From the early Kosovan silver mines which are mentioned in Dante, through the twentieth century politics over Kosovo’s mines which resulted in both a war and a golf course, a silver thread winds through Kosovo’s history.
Its most intricate tanglings are in the country’s cultural capital, Prizren, where a seventh generation of filigree artisans use ‘filum’ and ‘granum’, zigzags, ‘mouse-tooth’ designs and other twists and turns to magic lacy creations from dull sticks of raw material. The results – in boxes, buttons, jewellery, religious ornamentation and the talismans of superstitition – are a fine narrative of Kosovo’s history and traditions.
Elizabeth studied at Magdalen College Oxford before training as a teacher and working in Lambeth, Hackney and Islington. She moved to Kosovo in 2006 and there worked with the Ethnological Museum in Prishtina and co-founded ‘The Ideas Partnership’, a charity working on education and cultural heritage projects. She speaks fluent Albanian and has translated two books (the unauthorized biography of Yugoslavia’s longest-held political prisoner, Adem Demaci, and the memoirs of one of the leaders of the 1912 uprising). Also the author of four books about Kosovo – “Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo” (2011), “Edith and I; on the trail of an Edwardian traveller in Kosovo” (2013), “The Rubbish-Picker’s Wife; an unlikely friendship in Kosovo” (2015) and “The Silver Thread; a journey through Balkan craftmanship” (2017), she is also a regular contributor to Radio 4 (Saturday Live, Excess Baggage, From Our Own Correspondent) and the BBC World Service.