, cities, places, and people. Anything and everything can serve as a source of inspiration.
Her materials of choice are cotton, linen, tapestry, and silk, while her favorite thread is gold. Juxtaposing the patterns highlighted in her embroidery with their original appearance in a specific work or clothing item, one understands that this wealth of elements could be easily overlooked if it weren’t for Egla’s magnifying glass.
Egla’s atelier is a warm and welcoming space for all those who would like a more intimate look at her pieces. Naturally, she accepts commissions but always keeping in mind the time and dedication required of each of them. One thing is certain. To immerse yourself in a world at once medieval and traditional, contemporary and modern, stopping by Egla’s atelier is a must.
Address: St. “3 dëshmorët” (“3 martyrs”), Yzberisht, Tiranë. You can contact Egla at her e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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