The “voufa” (weaving machine) is known in many places of Cyprus.
In old times being a (female) weaver was a very good profession since textiles –in those days –were hard to find and very expensive for someone to have.
With the weaving machine they weaved cloth out of silk that came from the processing of the silkworm’s cocoon. Wedding dresses and bridegroom’s shirts were sawed out of these silk cloths. For the making of sheets, they weaved the thread produced by cannabis and used the wool that they weaved out of sheep for scarves.
However the “kkilimia” or “pepsia” (woven carpet) as they were usually called in the village were the main job for the weaving machine. Out of old clothes that the family no longer needed, they would cut out stripes and spin them with threads thus creating new fabrics. This proves that the inhabitants of the community were the best recyclists.
There are no weavers in the village today; the last one that existed was the mother of the Archbishop of Cyprus, Mrs Thekla Christodoulou.
The craft of wood carving in the community of Tala was limited to the making of several agriculture / farming tools and various furniture for the house. A bit of carving craftsmanship, with representations of flowers, birds, and other decorative elements, was used upon the cabinets and on the mirrors.
Some of the farming tools that were made then are the ploughshare along with the yoke, which were used for the cattle’s and cows’ harnessing in order to seed and cultivate the fields.
Also, wooden dippers were made for the stirring the “resi” (traditional wedding meal), the “palouze” (type of must-jelly), and the “trachanas” (soup / porridge with dried curd, flour, and lemon).
They made the “faoutes” (plural of “faouta”, from the italian “Fagotto”), with which they would pound the “resi” in hand; they were also using them for the pounding of the clothes (they pounded the clothes with the “faouta”, adding hot water and soap for the clean up).
They made pack-saddles for the donkeys, cases upon which they placed the water crocks, and the “mistarko” –a V shaped board upon which they placed their foot when wearing the “podina” (high leather boot).
Other tools that they made were the “kope” or “fournoftio”, which they used for inserting breads in the oven, and the planks upon which they placed the breads.
Unfortunately, all these things have vanished and only the tools, used today mainly for decoration purposes, are extant.
Today there are two persons in the village engaged with woodcraft to some extend, in a way not bearing an essential resemblance with the old craft but rather dealing with the making of old tools’ imitations and the processing of various wood or root types and their conversion to decorative items.
During older times, pumpkins were used as vessels for the keeping and carriage of water, wine, and oil.
To make them more resistant, they would smear them with terebinth tar (turpentine). Then they would begin to decorate them with various representations from that era. The whole procedure for the decoration of the pumpkins was called “ploumisma”.
Today the decoration of the pumpkins is done with the pyrographer; various representations of animals, birds, and several other decorative elements are created with it.
In the community of Tala today, there are still two persons that continue to do this job and possess a large collection of decorated pumpkins. These persons are Mr. Lambros Christodoulou and Mr. Vrasidas Neofytou.
One of the oldest traditional -passing from father to son -crafts that today, unfortunately, no longer exists is the making of ropes.
The ropes were made out of cannabis thread. The entire fabrication procedure lasted several days and was toilsome.
When the cannabis plant matured, it was cut and mounted on the “skoulia” to dry up in the fields. (“Skoulia” was the name for the stack created by the cut cannabis plants, which were placed upright). After several days and when the plants were dried up, they were carried and placed into water-tanks in the Chazeli region so that they would soak for 15 days. Then they were transferred to special areas where the “melitsies” (special wooden tools, like flax-pestles) were set up. The plants were bashed with these pestles until the cannabis wood/stems would break. When the cannabis wood broke, the cannabis remained. The cannabis wood was used for the lighting of the fire.
Afterwards the cannabis threads were taken and woven on the spinning wheel with the help of the distaff and the tsile.
Unfortunately, there is no one in the community today that is occupied with this craft and -as a result -another traditional, time-honoured, craft of our land has vanished
Olive Mill/Flower Mill
There used to be three olive mills in the community of Tala.
Inhabitants from the surrounding villages would come to these olive mills and grind their olives and their turpentine seeds so as to produce their oil.
Because of the great turnout by the inhabitants of the surrounding regions, the mills worked for many hours in order to be able to serve them.
This traditional way of making oil was continued until it was prohibited and the people had to take their olives to be milled in the new olive mills that were created. In this way another traditional -from father to son -trade has become part of the community’s history.
Today only two old olive mills are extant in the community, being decorative and reminding the inhabitants of the old days.
Milos (mill) was the name of the area where the Community Park of Tala was built. It was named like that because in that area a very old flourmill with an arch is partially extant. This Mill was one of the seven flourmills that existed in the community, which handled the grinding of wheat.
The pressure created by the fall of water from the “Milari” irrigation system revolved the millstones of the flourmill. This water would come out of the mountain that stands a little bit further from the Holy Priory of Agios Neofytos.
Due to the drought the water has been reduced to the minimum the last 15 years