To Hold Your Heart in Your Teeth, Women’s Work

The Visual Language of the Romanian Blouse


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To Hold Your Heart In Your Teeth is a Romanian proverb that means to brave forward despite fear.

Made by generations of women, the folk garment of the Romanian blouse secured its language through times of fierce changes. This book is a cultural-historical biography of the blouse, from Neolithic beginnings in northeastern Romania and western Ukraine, through the period of folk revival, the communist era, and the post-communist immigration out of the region.

Weaving personal narrative with this historical research, Simona Bortiș-Schultz, author and designer of this book, is a New York-based child of this immigration.

To Hold Your Heart In Your Teeth is an homage as it stands in solidarity with generations of resilient women, writing out the design qualities of this feminine fortitude, and the charm of the garment they made to survive.


  • Typesoftcover
  • Dimensions159 mm x 235 mm / 6,22 x 9,21 inch (portrait)
  • Pages214
  • ISBN978-90-833501-6-5
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Release date20231127
  • BindingSwiss bound
  • PaperCordenons So Wool White Merinos 250 gr. (cover) and Munken Print White 18 90 gr. (inside)
  • Edition1250
  • Color5/5 cmyk + pms 485
  • PrinterPrinton, Tallin (EST)
  • FontMuseo Sans and MachoModular
  • Image specs58 Full color images, 17 black/white images
  • DetailsSwiss bound, sewn and glued book block, red yarn, loosely coming out of glue, flap on front cover, 1/0 debossing on front cover