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