Franc Jaklič Woodenware and Vessel Making

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Ribnica has been known for its woodworking and woodenware for centuries. Today, responsibility for the preservation of traditional craft skills in the wider Ribnica area is in the hands of the Ribnica Handicraft Centre. One of the branches of woodenware making is also vessel making or pintarija, the craft Franc Jaklič specialises in. He took over wooden vessel making from his father, who was from Velike Lašče and who married into the Sajevec family in 1950. He brought with him his family’s home craft, a tradition that had been his family’s business for at least five generations. He made pails, grape tubs, buckets and similar, and peddled his goods from farm to farm.
Franc Jaklič made his first serious attempt to develop the craft in 1977, when he made a series of small, shallow pails for the fair in Ribnica. That was the time when household appliances had changed considerably and large dishes were no longer as popular as before. By 11 a.m., while his father was still hoping to sell his first piece at the fair, Franz had already sold all his pails. “That really sparked my ambition, so I started to develop new products.”

“It's a family craft business. Why is it called a family business? Because it’s passed on from generation to generation.”

In the 1980s Franc obtained the art and craft certificate and registered his own handicraft business. Two years ago, he retired and now pursues his handicraft as a personal business. “It’s a way of life, you know, it’s in our blood.” But he has no idea whether anyone will continue the family craft business.

Franc Jaklič makes his vessels from domestic wood — spruce, pear, elm, maple, alder and walnut. The hoops are made of hazel. Having machine-processed the wood he then takes it into his hands. “Everything has to be cut, planed, sanded and completely turned before it is put together. It’s one operation after another.”

Franc Jaklič makes pails, grape tubs, buckets and similar, and has been awarded with The Zlata vitica Award.