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Large animated woodcarving completed

THE HANDMADE woodcarving imported from Slovakia depicting folk life, as it has existed there for centuries, is now complete. Believed to be the largest animated wood carving in North America, this unique display is 17 feet wide, six feet deep and eight feet tall and features 82 life-like, moving figures.

AMERICA received a wood-carved depiction of Slovak natural beauties and folk traditions.
photo: TASR

THE HANDMADE woodcarving imported from Slovakia depicting folk life, as it has existed there for centuries, is now complete. Believed to be the largest animated wood carving in North America, this unique display is 17 feet wide, six feet deep and eight feet tall and features 82 life-like, moving figures.

It is the work of Jozef Pekara, an 84 year-old master woodcarver who passed away on April 14, 2005, just six weeks after he completed his part in this masterful creation.

It is now on permanent display at the Slovak Folk Crafts store in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Pekara was also behind the world's largest animated woodcarving, located in Rajeská Lesná, north-central Slovakia. It is 28 feet wide, eight feet deep and ten feet tall.

After Pekara passed away, Vlado Tomko and his former student, Miloš Karabin, both living in Prešov, carried out the carving. Hand-carved from basswood, it took these three skilled craftsmen two-and-a-half years to finish the work.

The 36 scenes in the display are situated according to where they are located geographically in Slovakia. For example, the Tatra Mountains peak, which can be found in north-central Slovakia, is placed at the top centre of the work. There are scale models of several large churches in eastern Slovakia, as well as Spiš castle and Spišská Kapitula monastery. The focal point is a large manger scene with 13 moving figures representing people from all walks of life coming to pay their respects to baby Jesus.

Some of the animated scenes recently added to the display include a woman churning butter, a boy riding a rocking horse, a man getting a drink from a cup, two men sawing a log, and two men rolling logs into an operating sawmill. Also included is a man ringing a church bell; a miner; and women scutching flax, winding the flax fibbers, spinning it into thread, and finally weaving it on a loom.

The animation is done by an ingenious arrangement of pulleys, leather belts, gears and levers powered by six windshield wiper motors for Volvo trucks. The back of the display is open so visitors can see how the animation works.


Slovak Folk Crafts is located in Grove City, PA at 1605 S. Center St. on Route 208, one mile east of Pennsylvania exit 113 on Interstate I-79 near the Grove City factory outlets. Store hours are Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00, except holidays. Visit www.SlovakFolkCrafts.com for more details and photographs.


By Spectator staff
from press release

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