Labyrinth through time YouTube channel

You can now follow the reenactment activities we are organizing part of the "Labyrinth through time" project at Camp Virtus via the dedicated YouTube channel. Yesterday we held the first meeting with possible volunteers, presenting the projects, its goals, objectives, and activities, but there was also a history book fair, a Roman snack (consisting of olives with honey, cheese, and flatbread), and plenty of outdoor activities: bow and arrow target practice, gladiatorial training, and kite flying for the youngest of the lot.
Here is the first video documenting this initial meeting, ending with a call for families of volunteers and media partners.

See more photos HERE and HERE and do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to become involved in any way. We appreciate your support and interest!


Baroque as source of inspiration

It took me a while like some aspects of the Baroque, namely some visual patterns and daily life details of the style's provincial characteristics. I used these to start a new category - BAROC - on my website, Atelierul de istorie. It includes, so far, small bottles with the ingredients for the Elixir of Love, sold in pharmacies in Transylvania during the eighteenth century, and handmade leather earrings inspired by bulb-shaped Baroque tower roofs.

Baroque-inspired products         

Veg-tan full grain leather earrings (onion-tower)
Elixir of Love


Labyrinth through time - first meeting

29th April 2017, 11 AM - 3 PM
Mark the date and time of the first meeting part of the "Labyrinth through time" project - financed by Administratia Fondului Cultural National and with parteners such as Asociatia socio-culturala apARTe, Faclia newspaper, Parinte InFloresti NGO and others. The members of Virtus Antiqua NGO shall be waiting for the visit of possible volunteers and all those interested in historical reenactment at Camp Virtus, near Cluj.
Families of volunteers shall meet the team, see the Camp where the project will be implemented in 2017 and will get to find out all details and practicalities. There will also be a history book fair, bow and arrow practice, and a Roman snack.

Historical food preparation at Camp Virtus

Read more about the book fair VOLUMEN
See the history-inspired bookmarks available during the event.

Official logo of cultural project "Labyrinth through time" implemented by Virtus Antiqua
Poster of Volumen - history book fair held at Camp Virtus


Elixir of Love for sale!

Atelierul de istorie has started a new category of handmade items inspired by the Baroque art and civilization in Central and Eastern Europe. The most important new item in this category is the Elixir of Love, namely small glass vials with the ingredients of the famed apothecary aphrodisiac drink. The vial contains entire spices used to season red wine and is accompanied by a scroll with the list of ingredients and how to prepare the drink a la 18th century Transylvania.
This is a great romantic gift, a good exercise of discovering and guessing spices, and an actual recipe for a tasy drink.
Read more about the actual recipe and original containers for the Elixir of Love from the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania.

The Elixir of Love from Atelierul de istorie

Glass vial with the ingredients for the Baroque Elixir of Love

The Elixir of Love, sold with instructions and red ribbon



An 18th century apothecary chest

This apothecary chest, preserved at the History of Pharmacy Museum in Cluj-Napoca, was the 18th century variant of the first aid kit. Noble families carried them around during their numerous travels through Transylvania and abroad, when they did not have easy access to doctors, pharmacists, or apothecary shops. Most of the contents are common, such as mustard seeds, but others were exotic and expensive. This apothecary chest, the property of noblewoman Tereza Kemény, also included two small jars and one drawer for bezoar stones or powders. Bezoars were stones from the stomach of ruminants from Asia or America, believed to be the most powerful antidotes. In a world where nobles were obsessed with the fear of being poisoned, such presumed medicines were very much in demand, though some contested their efficacy even back then.
The apothecary chest of Tereza Kemény

Two small jars with signatures including alchemical symbols on the paper lids - bezoar powders

"Bezoard" inscribed on one of the drawers of the portable pharmacy
Check out the museum's new IZI travel profile, with free audio tours and presentations in both Romanian and English:
The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj, the second in Transylvania after the museum in Sibiu, is part of the National History Museum of Transylvania the main exhibition of which is closed, but several temporary exhibitions are always on display. When visiting Cluj, be sure to check it out as well, in the city's most beautiful pedestrian square, called because of it Museum's Square.


Art bookmarks

The fast-approaching history book fair VOLUMEN, to be held by Virtus Antiqua NGO at Camp Virtus near Cluj-Napoca, includes the selling of special bookmarks inspired by history or art. 
These handmade bookmarks, created through techniques such as printmaking (linocut, monotypia) or openwork&collage leather, are produced by Atelierul de istorie or the Transylvanian Trove. 
Most of them depict the ancient Dacian war standard, the mythical half wolf half serpent creature Draco, others the fish-boar hybrid of the Getae, but there are also contemporary art ones - colorful, graphic, fresh. Take your pick for the best accessories while reading history!
Handmade leather bookmark - Draco - gray and red

Handmade leather bookmark - Draco - gray and white

Different color combinations of handmade leather bookmarks with Draco

Linocut bookmarks Draco black and white

Detail of the above

Linocut bookmarks inspired by a symbol of the ancient Getae

Lincout bookmark, contemporary art, numbers

Linocut bookmark, contemporary art, geometric print


VOLUMEN - special history book fair near Cluj

The 2017 season starts shortly at Camp Virtus, my NGO's historical park in the making near Cluj-Napoca, in Salicea. The opening event, prepared for April 29th, is entitled VOLUMEN as it mainly consists of a special book fair, focusing on history books, periodicals, and articles (extracts). Old and new history books are available in English, Romanian, even Slovak, dealing with periods between Classical Antiquity and the Early Modern Period in Central and Eastern Europe - mostly Romania. There will be free history books, special prices for author volumes, and history-inspired bookmarks.

We shall use the occasion to present a special project of ours, Labyrinth through time, financed by the National Cultural Fund Administration of Romania. Those who wish to become involved this year, together with their families, in reenactment weekend workshops and an autumn festival, are welcome to find out all about it!
More about the event, in Romanian HERE.
More about the project, in Romanian, HERE.


Happy Easter!

My Easter egg painting project this year combines acrylic color and marker graphic designs, a bit in line with last year's batch, light and fun. See my 2016 and 2014 egg decoration projects HERE.
So here are my Happy Easter wishes for all of you who celebrate today or just enjoy a good occasion to spend family time and gourmet experiences :)
Easter wishes with an ancient Dacian twist from #Atelieruldeistorie



Lemonade for Easter

During the eighteenth century, pharmacists in Transylvania used to visit the doctors in heir towns with gifts for the main holidays of the year, in order to have them refer patients with prescriptions to their shops and not to those of their competitors. Such gifts consisted of new exotic goods, such as white cane sugar, coffee, or citrus fruits. Tobias Maucksch, one of the pharmacists in Cluj, recommended his son, a pharmacist-to-be, to offer six lemons to respected doctors and only three to young doctors who did not write many prescriptions. Citrus fruits were relatively new in Transylvania at the time, thus much in demand, and lemon juice was even recommended against the plague - as not much was known about the disease.
We, at the Pharmacy Museum in Cluj-Napoca, wish you a Happy Easter and recommend a lemonade for digestion :)



Interactive areas in the museum

Museums are and must be restrictive in order to protect cultural patrimony, so we, at the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca, ask you not to touch the exhibits, not to pull out the drawers – though it might be tempting –  not to push the buttons of the old medical machines and not to take photos with flash.

A test for the senses at the Pharmacy Museum

Still, in three special areas we encourage you to touch! 
Thus, in the Materials’ Room we have prepared a test for the senses – you can smell and guess some of the ingredients used in the apothecary shops of old; in the Officina you can sit by the window bay and based on an old photograph imagine what the pharmacist saw outside in the beginning of the 20th century; and in the Room of Medical Technology you can analyze against the light and compare Xrays from the 1950s and today.
We know everybody wants to have their hands-on at the museum, so we hope he have reached an aceptable compromise. Feel free to visit us for the full experience!

Contemporary Xray (2015)

Xray from the 1950s
Street view across the pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, beginning of the 20th century


Monstera leaf-shaped leather earrings

My handmade leather earrings series has a new addition, inspired by tropical leaves and exotic decoration. I have thus created sexy Monstera leaf earrings, available in my Etsy shop the Transylvanian Trove.
These earrings, inspired by the fashionable shape of the tropical Monstera plant, are light and easy to wear. The asymmetrical design is meant to render the earrings more interesting and to make them nicely frame the face, while the perforations of different size allow for a special play of light and shadow. Due to these feature, the Monstera earrings shall certainly draw everyone's attention!
Multiple colors available - dark gray, coral red, light brown.
Dimensions (length): 5 cm (1.9 inches)
Silver-color metal hooks (common metal alloy).

Gray leather Monstera earrings by the Transylvanian Trove

Monstera leaf leather earrings, tropical leaf earrings, natural leather, handmade jewelry, floral pattern, designed in Transylvania, Romania

Feel free to check other unique earrings from Transylvania HERE.

And don't forget about the special price reduction available in April 201 - a spectacular 1% with coupon code APRIL JOKE :)



History-inspired car accessories

My online shop, Atelierul de istorie, proudly presents a new line of products inspired by history, namely by the Dacian civilization of ancient Romania. The lot includes three car accessories decorated with the war standard of this civilization, the mythical half wolf-half snake creature that the Romans called Draco (dragon in Latin). One does not know how the Dacians themselves called it:

The first is a miniature version of the Dacian hat worn by the nobles and aristocrats (tarabostes). The typical hat is entirely handmade out of black woolen cloth, with the draco hand-sewn on one side. The black elastic allows one to hang the mini hat from the rear mirror, though it can also be used as a key fob.

Dacian draco tiny Dacian hat - key fob or car accessory
The second item is a car sticker with the Draco inspired by an original linocut design of mine. The sticker is specially designed for outdoor conditions, but could also be used inside the car.

Dacian draco car sticker
The third products is a handmade leather car charm in shape of the same Dacian draco. Available in several color variants.
Leather car charm ancient Dacian draco



Scoala Altfel at Camp Virtus 2017

Part of the Romanian National alternative school days, Scoala Altfel, Virtus Antiqua NGO organizes historical reenactment activities at its center near Cluj-Napoca, at Camp Virtus. There shall be several interactive workshops: bow and arrow target practice, military equipment presentation (Roman soldiers, gladiators, ancient Dacians), daily life in Antiquity (sensory workshop - guessing by smell plants known and unknown during the ancient times; historical parallel of artifacts/objects from now and then with similar functions), and military formation exercises.
To get an idea, here are some image from last year's Scoala Altfel program at the Camp, in the village of Salicea, near Cluj:

Trying on a gladiator's manica

Roman military and religion

Explanation of Roman board games

Attempt at testudo

Target practice - the most effective activity

Guessing the primary materials of ancient Roman jewelry
Feel free to contact us for this year's activities or organizing special visits and events. Camp Virtus is open, for now, only on prenotation or during events organized by us. Stay up to date with our Facebook page and Twitter profile or subscribe to our newsletter.

Scoala Altfel 2017 la Camp Virtus - flyer


Einthoven Electrocardiograph, 1915

Einthoven Electrocardiograph at the History of Pharmacy Collecion in Cluj-Napoca

Detail of the above

Detail of the above

The Einthoven electrocardiograph, produced in 1915 in Paris by manufacturer G. Boulitte, is the most significant exhibit of the medical equipment collection at the History of Pharmacy Museum in Cluj-Napoca. The first machine of this type was invented in 1903 by Willem Einthoven who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1924. The machine on display, the size of a desk, has a single lead (contemporary ones have 12) and recorded the electric activity of the heart with the aid of electrodes placed on the skin. This item might well be the oldest electrocardiograph preserved from Romania. The machine, very significant for the history of medical technology in Transylvania and Romania in general, has been used and eventually donated to the museum by Prof. Dr. Ioan Zagrean from Cuj-Napoca.
The first mobile EKG machine was invented in 1937 and such later items are exhibited in the same area of the hall.


1% discount on Etsy :)

In tone with the Feast of Fools, I have decided to set up and promote a 1% discount available in April in my Transylvanian Trove Etsy shop! This fabulous discount is available with the APRILJOKE reduction coupon applied at the end of you shopping session, with excellent Transylvanian jewelry and vintage items in you shopping cart :))

1% discount on Etsy for Design accessories and collectibles from Transylvania
I believe in the psychological powder of reductions, no matter how insignificant! Let's see the spectacular increase in sales during April 2017!


Reconstructions of ancient Roman altars and ceremonies

My reenactment interests have led me to continue research on the topic of Roman altars and ceremonies, in preparation of the long-awaited start of our cultural project entitled Labirint prin timp (Labyrinth through time). The Virtus Antiqua NGO from Cluj/Napoca plans on organizing this summer a series of reenactment activities with families of volunteers at our center and historical park in the making, Camp Virtus.
I have thus prepared a handout on the topic and a Pinterest album presented similar initiatives. We shall pay closer attention to how the Romans built their altars, how many types of altars they had, how they were decorated and what kind of rites and ceremonies were performed.
HERE is the Pinterest album in which you can explore Roman reconstructions of public altars, lararia, ritual offerings and sacrifices such as the famous suovetaurillia. 



Red from the Transylvanian Trove on Etsy

My favorite listings in my third Etsy shop, the Transylvanian Trove, happen to be color-related. I favor all red items, either jewelry or vintage prints, as they form a rather aesthetically pleasing group. The shop aims at promoting the creativity and artistic sense of all Transylvanians, past and present, and to contribute to the region's image of more than the land of Dracula. Feel free to check it out and start discovering more about Transylvania, its vampire past and rural beauty. Here is something about art and crafts from the heart of Romania:

Long red necklace/bracelet, small glass beads on metal string, handmade jewelry from Communist Romania, Transylvania

This long necklace or bracelet is made of small red glass beads on metal string. It is an handmade item made and worn by women during the Communist period in Romania, when not much jewelry was available on the market. Closing system with metal screw (twist) style clasp. 

Octopus leather earrings, animal earrings, handmade jewelry, natural leather, 3D, designed in Transylvania, trendy accessories, Romania

This pair of octopus leather earrings, entirely made by hand and with a modern design, are my own creation. The 3D effect is generated by the combination of overlapping leathers - varying in color, thickness and texture. Each pair is slightly asymmetrical, framing the wearer's face - and this adds to the overall modern effect :) Due to the primary material employed, these statement earrings and light, warm and comfortable to wear.

Large red earrings, modern jewelry, statement earrings, art earrings, fashion accessories, designed in Transylvania, Romania, gift for her

These vintage large earrings are made of red plexiglass and copper wire. Entirely handmade in Transylvania. This unique pair of earrings is daring and a great example of statement jewelry.

Heart flowers, original vintage etching print after an eighteenth century plate, small view of Targu Mures city, Transylvania, Baroque deco

Lovely small print after an original eighteenth-century plate with Baroque decoration. Under the central floral composition one can see on the left a small city vedutta (probably a view of Targu Mures, in Transylvania) and the engraver's name and year: Josephus Vasarhellyi (in Latinized Hungarian meaning Joseph from Vasarhely=Targu Mures) 1772.