New attraction in Gemer, glowing pliers as tribute to smiths

A new symbol of Hnúšťa’s history will soon have an honorary place.

(Source: Marcela Ballová/Michal Purdek)

A smith without pliers is like a barber without a razor. Martin Jackuliak, the artistic smith from Rimavské Zalužany near Rimavská Sobota in southern Slovakia, has several of them. He also has a pair of pliers nobody else has.

A helping hand in the heart of Europe offers for you Slovakia travel guide. A helping hand in the heart of Europe offers for you Slovakia travel guide. (Source: )

Looking at it will take your breath away. They are five metres tall and weigh about 200 kilograms. They are proof that when an interesting idea, imagination and skills turn into reality, an original workpiece will result.

Martin’s workpiece started in the 35th year of the Letavy summer art camp on the hills above the village of Kokava nad Rimavicou.

“My model was smiths’ pliers I made on my own about a year ago. The monumental functioning pliers are basically an enlargement at a scale of 10:1,” the smith said, adding that it took about a month to create the large pliers. “I started creating them at Letavy and then I worked for about another week on them in my workshop at home.”

He was finishing the pliers during the 12th year of the sculptor symposium at Šariš Castle, but the final work was done at home.

Tribute to smiths’ craft

A unique piece from the workshop of Martin Jackuliak has recently become a target of the camera lens. The aforementioned pliers,painted with phosphorus shone under the star on a meadow in Kraskov. The result are interesting photos by Michal Purdek, Erik Medveď and Eva Ulická.

A glance at the glowing pliers leaves room for imagination. They have a fairy-tale-like atmosphere.

They will have their place

The original pliers should become part of the prepared educational path near Hnúšťa.

“Hnúšťa's past and its surroundings are connected to the iron and mining industry, so I think that there is symbolic meaning,” the smith said.

The mayor of Hnúšťa, Roman Lebeda, confirmed his words.

“We have already chosen a specific place with a view of the Low Tatras for this original piece,” Lebeda said. “The pliers caught our attention because they represent the most famous part of the history of the town and region, times when the first coke furnace in Slovakia was built in Likier and most of the crude iron from the entire Hungarian Empire was produced in Hnúšťa.”

Besides the big plant in Likier, there was a smaller plant in Maša, where various iron tools up to 1923 were produced, probably also pliers, the mayor added.

Admirable creation

A giant pair of pliers are not the only original piece by Martin Jackuliak. Visitors of Domaša-Dobrá are probably familiar with a 2.5-metre-tall anchor. Visitors to the manor house in Petrovany near Košice cannot fail to notice the 6-metre-tall pendulum.

“Previously, it was located in the amphitheatre in Prešov,” Jackuliak said, praising his cooperation with Juraj Špalko.

Creativity and skills in the family

Jackuliak grew up in a family rich in skills and creativity. He admired his father's creation of knives. His mother gave life to flower headbands, various hair accessories, and hats.

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“My father's creations certainly impacted my further direction,” the smith said, who is working on an iron gate in the shape of a mandala.

He studied art smithery in Kremnica and then worked at various places. He has also created knives, functional tools and artistic items, Jackuliak said.

“This is the path I would like to take,” he summed up. “To create my own objects, not copies from the internet. Such objects that would catch attention with their creativity and originality.”

© My Novohrad

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