Irene Koumandraki was born at Plaka Apokoronou, in Chania.
In 1969 studied at facculty of housekeeping in Kasteli. There she met the embroidery teacher, Aspasia Bikaki, who was a special person, sensitive with vision. She had dedicated her life to her children, as she called her schoolgirls, and to tradition. She wanted to introduce them to the art of Embroidery and to pass on the passion for folk tradition.
Irene with her love for embroidery and her exceptional performance, and Aspasia with her passion for tradition, join their forces. They collaborated in 1973 creating a Embroidery workshop.
At the beginning they buy old embroidery or they copy. They continue to create new embroidery in performances, from agricultural work and events.
Their work is beginning to be recognized.
• 1978 at the European Exhibition of Crafts, their work, "Cretan Wedding" was awarded
• 1980 in EOMMEX are awarded for their work.
• 1981 exhibit in Zurich and they became known to the Swiss.
• 1982 the Philological Association of Chania, organizes an exhibition and awards the two workers of our Folk Art and their work.
• 1985 were invited by the Athens Hilton, for the promotion of the old "CRETAN HOUSE"
• 1991 they collect all the old material that they have collected for so many years with passion, and create in Chania a functional Folklore Museum, with faithful representations of agricultural and household arts. In a room and their own workshop in action.
Εκεί δημιουργούν με μεράκι ,φαντασία, μνήμες, (χωρίς σχέδιο) μοναδικά κεντητά έργα τέχνης.
A book-album is published with their works and exhibitions follow in Athens, Chania, Rethymno.
Since 2013, when Ms. Aspasia Bikaki passed away, Irini continues faithfully in all areas.
It maintains and enriches the Folklore Museum, while at the same time, it creates with the same passion, new works, small or large NAIVE ART, in the footsteps of our grandmothers, always faith in our roots.
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