A Craftsman in Easter Eggs (From 2002)

There are Serbian Easter Eggs, Croatian Easter Eggs, American Easter Eggs, and Slovak Easter Eggs.  Mikulas “Mickey” Derevjanik, is a Slovak craftsman, a metal worker, who designs Easter Eggs wrapped in wire.  He comes from generations of metal workers who wandered from the Balkans to Central Europe and is proud of his craft.

Mickey has started to do metalwork himself and is now a master.  He specializes in wire baskets, whisks, and decorative items.  His tools are made by Roma.  He says Gypsy tools are the best in the world.  He presented us with an exquisite purple Easter egg, wrapped in copper wire, with wound decorations around the egg.  He says it’s so he can brag that his work is recognized even in Alaska.  He did several eggs for a recent exhibition in Bratislava.

Mickey’s an engineer by training.  Five years ago he applied for a camera job at TV Puchov by showing the owners some photos he had taken.  They offered him the job of managing director.  He is one of the best small TV station managers we’ve worked with.  Mickey, I think, would rather be a museum curator and he uses the TV station to document the life of Puchov.  He carefully archives his station’s tape, preserving the history of Puchov in moving pictures, creating his own video museum.

Puchov is prosperous because the local tire factory has investment from Germany and the Rona Crystal factory provides export income for the town.  Other towns in the region are depressed.  The town of Martin down the road was the center of Warsaw Pact tank building.  They aren’t building tanks anymore. Men in their fifties sit in cafes and bars all day nursing one beer because it’s all they can afford.  Mickey looks to the past to define the future.  He wants to train some of these men in the old crafts.  They can sell their goods to the booths in Bratislava’s main square.  (From Easter 2002.)

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