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Manufacturer, folk craftsman or what?

Oľga Danglová

Manufacturer, folk craftsman or what?The answer to the question posed in the title is ambiguous and variable in time. The search must take into account several aspects related to the perception of the concept of traditional folk crafts and folk craft production, while forming its substance and significance. In the past, the cycle of the rural world, life and work, took place in one and the same location. People were closely tied to their homes, environment, the surrounding countryside and the resources that were available to them. They tried to be self-sufficient and what they needed to make a living, to ensure the smooth running of the economy, to make clothing, and to provide housing, were satisfied mostly from their own resources. Therefore they had to be skilled and proficient enough in a wide range of handicrafts and production activities, which were passed down from generation to generation. The products were manufactured for a particular locality and narrow territory. They were not anonymous. This was true even in the case of specialized producers and craftsmen. A characteristic feature of folk culture in Slovakia was also strong regionalism.
After the war, the beginning of socialism, folk producers and craftsmen quickly found themselves in an extremely unfavorable situation. Promoting modernization through tough Soviet-type collectivization, the transition to cooperative management led to the natural termination of a significant part of the production of hand crafts. Only certain kinds of handicrafts and production for own consumption or for the surrounding population survived. It was at this time that efforts were made to rescue the development of production cooperatives, especially by ÚĽUV, which had anchored a system of protection of traditional, unique technologies, designs and documentation directly in its job description.
The gradual transformation of time and cultural context also changed the status and profile of producers. The driving force of the peasant economy ceased to be self-supply, the result was the gradual decline to extinction of authentic home and craft production for own consumption and the target group became a rather wide range of anonymous consumers. The core difference between the aspirations and objectives of folk producers in the past and today, lies also in regulating the balance between reinforcing tradition, versus originality. It is possible to say that today's artisans and producers are folk artists in the sense of searching for current responses to ancient wisdom.



Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 01/2015:


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