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Ferdiš Kostka Heir to hundreds of years old tradition

by Milan Greguš

Ferdiš Kostka: Stupava musicians, 1930We celebrated 130th anniversary of the birth of Stupava-born jug-maker and ceramist Ferdiš Kostka at the end of last year. Ferdiš Kostka maintained the family tradition of the popular and large family of Putz (Pucz) from the town of Stupava. Kostka was born on 11th October 1878 in Stupava. He was raised in father’s jug making workshop which was run by his brother Ján after father’s death. After completing the elementary school between 1884 – 1891, Ferdiš started as an apprentice in the workshop of his brother Ján. After completing formal journeyman training, he worked with his brother Ján in the family workshop in Stupava. Ján had a feeling for colours and drawing and Ferdiš was good in clay shaping. They exhibited their products in the world exhibition in Vienna (1873), at the Ethnographic Czecho-Slavonic Exhibition in Prague (1895), at the Millennium Exhibition in Budapest (1896) and at the world exhibition in Brussels (1897) from which they brought an award.

After WWI and without brother Ján, Ferdiš reconstructed the damaged workshop and revived it. His two children Arnošt and Magda spent their childhood in father´s workshop and sought to maintain the tradition of their ancestors. A museum devoted to Ferdiš Kostka was established in his old house and the workshop in 1968.

Kostka´s talent for observing models and shaping made him to concentrate on making various figures. With time, he got to know the value of unique expression he gave to folk figures. He was making figures of people from Stupava – women making butter, resting hunters, beggars, and wine-makers at work, farmers or musicians. His Jug-making depicts the whole process of making in a family jug making workshop, from clay to sale. Kostka worked only with own hands. It had been the figures of Ferdiš Kostka that revived the popularity of the Stupava workshop.

Ferdiš Kostka was awarded the artist of the nation title in 1946. He was the first person who was awarded a new, the most honourable prize in Czechoslovakia. He was active in work until his death. Kostka died on 28th July 1951, when he was almost 73. Master Ferdiš Kostka´s funeral was the first state funeral in Stupava. The bust at his gravestone was made by Ferdiš´s nephew, sculptor Jozef Kostka.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 01/2009:


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