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Juraj Zajonc: Božena Janeková – Connecting traditional and contemporary values

After graduating from the trade school for female professions, Božena Janeková (1929) started work as a drawing artist in folk costume documentation at ÚĽUV. Using drawing, she captured the details and ornaments of costume decoration. Her specialist and artistic direction led ÚĽUV to send her to study at the Institute of Artistic Production in Prague. In the period 1956 - 1957 she took a course in bobbin and sewn laces. She took over the department of laces at ÚĽUV in 1959 and created her first lace design in 1960. This design joined together elements of traditional lace with the experience from her Prague studies. Janeková was very familiar with the individual lace centres of Slovakia and was in personal contact with many lace creators. She directed them, overlooked the quality of their work, and at the same time ensured the preservation and development of regional types of laces. In 1979 she became director of development at ÚĽUV. She continued to work as an artist in the field of lace until 1989 when she retired. Her ability to estimate the quality of lace work, communicate with the creators and motivate them, together with her skill of sketching and weaving the lace pattern was the stimulus for her rich and variable lace creations. These range from traditional lace up to unique, individual creations. The richest collection of Božena Janeková’s lace designs was intended for use on interior textiles and table decoration. She was also interested in the binding techniques used in the village environment to create tassels at the ends of textiles, a technique known as macramé in the urban environment. In connection with bobbin lace, she used the principle of weaving threads in a non-traditional manner. The basis of the Janeková’s free creations was using the technique of bobbin-laced tapestry to create decorative curtains and pictures. The decorative curtains represent a new dimension in lace processing, while the contouring of motifs led the author to wool fleece, a material which was not originally used in bobbin lace in Slovakia. Several bobbin-laced tapestries were created for the interiors of public buildings, for example for wedding or ceremonial places. Bobbin-laced jewellery is a specific area of her free creation, which she worked diligently on from the end of the 1970s. Božena Janeková gave direction to the creation of ÚĽUV and managed to transfer the values of traditional lace to contemporary modern patterns. This direction in the lace creations of ÚĽUV can still be observed.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 04/2004:


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