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Introducing master folk artist


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I have heard about Ujcok Lenhart and his art from my friend the Master potter Rasto Haronik from Vysehradne  many years ago. In summer of 96 while visiting Rasťo he mentioned again that I should pay a visit this great folk artist, his really good friend. He has told me many stories about him and his work on several occasions, so I decided that this was the time for a visit. I felt it was long overdue to go and visit Ujcok Lenhart and see his work. Rasto had arranged a visit and we went to his house. His workshop is in a tiny room originally intended for storage in the basement of a small apartment building located under the hill of the Bojnice's Castle in Bojnice.

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He creates his folk art objects and instruments from all materials. He uses wood, metal, leather, horns, bones, and brass. His specialty is wood. He created many shepherds' wooden glasses for zincica called crpaky. He not only creates folk objects and instruments, but also designs and makes his own tools, as you can't go to a store and get them. Each tool is designed and made for each different task in creating new folk art object or instrument. Long time ago he researched all regions of Slovakia and documented brass belt buckles, as they differ from village to village. He is the only folk artist in Slovakia with complete variety of all Slovak brass belt buckles. In his collection he has over two hundred original buckles from the different regions of Slovakia. He makes exact copies, as he was able to recreate all the tools necessary to make the intricate designs for each of them. He makes over 100 different kinds of bras belt buckles. He even makes brass buttons for folk dresses

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Ujcok Lenhart is seventy-six years old and still actively working. He started carving crpaks when he was 16 years old as his father was a baca-shepherd. He was working with his grandfather at the beginning. He started repairing his grandfather’s collection. He really enjoyed being prized for good work by him and I guess that was what made him to fell in love with folk art. Other bacas used to bring him old broken wooden kitchen utensils and crpaks and he was repairing them or making new ones. He made his first fujara in 1953 with many difficulties, as the fujara instrument making is not easy. He had problems drilling the three holes correctly to give him the desired sound. But since the first one he had produced over forty fujaras and they are now being played Slovak folk musicians all around the world. He never sold his first one, but kept it. He has a vast collection of his work that is not for sale and can be really enjoyed by visitor. Often he displays his collection at museums and festivals in Slovakia.

Now he works selling exclusively for ULUV a government organization promoting and selling folk art through their stores in Slovakia.

Jozef Lenhart
Benolakova 28
972 01 Bojnice

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Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 5, No. 1, Spring 1997
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1997 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.