Mostar: Young people are not interested in old trades, everyone would consider a light job

“Believe me, even younger people are not interested in this. Everyone would love an office, a computer, if it were easy work…I remember the first two years I woke up with stiff fingers, it’s not easy. It’s a man’s job, I can say,” said the silversmith Miličević.

the citizens’ initiative of Mostar organized a panel discussion called “Crafts – then and now” which was held on Thursday, May 23, in the premises of the Bosnaseum.

Silversmith Saša Miličević says that there are not enough women in the silversmith trade and that she thinks it is due to the fact that “the job is difficult”.

It’s not easy…

“Believe me, even younger people are not interested in this. Everyone would love an office, a computer, if it were easy work… I remember the first two years, I woke up with stiff fingers, it’s not easy. It’s a man’s job, I can say,” Milicevic said.

He says that he found himself in the trade quite by accident, because he could not find a job after university.

“A friend who learned this trade from his father and an old master, put me in this, because I learned the trade. I love this, to do this you have to love this, and I found myself in it.

Most of all, we do motifs from stećak, we make barbers and our own creations from stećak or historical figures such as King Tvrtko, Queen Katarina…”, Milicevic pointed out.

Struggle with China and Turkey

He also adds that the fight against China, as well as Turkey, is difficult.

“The clientele is like that, they come because it’s as little and as cheap as possible, and hardly anyone will buy the art. The customer is better if he is from further away, from America or Asia, those are the best clients”.

Marija Karadža is a men’s hairdresser. He has been working, as he points out, since 1977 in the Old Town, in Oneščukova Street.

“I have been here for almost 50 years. I shave and cut hair. Almost nobody in this town shaves anymore, they all have modern haircuts, I’m an old-fashioned craftsman.

People ask right out of the gate if I will shave them, I immediately say that I will, the smile never leaves their faces. Today, new masters have no one to learn from, and we used to learn by learning the trade that we must also know how to shave and cut hair,” said Karadža.

They don’t know how to shave or cut hair

He also says that “today one goes to some school, gets a diploma just to open a shop.” “That’s not good, because they don’t know how to shave or cut their hair,” adds Karadža.

“Before the war, I had a really full shop, there was so much work. In 16 square meters, I had 3 hairdressers, they worked from morning to night, everything was registered, everyone had a seniority, clients waited for hours to get a haircut. Now there is little work, the youth is a little different, there are 2-3 of us old masters, who have been working for 50 years, the rest are all mostly young”, said Marija.

He also says that he has the oldest salon in Herzegovina.

“The Institute of Statics visited us, and confirmed this to us during the visit,” she pointed out at the panel discussion.

A small museum, a 120-year-old shop

Marija Karadža states that she was disappointed when she received the blue envelope, even though she has had an indefinite contract for the space since 1977.

“I was told to leave the premises in 30 days, because according to the new contract they are giving a 3-year contract. They did it without any announcement, there is no reason for it, supposedly it will be demolished, although my shop is not for demolition. I addressed everyone, I’m waiting now to see what will happen, an old craft that is valued, it’s a small museum, a 120-year-old shop, because Alija Ugljen was there before me.

It killed me so much because my family lives on it, I taught everyone to inherit after me, including the bride and grandchild”, she said.

Finally, he says how much work he has.

“People are happy when they visit me, especially foreigners, it’s so interesting for them when they see that I’m shaving someone, everyone shines in front of the shop, it’s something incredible”.