Bosna Quilts

This is how a Bosna Quilt is made

30.07.2021

A Bosna Quilt is the joint work of two women. Here, we show you the process step by step.

Each quilt is designed in Bregenz on Lake Constance, in Lucia Lienhard-Giesinger's studio.

This is where Lucia stores the fabrics Bosna Quilts are made of. In Lucia's studio, textile lovers find a little paradise. Countless small and large pieces of fabric can be found here in the finest color gradations. Lucia doesn't throw away even the smallest scrap. It is possible that this is exactly what she needs for the next quilt design. Lucia mainly uses cotton, Tencel and, occasionally, linen.

Lucia designs the quilt with the fabrics on the floor. She puts fabric on fabric, color on color, tries and discards again until she likes the design.

Then she uses pins to connect the pieces of fabric so that nothing slips because it will soon travel to Bosnia. Lucia also selects the threads with which the quilt is then sewn over. She determines the colors of the fabrics, but also the colors of the threads.

Now Lucia makes two sketches for each design. One with the colors showing the design of the quilt. And one with the exact dimensions. This helps the seamstress in Bosnia to position the colored areas correctly and sew them together.

When eleven quilt designs are ready - one for each Bosnian seamstress - the designs, threads and sketches are packed and sent to Bosnia.

The designs come to Goražde on the Drina. This is where the quilts are sewn and quilted.

Safira Hošo, the workshop’s Bosnia manager, picks up the quilt designs from the transport company in Sarajevo. Then all the seamstresses meet at her Goražde home and she distributes the work. The quilts are sewn by the women at home. As soon as a woman has finished her quilt, she returns it to Safira. When Safira has received all the finished quilts, she sends them to Austria.

Here, Mirza Mašić has already sewn the colored areas together with the sewing machine and with the help of Lucia's dimensional sketch.

Then the quilt is fed. The picture side is at the top. A thin, synthetic fleece is placed in the middle. At the back, she closes the quilt with a monochrome backing material. (The quilt is three-ply.) To prevent the layers from slipping out of place, Emina Hošo connects them with a yellow thread (it can be seen in the photo). This thread will be removed at the end. Emina has already started to pull the first quilt seams over the quilt. One of their favorite patterns is wavy lines. The waves of the Drina, she says.

Each seamstress decides which patterns she will use to sew the quilt. Every woman has developed her very own signature pattern over the years. Hedija Kazagić has only just started quilting here. You can see that she sews freely, without sketching. In Hedija's quilt, you can also see the yellow thread that will be removed later.

Vesna Malokas has sketched the ornament she wants to quilt with tailor's chalk.

Many hours later, the quilt is completely over-sewn – it is hard to say how many hours it takes. There are eleven different women, eleven temperaments and eleven life situations. Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes less, until a quilt is finished. But the quilts are usually finished after about five weeks.

Finally, the year of manufacture is embroidered, the label is sewn on and signed by both women. Now it's ready, the original Bosna Quilt.

A side note, but an important one: The Bosnian women are paid for their work as soon as they have finished sewing the quilt. They don't have to wait for their fee until the quilt is sold. The workshop in Bregenz bears this risk.

Bosna Quilts

Text: Lucia Lienhard-Giesinger, Daniel Lienhard, Laurenz Feinig.
Gestaltung: Grafische Praxis, Feldkirch, Development: weitweit.com
Fotografie: Daniel Lienhard, wo nicht anders angegeben