Elizabeth Berrien · World Class Wire Sculpture and Illustration · (707)445-4931 · WIRE SCULPTURE - HISTORY AND EVOLUTION
elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the BIG WON award for #1 Innovative and Alternative 2008.
THE BIG WON
#1 Worldwide
Alternative/Innovative


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Wire sculpture is a folk art with a history dating back thousands of years. Wherever the technology has existed to refine metal and draw wire, artisans have found ways to adapt the material creatively. Ancient Egyptians hand-crafted wire jewelry whose beauty endures to this day; many examples can be found in museums.

Starting over 400 years ago, wireworkers from the mountain regions of Slovakia invented many ingenious and practical items still in common use today - bird cages, mouse traps, wire baskets and trays, sieves and other kitchen utensils. Known as "tinkers", these wireworkers' ability to invent and fabricate otherwise unattainable devices lent them high status and respectability throughout Europe's middle ages. Because their services were essential, traveling tinkers selling wares were permitted to cross borders without restriction.

The twentieth century brought trials to the once-prosperous tinkers' community. Russian collectivazation doomed once-flourishing wirecraft businesses in Russia and Slovakia. In the wake of World War II, wire products came into mass production. Without their centuries-long monopoly on wirecrafted goods, tinkers saw their social prestige and economic security diminish; many were reduced to the hardship of mending wire goods, rather than creating them.

Somehow, a dedicated few wirecrafters like Vladimir Ferko and Ladislav Jurovaty kept their craft alive, preserving their traditions and teaching their techniques. A 400-yar-old wirecraft museum can be found in Zilina, Slovakia. In reverence to a craft that came close to disappearing in the wake of the industrial revolution, master wirecrafters hand down their traditional techniques to a new generation of contemporary wire sculptors.

South Africa has a thriving cultural heritage of wire sculpture also known as wire art. Children who could not afford luxuries like cars, phones, and motorcycles would make themselves toy versions from bits of scrap wire. This innovative approach to improvisation gradually led to the development of a thriving cottage industry. Today, street vendors craft and sell toy cars, animals, and household accessories. Many are exported for trade on the international market.

Wherever they live in the world, many wire sculptors first came in contact with wire as part of their everyday environment. A surprising number of wireworkers either grew up on a farm or came to live on one later in life. In rural settings, wire is readily at hand in many forms. Fencing wire, chicken wire, baling wire, phone wire, electrical wire, welding rods, and even barbed wire offer inventive potential to the creative mind. A jumbled heap of scrap wire might suggest a willow tree, a buffalo, a reclining human form... and a farmer might pause a moment to bend the wire a little bit more into that shape, starting a long personal journey toward becoming a wire sculptor.

Explore the International Wire Sculptors Directory

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World Class Wire Sculpture · Elizabeth Berrien (707) 445-4931 · email wireladye@yahoo.com

Content and images © 1968-2010 Elizabeth Berrien. All rights reserved. · Updated Aug 10, 2010 · this page valid HTML 4.01

elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the BIG WON award for #1 Innovative and Alternative 2008.
THE BIG WON
#1 Worldwide
Alternative/Innovative
elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the Clio award 2008.
CLIO 2008
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted cannes gold lions in 2008.
Cannes Festival
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted ADC gold cubes in 2008
ADC
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins the coveted Obie Best of Show award 2008.
OBIE
Best of Show
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted Andy gold awards 2008.
Andy Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins one show gold pencil awards 2008.
One Show Gold Pencil
elizabeth berrien's wire sculpture illustration wins double grand awards at London International Awards2008.
London International
Double Grand
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