Dimensions of visual arts in tinkery

Remarkable achievements of craftsmen in metal

6 February – 21 April 2007

Slavomír Pecuch



Curator of exhibition:
Katarína Hallonová

The production of applied and art objects from wire is a unique part of traditional Slovak folk culture. The craft called tinkery originated as an additional source of living for residents at infertile mountainous lands of north-west Slovakia and the Spiš region at the end of 17th century. Originally, tinkers were strengthening and fixing earthen-ware by embedding them into wire nets. Later, they switched to the production of simple utility items for farms and households. Hundreds of tinkers wandered the country to offer their services and were so popular due to their special appearance that they became the classic representatives of Slovak nation. Step by step, they crossed the borders of Hungary and introduced this craft, originally a very local phenomenon, to the world. Tinkers practised their craft in the whole territory of the Western Europe, Asia, North Africa and both Americas. Many relocated abroad and started to establish tinkery workshops, producing dozens types of popular products, in the mid 19th century. Tinkery was a very popular craft at that period and flourished at the turn of 19th and 20th century. However, the craft surrendered under the pressure of industrial production and became an extinct craft after the WWII.
Wire and tinkering techniques have astonishing creative potential and outstanding expressional opportunities. Thus, the tinkery tradition has remained a constant source of inspiration for the contemporary crafts, visual art and professional design. The contemporary artworks have borrowed from the construction of old tinkery products and the traditional binding of earthen-ware. Traditional folk crafts are inspiration for an original art opinion and unique creative work. Lines from metal fibre, weaves and nets define surface and volume and allow doing experiments with space and make the artworks ambiguous and multilayered items. Unlike wire line that helps to simplify the artistic expression. Of diverse scope of technological processes, a simple linear, spiral or loop weave and coupled machine lace nets are the most popular ones.


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