The article deals with a series of aspects defining the “craftwork” process as a technical and artistic effort among the contemporary representatives of the peasant traditions in Romania. With respect to the craftsmanship from several Romanian ethnographic areas, three main chapters organize the present text as regards the origin of the artisans’ knowledge and skills, their craft techniques, and the folk art thus inherited, performed, and transmitted. As will be seen, “mastery” (in this case) may reflect various but also interdependent phenomena like dexterity, “gift”, handwork, “the craft theft”, the management of raw materials and their properties, the imagining of an artifact and creativity in its execution, etc. Since all these facts (among others as well) are difficult to encompass in a single referential term, choosing the word mastery meets at the same time exigencies of etymology (- lat. magister), semantics (mastery as “skillfulness”, “ingenuity”, “ability”…) and ethnography (pasărea măiastră, in Romanian “fantastic bird” as a folk artifact).
Keywords: artisanship, craft handwork, Romania.