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Bratislava castle tells tinker stories

SLOVAK grannies certainly remember the times, when tinkers came to their village and called out their typical Hrnce, misky, drótovať! (Pots and bowls to tinker!). Almost every house collected some dishes that broke or were damaged since the last visit of the tinker. With little possibility to replace dishes with new ones, the homemakers looked forward with much anticipation to the arrival of these wandering menders. As they set to work they also told stories of their experiences in distant and different places.

photo: SITA

SLOVAK grannies certainly remember the times, when tinkers came to their village and called out their typical Hrnce, misky, drótovať! (Pots and bowls to tinker!). Almost every house collected some dishes that broke or were damaged since the last visit of the tinker. With little possibility to replace dishes with new ones, the homemakers looked forward with much anticipation to the arrival of these wandering menders. As they set to work they also told stories of their experiences in distant and different places.

If you would like to hear some of these stories, in English, visit Bratislava Castle these days. An exhibition on Slovak tinkers explores this traditional and typical Slovak craft.

Three museums - Bratislava's Historical Museum, Martin's Ethnographic Museum and Žilina's Považské Museum - met to work out the details of the exhibition. This cooperation resulted in an extensive display of the

photo: SNM

tinkers' products and life.

Looking at the mended dishes from the time might seem strange today in our disposable world when a store with brand new, cheap dishes is just a mouse click away. But one has to realize that at the beginning of the 20th century, it took what seemed like ages before a peddler passed through the village. Also, when looking at the exhibits, one cannot help but admire and wonder at the skillful and imaginative way the tinkers brought the pieces of the broken dishes together with nothing more than wire. Their completed works are amazing designs, an artistic reminder of the good old days.

A visitor to the exhibition will learn that Slovak tinkers travelled to Russia and America in addition to wandering all over Europe. "They literally conquered the world with their products," the organisers say in their press release.

photo: SITA

Apart from a historical view of tinkering, the castle's palace also displays the works of contemporary tinkers. Several artisans have expanded the traditional Slovak craft into totally new dimensions. It well illustrates the unlimited fantasy when working with wire.

The exhibition will run daily until the end of September from 9:00 to 18:00. Visitors will find the exhibits on the second floor of the Bratislava Castle's palace. If you wish to be accompanied with an English-speaking guide, contact the museum two days in advance at 02/5972-4216.

You can also learn the craft of tinkery from experienced artistic tinkers. Workshops, that are also conducted in English, for adults and children will start in August. For exact dates call the museum or check www.snm-hm.sk.


- ZH

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