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Creative shifts of Jana Menkynová

by Agáta Žáčková

Jana Menkynová has been an artist in the Centre of Folk Art Production in Bratislava for 33 years. In her creation, she returned to simple, centuries-approved shapes for objects, where she finds a suitable niche even nowadays. The whole of this creative process takes place cooperating with the producers, whom she consults on the given problem area and then bases her creations on their experience and abilities.

The summary exhibition of Jana Menkynová in 1979 in Bratislava became a defining moment not only in her personal artistic and designer work but also in ÚĽUV’s development. She outlined a new programme oriented to new aesthetic, visual and functional enforcement of objects based on traditional art and craft. J. Menkynová has attained her most significant successes in designing non-textile materials. A full range of products made from twigs, splints and cornhusks were created according to her designs, and these hold a significant place in her production. She was interested in processing keratin in a programme focused on jewellery. Her leather pouches, bags, sacks and belts were for a long time the most popular selling articles at ÚĽUV. She used traditional methods of sewing and decoration on them – tassels from shepherd’s pouches, ornaments from folk shirts and fur coats. She used decorative techniques and motifs from traditional folk jewellery in her collection of contemporary metal jewellery with engraving and cut and slash ornamentation. Tinker trade’s techniques were at the foremost when designing jewellery (chains, necklaces, ear-rings, bracelets) as well as wired clay bowls, bottles, vessels and wired baskets. When processing wood, she also used traditional objects and technologies (chiselling, tinker’s trade, die-hard and iron cast). A separate chapter are her toys – wood collections: little houses and fair stands showing children a traditional way of life. She regularly returns to accessory objects such as honey cakes, decorations for Christmas trees made of hay, wood or dough and Easter eggs. Lately she has focused on using authentic patterns of bobbin lace from Solivar on tablecloths. As an artist, she also fulfils her duty in passing on her experience to the next generation.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 01/2001:


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