Traveling Journeymen restoring old cemeteries, large crosses resume activity after 300yrs

The Traveling Journeymen, extremely well-known in the Middle Ages, who traveled from place to place with tools on their backs and restored old cemeteries, dungeons, large wooden or stone crossroads crosses or repaired anything people had in their yards, are resuming their activity after almost 300 years, following a project initiated by the artist Ioan Astalus.

The Traveling Journeymen will start their journey next year, and among them will be found young people initiated in various arts – sculpture, painting, iron, wood and clay processing – in the first Art Camp organized this summer in the village of Gambut, Bichis commune, in a project of the Buckner Foundation from Tarnaveni, the central Mures County.

“Working with the modeling, with the young participants in the camp, we thought that next year we should initiate an action, to revive something after a long time. 300-400 years ago, in the Middle Ages, there were traveling journeymen, artists or apprentices. They traveled from burg to burg, from city to city, from village to village, where they restored monuments, rebuilt cemeteries, repaired dungeons, so basically they were artists who earned their living through this work. An ambitious project of mine is to attract as many art lovers as possible, as many adventure lovers as possible, because, ultimately, it is an ideational, fantastic adventure to see, know and live only from what you work on. We are going to meet next summer and with only a bag in which we have the necessary tools for sculpture and painting, we want to cover Transylvania on foot and, with God’s help, cross the mountains afterwards,” the artist Ioan Astalus, co- organizer of the Art Camp from Gambut, said.

Astalus said that the main target of the Traveling Journeymen are the old cemeteries that are no longer maintained by the descendants, the wooden or stone crosses on the route, they will repair fences at the request of the owners and everything that will be needed.

“Because we will make an itinerary, just like the Wine Route, there will also be the Traveling Journeymen’s Route. The departure will be from Gambut and the return will also be to Gambut, because otherwise we cannot prove that the earth is round,” Ioan Astalus said.

The Buckner Foundation from Tarnaveni, together with the artist Ioan Astalus and other volunteer teachers, initiates around 20 teenagers in almost extinct crafts, so that they learn the secrets of traditional sculpture, painting, metalworking and clay, in the first Art Camp in the Gambut village, the Bichis commune.