Today our desire to introduce you to the nominees of the Artisans and Craftsmen People’s Choice Award competition has brought us to Serbia. They know and love history and HMB.
We are now ready to present to you the Средњовековни Занати (Medieval Crafts) Workshop and its masters and owners Sava and Milena Grozdanović – a couple from Serbia making medieval items with love.
Their workshop produces a huge number of items for reenactors of the Middle Ages, HMB athletes and HEMA. You can find here items like belts, bags, caps, tunics, chausses, hoods, mugs, flasks, horse apparel, jewellery, gambesons, coifs, chain mail, archery accessories, arrows, crossbows, gloves, padded caps for under the helmet, padded pants, padded pieces for legs, tents and much more.
“We work with a lot of love and passion for the craft. We use natural materials like wool, linen, and cotton. For HMB we create the best gambesons you can find. Most of Serbia is equipped with our gambesons that are made from wool which is the best natural shock absorbent material.
We perfected gambesons because we created them for reen, HMB and HEMA. Created more than 150 tailored, custom individual pieces of gambesons”.
The workshop takes its craft very seriously and believes that every step in working on a product is important. Starting with research of historical items, deciding what materials to use, crafting methods and techniques, measuring the person, creating the pattern…
Any mistake in only one thing will bring the enjoyment for us down. We love it when a customer has a smile on his or her face for trying on for the very first time. Or when we see our products on our French, Rumanian, Bulgarian and many more our friends and customers”, said Sava.
This approach was appreciated not only by representatives of the HMB community and a group of reenactors, but also by the Serbian film company.
“We created items for the movie industry. And I am proud of the work done in that field. For example, we created one big order of PVC recurve horse bows that have 1lbs of draw weight for the TV series “Nemanjići”. They looked like real replicas”.
Today it is already a well-known workshop with a reputation and many clients, and it all began in 2008. Realizing that he likes the manufacturing process and the result, already in 2010 when Sava and his friends formed the re-enactment group “White Eagles” (Бели Орлови) a full-fledged workshop appeared in Serbia, where Sava Grozdanovic could realize his talent. And some years after Sava got married, his wife Milena joined him in crafting.
They like to create beautiful and practical objects and, of course, add something new to the assortment of their workshop. Sava told us a little about the process of developing a new product:
“If it’s a new product that I want to produce, first it starts with an idea and will. Now I will make a black jack mug, for example. I start sometimes from books that we already have or by searching on the net for surviving examples. The most important thing is to figure out how they were made back in the day. I need to understand the item. Why’s and how’s of that period. For black jack mugs they used bitumen to stiffen and make the leather non porous and watertight. I know that bitumen is poisonous for us, and not too tasty. That’s why I created “brown” jack mugs. It is only leather and pure bee’s wax.
After understanding the item and researching it I create a pattern, sometimes I fail and sometimes it’s a perfect copy. But every new iteration of the product is superior. After creating the pattern in paper (or digital) form we produced the first batch. After that it is just drinking beer with a hint of honey”.
In addition, it is worth noting that, until recently, the couple preferred not to put the workshop logo or any other identifying marks on their products. However, they decided to enter the European market and nevertheless developed a mark to distinguish their products.
“We did not ornament any of our items with any kind of logo. Because we did not want to devalue the item by stamping a non-authentic logo on them. But now we are in the process of making a website and researching the possibility of expanding into the EU. That’s why we created a simple but recognisable logo that we can stamp, inside of a bag for example. It’s MW with a needle and thread in between. “MW” stands for Medieval Workshop.
Our editors are sure that you are already familiar with the products of the workshop of Sava and Milena Grozdanović. We wish the couple great success in business and thank them for the interview.
In the meantime, we are preparing a new article for you about another nominees of the Artisans and Craftsmen People’s Choice Award competition, and we invite you to remember those wonderful crafters who we have already talked about earlier:
Henrikas Viteika workshop from the UK
Workshop of Anna Muzalevskaya from Russia
Historicum workshop from Poland
Past Time Pedlar workshop from the UK
Ivan Lukic, craftsman from Serbia
Patterson Shieldcraft from the UK
Racaire’s Workshop from the USA
Knight Art Workshop from France
Rogday’s Craft” Yar-Tur workshop from Ukraine
Výroba štítů Workshop from Czech Republic.
Evil Russians workshop from New Zealand
Bogdan Mihaylov Worksop from Ukraine