Wireworker’s Heart of Juraj Šerík

Wireworker’s Heart of Juraj Šerík

Alojz Kontrik

Wire working and tinkering as a form of door-to-door craft and trade first formed in the 18th century in the regions of Upper Považie and Kysuce and later also in several localities of the Spiš region. This craft and trade significantly influenced the folk culture of these regions. It originated as a side job of some individuals, but over the time it became the main source of outside-of-the-home income of male family members. Besides this traditional trade also artistic wire working gradually started to occur and it reached its artistic peak through the work of its most famous master – Jozef Holánik-Bakeľ from Dlhé Pole (1863 – 1942). He was the owner of a prosperous workshop in Warsaw that produced famous both utility and decorative artefacts made from brass wire.

He received several important awards and was labelled the first artistic wireworker in the world.

His also awarded successor was his son-in-law Jakub Šerík-Fujak (1907 – 1988). From him, his grandson Juraj Šerík, who lives and works in Čadca, started to learn simple wire working techniques at the beginning of the 1980s. He has been actively devoting himself to wire working since 2002 when he established a specialised workshop. In terms of technology, material and form, his work follows in the line of more than a hundred-year-long family tradition. He uses old family techniques to make vases, jars, bowls, plates, jewellery boxes, jewels, roses and souvenirs from brass and copper wire the surfaces of which is specially treated to gain their special look. In his work, he utilizes mostly combined geometrical forms. He presents his works and techniques at folklore festivals and festivals of wire working craft in Slovakia and abroad. He also organises creative workshops for school children. In 2012 he was granted the title “Master of Folk Arts and Crafts” for preservation and development of traditional wirework.