In the center of Baščaršija (the old part of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), there are still a few metal workers or tinsmiths. The owner of one of them, Mr. Adnan Jusic, explained to us what he does with a tinplate in an interesting way. Read his story below.
“My name is Adnan Jusić. I’m working with tinsmith’s activity or how we would call it an old-fashioned activity by the ancient times. Since this craftsmanship, like all crafts, has been inspired since the Ottoman Empire’s arrival in these regions, and in Turkish, it is called a “tenecheci or kalayci”. It’s true bliss is experienced by the arrival of Ashkenazi Jews from Central Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when Austro-Hungarians took over in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The flourishes of this craft come with them because they were the top masters.
My grandfather opened a shop here in Baščaršija in 1933, and after that my uncle took over this job that he had been engaged for 46 years officially, though he was still a child. And I started as a child coming to the store and learning from the uncle. I continued to deal with this craft. This craft is almost in the extinction, such as all craftsmanship. We have attempts to rescue crafts. Through the Sarajevo Canton Crafts Chamber has started a project where the children of elementary schools in the final grades present old traditional crafts for the purpose of professional orientation. This is done to encourage the children to get one of them to enter the craft. So let me explain how the craft is not baffled, how good the craft is, how the craft is creative.
Can you tell us how your sales go?
“When years pass, everything is weaker and weaker. Believe it, tourists are more interesting in taking pictures than in buying my stuff. We have customers from Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, meaning countries from the environment. In the period after the end of the tourist season, Dalmatians usually come. Then they buy scammers, since it’s too expensive and there is rarely someone to do it manually. I have the situation of a man living in Zagreb, but from Knin. He returned the old, old-fashioned house to its original state. He was out there for 3 days excursion. He came to me and asked how much a stove would cost. I was surprised that someone was looking for a stove /”Goat”. I asked what kind of goat do you need, what goats, until we realize that they call “A goat”, what we call a furnace or we call a fijaker-furnace. He bought a stove and pulled it off by bus to Croatia. My pictures were slapped through facebook. He put that stove in his stone house, which he rebuilt.
What kinds of products do you make in your business?
The product is made of everything that is made of sheet metal. We make sauces (bakery), grills (grilled), baked dishes, bowls, coffee spoon, cooking kettle.
And for the end, what would you tell young people about this craft?
Regarding this craft and any crafts, the “golden hands” or crafts in your hands have the potential for you, for a very short time (craftsmanship lasts for 3 years) to get the profession from which you can live. With craft you already have the “bread” in your hands, because you do not have it upon finishing any high school. Any gymnasium to finish, you have not finished anything, and here you get the craft, you have the ability to produce it yourself. In many cases, people living in homes have the ability to start a business in their own garage. So they can deal with a large number of crafts, produce products, and the emergence of this modern technology, internet, facebook, etc., you will sell their products from home. They are creative, so you can use your imagination and do what you imagine. Put the picture on facebook, put the price and start your business. It happens to me personally that the men of my shotgun wear in America, Australia, Canada. And you have a craft for a very short time to gain independence. So you can continue to study, engage in business and make money yourself. You are not in a position to finance your parents. Regarding tinsmith’s crafts, the situation is as difficult as in the whole country. Traffic is weak and earnings are very low. This is manual work and prices are more than industrial products. Anything is imported and we are not able to compete with their prices. However, with imaginative products and this craft provides a normal life.