Drotárstvo, wire craft and art


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Inscribed in 2019 (14.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Slovak Intangible Cultural Heritage Centre, 2018

Drotárstvo, wire craft and art refers to the technique of manufacturing using wire. In the 18th century, wire craftsmen discovered the interesting properties of wire and developed a simple technique based on manual bending, binding and interlacing metal fibers without welding or soldering, a technique still used to this day. Initially, wire art and craft was a complementary task performed by labourers to repair ceramics and cookware and produce and sell simple wire tools. In the 19th century, the practice became an autonomous craft, and since the 20th century, wire craftspeople have used wire to produce tools for daily use and art objects. As in the past, they react flexibly to the demands of the local market and enrich the traditional collection with new goods or art objects. The current range of materials also includes new types of wire used in unusual combinations with other previously unknown materials. Currently, the bearers and practitioners work mainly at the artistic level, selling their art products at various fairs, festivals, etc. Some practitioners come from families with a multi-generational tradition of transmitting these related skills, and there are also voluntary craft associations and clubs. The current practice develops old traditions and techniques to create new, beautiful forms, demonstrating its continued viability and respect for the old wire craftsmen.