Fairs of folk crafts are being held annually in Nitra and other Slovak cities. Traditional artisans of Slovakia were woodcarvers, ceramicer, tinker, weavers, blacksmiths, potters, manufacturers of fujara (typical folk music instrument made of wood), manufacturers of strings, wicker products, laces, embroidery, jewelry, leather products and products from straw waste.
More information about Slovak folk crafts on the Centre for Folk Art Production.
Distinctive Slovak folk art includes naïve/primitive painting on wood or glass, sculptures of wood, stone or clay with pastoral or religious themes, painted Easter eggs, woodcut prints.
Traditional handicrafts include: Embroidery, lace, ceramics (faience or majolica), metal (wrought iron, handcast cowbells, tin and steel wire creations), wood carvings, fabrics with intricate woven or dyed decorations, costumes, baskets and other items woven from straw/grass/cornhusks.
Where to see folk arts and crafts:
Orava Gallery and Slanica Island of Art
Click here for more information.
Slovak National Museum/Museum of Ethography
Best collection of folk art , handicrafts – including folk costumes with distinctive embroidery designs and patterns for each region.
More info: www.snm.sk/?lang=eng§ion=sidl&org=5&id=21
Known for excellent collection of icons
[see Museum section]
Wooden churches in Eastern Slovakia
(Bardejov and Humene regions)
Some of best icons are still within churches.
More info: Churches/Cathedrals
Gallery of a Naïve Art (Galleria insitneho umenia)
Located in a reconstructed mill, this museum features more than 100 works by major Slovak naïve artists. Administered by Slovak National Gallery.
More info: http://www.muzeum.sk/default.php?obj=galeria&ix=snggiup
Slovak National Museum
Haban ceramics collection. The Haban or Anabaptists were persecuted elsewhere in Europe and settled here in the 17th century.
Tinkers’ Exhibit (at Povazie Museum in Zilina)
Until you see these creations, you won’t know why you should go. Tinkers create decorative and practical objects out of metal wire, which can be gold- and silver-plated and as intricately woven as lace. More than 300 items of this unique Slovak folk art are housed within a giant birdcage-like structure (made out of wire, naturally). Life-size human figures, birdcages, jewelboxes, baskets, fairy tale creatures, animals and birds. Tinkers of this area invented the modern shopping cart!
More info: http://www.muzeum.sk/default.php?obj=muzeum&ix=pvm
More than just about the techniques of caring for bees, this museum includes folk art objects — carved wooden decorations for beehives, often representing the owners.
More info: http://www.muzeum.sk/default.php?obj=muzeum&ix=mvns
(Ustredie l’udovej umeleckej vyroby)
Stores throughout Slovakia sell folk art and crafts by contemporary craftspeople. Main showroom in Bratislava, but shops also located in Banska Bystrica, Bardejov, Piestany, Tatranska Lomnica, Prestov and Kosice. ULUV is an organization dedicated to encouraging the development of folk artists and craftspeople, as well as cooperation between producers and designers. They also offer craft workshops.
More info: www.uluv.sk
Another chain of shops offering paintings, toys, ceramics and other items by Slovak artists and craftsman. Stores are located in Trencin, Zilina, Kosice and Bratislava.
More info: www.remesla.lawit.sk.
Interesting site on Slovak folk artists: www.slovakheritage.org/Folkartists/folkartists_home.htm
Slovak folk dance and music groups, such as the Slovak State Folk Ensemble (or SLUK – www.sluk.sk), the Lucnica ensemble (www.lucnica.sk), the Sarisan ensemble of Presov (www.sarisan.sk) and others have performed around the world. You can find performances in the major cities throughout the year, or during the many folk festivals (below). Folk dancing is also a living tradition in Slovak villages, where it is enjoyed at holidays, weddings, and other celebrations.
Slovak folk music uses an extraordinary 205 different kinds of instruments. Best known is the fujara – similar to a bassoon – traditionally played by shepherds. The making of fujaras, pipes and violins is also a craft practiced by hundreds of Slovaks to this day.