Bucharest for expatriate children: the wonders of handmade papermaking

My family, together with a group of friends and their young children, had the privilege of taking a workshop at the National Peasant Museum about making recycled paper manually.  A papermaking artisan, Razvan Supuran, held the workshop in the basement of the Museum.  In the last couple of months, we took this seminar twice and we enjoyed it tremendously. It is a unique opportunity to learn something beautiful and useful, in a creative environment, and from a man who can inspire not only to recycle and make paper at home, but also to follow your heart and bring your contribution to the world. Yes, it is that kind of workshop and I would love every single person passing through or living in Bucharest to experience it.  Expats and tourists included, hence the writing of this review in English.

At my request, we started with Mr. Supuran telling us a little bit about himself, his journey and the reasons that motivated him to make paper.  He has a very interesting life story which could be very inspirational for adults and children alike. A former journalist, who left a lucrative career, found his calling by preserving history in a distinctive manner.  He transformed an interest and a past experience into a passion. But more importantly, his ardent desire became a mission to safeguard a craft almost forgotten in today’s industrialized world.  That is a rare occurrence and for that reason alone, meeting Mr. Supuran has been for my family an opportunity rarely stumbled upon.  During his talk, he emphasized the importance of hard work and determination in accomplishing goals – and interestingly enough that was what my 5-year old remembered from our chat.

hartie mtr roata mare trei

For young children, who are used to run around and have short attention spans, time spent around a table talking about “real life” may be a challenge.  But as a parent who believes in the value of exposure and uses past experiences as conversations starters at a later time, I think this talk could be the most educational part of the workshop and it is well worth it to push the children’s limits a little bit, if necessary.  Unfortunately, our group did not push those limits and, in retrospect, the conversation ended sooner than I would have liked.  I need to reiterate though that I insisted when I scheduled the meeting to include this conversation about his journey because I thought it could augment the experience for our group. But judging from my first experience taking this workshop, this discussion does not always occur during a routine workshop.  Hence, if you feel it could be beneficial to you or your group, you may want to request it or prompt it during the atelier.  I strongly encourage it.

After the brief introduction, we proceeded to the hands-on part of the atelier.  We actually made paper from turning previously used paper into pulp and then back into paper.  Mr. Supuran demonstrated and explained the process in great detail and then the children did it themselves, if they wished.  I will not reiterate the manual papermaking process here because I would like you to experience it for yourself.  But I promise you it is much better than watching a Youtube video on the topic or reading a tutorial on the net. Some of the paper we made we took home and some of it we left behind for when we come back to learn more about the crafts celebrated in this studio. My family plans to return for printmaking and bookbinding workshops in the near future.

hartie mtr roata mare

 The bottom line is that we learned how to make paper, recognized the importance and usefulness of recycling paper and met a man preserving history.  The kids also enjoyed running around a beautiful studio and watching the other two artisans at work there.  All for a very small price.  The children in our group bought little souvenirs which inadvertently may end up reminding them about the experience for some time. The souvenirs were seeded paper which can be planted in the garden. Presumably, the seeds embedded in the paper will germinate when planted in the soil and eventually grow into plants.

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly encourage the entire world to pass through this studio.  It is a rare opportunity and it should be recognized and appreciated as such. Our workshop was held in Romanian, but Mr. Supuran seemed fluent in English and I won’t be surprised if he can hold it in English as well. If not, I am sure translation can be arranged somehow. For reservations, you can call him.  Go and enjoy being touched by history, learn about recycling and be inspired.

hartie mtr roata mare bis

Text written by Violeta, mother of two great children.

Thank you, Violeta!


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