Austria’s first Museum of Woman, interesting for its award-winning timber construction and its feminine take on culture. Through focussing on women’s perspectives – on all aspects of life – the collection illuminates traditional attitudes over the years. This is more than a history of customs, more than mere heritage preservation, more than you bargained on.
The Juppe workshop at Riefensberg is bringing new life to an artisan craft that had seemed moribund or extinct: creation of the Juppe or regional costume traditionally worn by women of the Bregenzerwald. When Luise and Manfred Fitz in the village of Egg announced in 1993 that they were closing their workshop on grounds of age, the last days of the magnificent festive Juppe seemed to have come. A key symbol of Bregenzerwald identity, recognised worldwide, was in acute peril of oblivion.
But then the cavalry arrived, in the form of the Riefensberg village community, the Vorarlberg state government, the Vorarlberg Association for Traditional Costume, and two further voluntary heritage preservation bodies, and galloped into action. To good effect. What had once been the village’s Gasthof Krone was subjected to a close going-over and found to be admirably suited for conversion to a museum-cum-workshop. And so it came about that the new centre for Juppe-making was established in the very community to which we owe the oldest extant illustration of the Bregenzerwald women’s traditional costume.
Petra Raid works with potter’s clay. She kick-starts – and then keeps a steadying hand on – creative processes that are bringing change to how the whole region perceives itself.
Petra Raid is a refreshingly down-to-earth person. That her professional work is with clay of all things (earth by another name) is only a fluke. But it seems appropriate.
She specialises in smoke-fired ceramics. This process “cooks” the clay until it is as earthy as the colours are earthy.
The Krone has juppe-clad figures by Petra Raid: “These figures’ nobility of bearing, their Gothic sublimity, evoke the fearless uprightness, physical and moral, with which the proud women of the Wald lived their lives.” (Elisabeth Stöckler).
LandHand – hands that create value
The Bregenzerwald and all of Vorarlberg have more to offer than you can imagine. Culture and long-established craft trades are to the fore all across the region. Treat yourself and your family and friends to an hour or two observing at close quarters as local artisans apply ancient techniques and rigorous quality control to the business of creating things. Or you can go further and make things yourself, under guidance – depending on what skills are available, it might be garden tools, or kitchen utensils, or a range of products from textiles, wood and many other materials. Under expert guidance from the LandHand artisans, you will come away with your own unique creation.
Do visit the LandHand website and browse the wide range of available offers. You’ll get some surprises.
Often simply KUB to locals, the Bregenz House of Art is a design by the famous Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Singled out, not surprisingly, for several design awards, the KUB is among the most important examples anywhere of contemporary museum architecture. Conceived as a naturally lit museum, the building is much admired for its meaningful external proportions and radical implementation of its basic spatial concept. The ground floor and three stacked storeys above, with their lovely cladding and formal perfection, generate a harmonious entity of immense aesthetic potential. For artists exhibiting there, the building’s architecture confers the significant benefits of real-world scale and conceptual stimulus, especially for new productions embracing entire work sequences. The design is thus an integral and indispensable component of the international exhibitions programme.
When its Schubert festival comes round, twice every year, the little village of Schwarzenberg on the sill of the Bregenzerwald becomes the heart and centre of the chamber music world. It unfailingly attracts superb soloists and world-famous ensembles who come here to make music in a wholly unspoilt, characterful rural setting.
Come for the Schubert music, and let the Krone look after you. Guests from all over are in the Krone before and after the concerts – dining, discussing, appraising, analysing. So much to enjoy. Coach transfers to and from Schwarzenberg.
Spectacular performances out on the lake, rare operas premiered in the Festspielhaus, opulent orchestral concerts, trendy theatre shows. Nestling between the vast lake and the mountains, Bregenz is a phenomenal backdrop for this cultural feast. Come to enjoy the unforgettable festival on the lake stage at Bregenz.