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Peter's First Vocation

  While in Turzovka, Peter was a drotár Drotárs were craftsmen skilled in the use of wire and tin to make and repair household utensils. They were especially skilled at creating a tight wire mesh around crocks, pottery, and ceramic ware to repair them when they developed cracks. They fashioned tin pots and pans  from sheet metal, and repaired those with holes. This was largely a door-to-door service, with no transportation other than their feet. Some continued the craft when they emigrated.  There are accounts of Slovak established factories in major U.S. cities that manufactured pots and pans, where many drotár immigrants  sought employment

Peter's work was evident throughout the Lamont neighborhood.  Many of the large earthenware crocks used for storing lard, dill pickles, and sauerkraut by his Slovak friends and neighbors were reinforced in this fashion.  As a kid, I always wondered how and why they put "chicken wire" around the crocks

Over the decades, the craft has evolved into a highly skilled wire art-form. Today's drotárs create  everything from fine jewelry to statues from intricately worked wire.


 

The woven wire covering on this ceramic
pot is typical of the handiwork of drotárs.
 

 

Drotar wirework as an art-form

 

 

A typical drotar.
(Early 1900s)
Click for larger image.