First steps of the open studio

First steps of the open studio

Interview with Milan Beljak, the director of ÚĽUV

Editorial board

The open studio is expected to become a new form of cooperation between the Centre for Folk Art Production (ÚĽUV) and designers and makers. It is an opportunity again allowing designers to be included into the development of folk art production and the quality thereof and into creating artworks of a new aesthetic and utility category. In fact, it is the revival of the model that was applied in the early times of the ÚĽUV.

To make the project successful, it is essential to have a clear definition of objectives and terms of participation for each of the three entities involved in the open studio project. Profit is not the purpose of this project. Our objective is to make the development of new designs for products attractive for creative people and to develop conditions helping them to dispense their ideas and to make them inspirational for folk makers. Meeting the above definition, the open studio satisfies the requirements of the Act on folk art production, namely identifying ways out of stagnation, finding new methods of utilisation of traditional folk art expression and adding new forms. The open studio seeks to use free creative potential of designers for the benefit of the community of folk producers.

For those who will attend the open studio and agree with its purpose, the easiest way will be to specify a one-off remuneration. The ÚĽUV never used licence agreements for own products. Only employees of the ÚĽUV designed and made the products. Therefore, the ÚĽUV has been the only owner of licence rights for all designs made by the employees. However, the organisation has not asserted its rights. Therefore, several dozens of producers make cornhusk dolls commercially and do not pay royalties for using the design. Unlike the practice applied before, now a designer, maker and product are no longer anonymous.

After being approved by the art commission, the ÚĽUV will purchase a new product from a designer. Then, the production of the product will be ordered and the product will be marketed under the strongest brand at the folk art products market in Slovakia. However, customers are most important for the success of the product. These are the risk of the project all participants must count with. If the ÚĽUV initiates the process, it also bears the major part of all risks. It is important for the project to have the makers able to make the products as designed by designers, to make good copies and to improve the folk art production as such. The case may be that the ÚĽUV will achieve, through the open studio, the artworks of extraordinary quality – the national design level works. It will be success for all three parties – the name of an author will become public and their contribution to the improvement of our national culture will be evident. However, developing a new product will not be limited to designers only. Producers are welcome to be creative, too. However, all the authors should be aware of the fact that an artwork is to be produced to become popular which is not a typical practice. The open studio counts with trust and generosity of the authors of products.