Our World Fabrics hold rich yarns on Czech life

STEPHEN SCOURFIELD finds himself caught up in the tapestry that is Prague

Born and bred in Prague, Martin Muzik was a French teacher. “But I found out I don’t like kids,” he tells me. “Well, I have my own son. I like kids. But not 25 together in a classroom.” He add, shyly: “I think I’m too… (and pauses)… nice.”

Which is why he is here by the Vltava River on a Sunday morning, sitting at a loom, which is almost 100 years old.

“I needed another job and a friend suggested this.”

And so the little Rucni Tkani weavers company was born, and now Martin and three colleagues run three looms, with two more antique looms about to be added to the company.

Cotton and silk warp and weft combine subtle colours in fabrics used for bags, scarves and other clothing.

During weekdays, Rucni Tkani has a stall near Municipal House. But at weekends, he’s here, near the end of Charles Bridge.

It’s a prime spot for tourists, of course, and City of Prague statistics show there were 7.9 million visitors in 2018. There have been massive increases in recent years — in 2012, there were 5.7 million.

Most come from Germany, many from the US, and only 72,000 from Australia.

National figures show an overall 21.3 million people visited the Czech Republic last year.

And without doubt, most of Rucni Tkani’s fabrics will be sold to tourists, to be tucked into suitcases, to travel the world.

Read the full story, and more, at thewest.com.au.

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