Traditional Slovene Crafts
Traditional crafts have always provided man with household utensils, personal equipment and things he needed at work. All these products were also an important market merchandise. As for the locals, their work offered them possibilities to pave routes to distant lands and broaden their horizons.
Today traditional crafts hold a significant place in Slovenia, both economically and in national culture. Traditional craft is an important ingredient of Slovene cultural heritage. It reflects the influence different Slovene regions exerted on each other for centuries.
Slovene shoe making industry has a strong back-up in traditional shoe making in Tržič, Turnišče and Žiri, hatters in Škofja Loka while straw hats originate from Domžale and Mengeš.
Traditional shoe making heritage is preserved in the museums in Tržič and Turnišče, the latter boasting an old reconstructed shoe-maker house. It shows the life and work of a shoemaker from Turnišče during the period between the two world wars.
Today, pottery is developed in Komenda, in Dolenjska, near Krško, at Ptuj, Ljutomer, Pešarovci, etc. Potters also sell their products at numerous fairs in different Slovene towns. Even today, they offer different clay pots and objects that were already used by our ancestors.
Ribničans have been peddling their suha roba (wooden utensils) around Europe since ever. They obtained permission to trade freely in their products as early as 1492. That enabled them to peddle in Austria, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Greece and Spain. They went even as far as Africa and India.
Today a suhorobar (wood smith) from Ribnica can be met at every fair in Slovenia. In Ribnica, they annually organize the Ribnica Fair and rich heritage of the wood smiths is on display at the Ribnica Museum.
There is also a well known song about the suha roba and Ribničans “Ribn’čan Urban”. Suhorobar actually became a symbol of our opening into the world and earning our living by making what we can out of what is at hand.
Traditional craft of making honey products also used to be called “krajcarkšeft” (kreutzer business) since candle makers and lectars (they made honey products) only deal with small money.
Even today you will still find some family workshops with long tradition. Making small ornamented honey pastry is particularly developed in Škofja Loka and its surroundings, where those products are called small bread. In Škofja Loka the dough is pressed into handmade wooden molds while in Dražgoše they are hand-made.
Colored ornamented honey pastry is made in Ljubljana, Kamnik, Slovenj Gradec, Ptuj, Metlika and Ljutomer.
One of the oldest family crafts is wickerwork and not so long ago it was mastered in every household. Baskets, wickers and straw baskets were made during the winter in every family. Wicker makers mostly use hazel and willow twigs, but objects made of straw and corn husks are also very interesting.
A Ribn ’čan displays suha roba, this time in Bohinj . His products range from wicker baskets, graters and wooden spoons to straw hats, small planks and numerous other objects of useful or ornamen tal value for your home and household.
Small bread from Dražgoše (Dražgoški kruhek) is something special. Diligent hands of farmers ’ wives make honey dough and then the pastry out of it. In Škofja Loka, dough is pressed into a carved wooden mold and baked.
In Slovenia, lace first appeared in ldrija and then spread to the Žiri basin and to Železniki . Lacemaking used to provide an important additional income in the miners ’, forgers ’ and charcoal burners’ families. When the last furnace was extinguished (in 1902.) in Železniki, lace making became the only source of income for numerous families. In those parts they still make lace. To keep the tradition alive they founded the Lace making school in ldrija. Lace differs in patterns and knots from town to town.
Even today wickerwork is one of the most common crafts and numerous artisans offer a great variety of products.
Lacery began to develop in the 17th century in ldrija where we can find the only Lace-making School in Slovenia. This activity used to bring a more than welcome additional income to miners’ families. Today, famous Lace-making towns are ldrija, Železniki and Žiri, while skillfully made lace from tireless lace makers is a greatly appreciated and demanded merchandise.