Interesting experiences at the memorial camp in Romania

At the Sto Foundation's memorial camp in Martinsdorf, 20 trainees in the craft trade of painting mastered specialist craft trade techniques. The memorial camp in Romania may be repeated in 2022.

Twenty trainees from Germany, Austria and Switzerland gained experience in the areas of church painting, restoration and the protection of memorials under the guidance of recognised specialists from the painting and varnishing craft trade. As part of the 10-day memorial camp run by the non-profit Sto Foundation, trainees were taught specialist craft trade techniques together with the architectural history and culture. 

They were able to put their newly acquired knowledge into practice in a medieval fortress church in Martinsdorf (Metiş) and a church in Mardisch (Moardăș). They revealed biblical texts in casein paintings on the gallery of the church in Mardisch and removed successive paint layers in sample sections on the stairs in the rectory in Martinsdorf to determine how many layers had been applied over the centuries. 

Many interesting workshops

At the Sto Foundation memorial camp, trainee painters removed successive paint layers in sample sections on the stairs to determine how many layers had been applied over the centuries. 

In the grisaille workshop, those attending the memorial camp learned how to paint on profiles, rosettes and pillars to make them look three dimensional. Using stencilling with dry pigments they discovered another interesting glazing technique which is hardly practised today.

"There were lots of workshops and they were all very interesting," enthuses participant Séline Allet. "We learned about lots of techniques which I really wasn't even aware of."

To help expand the horizons of the young craftspeople, the programme also included a number of trips with a cultural focus. These addressed the history of the country and its architecture, material science and the culture of building.

The Martinsdorf craftsperson training school project facilitates working and learning across the trades to support the crafts trades in Europe. Approximately 60 trainees each year work on the restoration of the church rectory.

The trainees were unanimous in their summary of the experience: lots of new knowledge on craftsmanship and building culture and a really great team experience, for which all involved would happily repeat the trip to Transylvania.

"The chances are we will also be making the trip again next year with a new group of trainees," explains Gregor Botzet, member of the Foundation Board Craft at the Sto Foundation and specialist teacher at the Ferdinand-Braun-Schule in Fulda.

Source: (online magazine of the German crafts sector), revised by iMOVE, February 2022