Numerous visitors of the traditional exhibition “Autumn in Lika” were delighted when passing by the stand of Ružica Dujmović from Otočac.
Decorated bags and colorful “coklje”, linen sheets and shirts, woven towels… are just a part of the assortment of traditional clothes and home textiles made by the diligent hands of this vital 82-year-old. Ružica is a true master in making handicrafts from wool, cotton, linen and hemp.
“A lot of people don’t know what a “šarenica” is. It is a decorative wool blanket that would be thrown on the bed in Christmas or Easter time and also when the priest comes to bless the house “, explains Ružica.
In addition to that, other parts of the house, such as tables and antique chests were also decorated. Decorative towels, woven by hand and without the use of synthetics, have a special place on her stand.
“You just slide it across the table and it looks very nice. It doesn’t need to be boiled, it can be washed at 30 degrees, and it can also be washed by hand “, says Ružica.
The price of one such towel with “sketches” is 100 kuna.
Ružica also makes parts of folk costumes, and says that men’s linen shirts are especially popular among customers.
“The biggest shirts cost 400 kuna, but there are also smaller ones because not all people are big and fat. There are also smaller and thiner people, and shirts for them cost 350 kuna each.”
Women’s shirts are slightly longer than men’s, and an unavoidable part of the folk costume is the Lika bag, explains Ružica.
“Every folklorist must have a bag – either smaller on the shoulder, or larger on the back because the costume is decorated with a bag. If you don’t have a bag, then you are empty – people can see that you are missing something. “
The ornate Lika bag is also the most expensive item in her offer.
“The originals are very expensive, 2000 kuna each. They are worth even more, but that is the market price and I am sticking to it now.”, says Ružica.
The well-known traditional footwear from Lika are “coklje”, and Ružica sells the type of “coklje” you can wear around the house for 300 kuna.
“Cloth “coklje” have to be charged more because they are very hard to make” says Ružica, emphasizing that nicely sewn shoes can only be made with careful work.
“You have to have a nice foot, thread, needles – all this must be perfect so that “coklja” can be worn comfortably and the customer is satisfied.”
And Ružica’s customers are more than satisfied. She says the news of her craft has spread far and wide and that she doesn’t need to go to trade shows to find buyers. Many customers come to her home address, and she recently sent two shirts to South America.
Ružica has been practicing this craft since she was 10 and says she has no plans to ever quit.
“The job is in my blood, and I can’t live without it. So I’m not going to stop so quickly, even though I’m quite old and I have huge glasses. I’m a little slower, but I’ll always work a little bit.”
For all information about products and orders, contact Ružica on +38553771662
PHOTOS: Josip Durdov