MBQ [Mesteshukar ButiQ] is a Bucharest based social enterprise working on revaluing traditional Roma craftsmanship.
We know little of Roma craftsmen and their ancient skills. This cultural heritage can both contribute to changing attitudes towards the Roma and provide an opportunity to help families escape the grinding poverty in which so many of them live. With the support of the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership, MBQ [Meşteshukar ButiQ] has revisited many of these traditional crafts and developed updated collections in collaboration with international and local designers. This has been an ongoing journey of almost 5 years, and we are proud to present a collection of handcrafted products, their makers and their stories.
Radu Ion (Nevers) – silversmith
Radu Ion, known as Nevers, is a silversmith from Bucharest, and has been all his life. He learned the craft from his father, whose tools he remembers playing with at the age of eight or nine — twisting scraps of metal into rudimentary forms.
products: jewelry & home decor items
materials: silver, gold, copper, brass
challenges: sales & distribution
Victor Clopotar – copper smith
Victor Clopotar has worked as a coppersmith all his life. He is part of Căldărari, a Roma community in Transylvania that has worked in metal crafts for centuries.
products: cauldrons, kettles, coffee pots, distilleries
materials: copper, brass
challenges: raw materials, distribution & access to market
Nicu Drăgăn – wood carver
He comes from a family of wood carvers from Băbeni, Vâlcea. In 2018 he worked with Romanian designer Radu Abraham for the RDW award-winning collection, Contrasts.
products: plates, platters, bowls and small pieces of furniture
materials: poplar, lime, beech, willow
challenges: raw material, transport, distribution & sales