Tradition untraditionally: Natural weaving materials
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In 2023, ÚĽUV presents natural materials for weaving in traditional and contemporary craft as well as design in its year-round activities. The ambition of the new exhibition at the ÚĽUV Gallery in Bratislava, which continues the thematic cycle Tradition Untraditionally, is to show visitors the diversity and functionality of the works of master craftsmen, designers and students.
Basket-making, as a freeform type of weaving, is one of the oldest crafts. It was used by native cultures on all inhabited continents, and its technology and raw materials have survived almost unchanged until the present day. In pre-industrial times, and before the discovery of alternative materials in the 20th century, natural materials for weaving were important, easily obtainable, local and renewable. Wicker, straw and spliced wood were dominant in different regions of Slovakia. To a lesser extent, corn husks, cattails, as well as plant roots and bast fibre were also used. Combined with other materials, in particular solid wood or a metal structure, they offer opportunities for creative work on practical items such as furniture, small architectural features, fences, horse carts, etc. The exhibition showcases designer influences based on these materials: interpretations of the craft in furniture, lighting, woven items and objects made of spliced wood by various master craftsmen, professional designers and students. The challenge we face today is to support this segment through design. Basket-making techniques also provide an opportunity to develop design of traditional products.
“We see the future of using natural materials for weaving in the craft especially in sustainability. The environment-friendly cultivation, harvesting, processing and disposal of this affordable, easily renewable material gives the basketry a bright perspective. The advantage of practicing basketry at home, besides the skills of the craftsman and the materials, is that it does not require difficult and expensive tools.” states the exhibition curator, defining the contemporary opportunities offered by natural materials for weaving.
The items on display are on loan from the following collections: Museum of Folk Art Production, Slovak National Museum – History Museum Bratislava, Slovak National Museum – Ethnography Museum Martin, Slovak Design Museum, Bratislava City Museum, Trenčín Museum, Josef Vydra School of Applied Arts Bratislava, Faculty of Fine Arts of the Technical University of Košice, TON Bystřice pod Hostýnem, the Slovak Beekeepers Association and the private collections of designers and master craftsmen.