The Washing Bats of Martin Mešša

The Washing Bats of Martin Mešša

Eva Ševčíková

Woodworking became a great passion for Martin Mešša, already lasting for 34 years. A specific area of interest to him is the carving of washing bats (or technically termed washing beetles designed for beating laundry against another surface to get dirt out).

The traditional shape of the bat inspired him to exceptional artistic manifestations of figural and zoomorphic motifs. Each one of his creations has its own story line. The use of washing beetles was spread across Europe, used in both villages and cities. Besides their obvious function, they were also given as gifts of affection therefore requiring decoration.

In addition to relief molding, Martin Mešša spends his time on figurine sculptures of small and large proportions, utilizing motifs of Christian iconography. In the process of creating his works, Mešša implements traditional working methods and tools. He is a well-rounded, educated ethnologist, interested in art, literature, music, and social science. A strong source of inspiration for him is folk culture.

Mešša’s art pieces are simple, sober shapes. He pays close attention to clean lines and fine, gentle wood working. His carving is uncomplicated and only basic proportions are indicative of the male or female form. Thematically, the sculptures attributes are recognized according to the tools or instruments that were used in the sculpting. In 2013 he was awarded the title Master of Folk Art Production for his original approach to woodwork.