Articles / Traditional business and handicraft

Traditional business and handicraft

Subject / Art/Art trades and crafts
Subject / Ethnic culture/Ethnic communities/
Subject / Ethnic culture/Ethnic communities/
Subject / Ethnic culture//

TRADITIONAL TRADES AND HANDICRAFTS originated from household occupations and crafts which were aimed at production of household objects for the peasants' own needs. Originality of traditional trades in Leningrad Oblast is connected with peculiarity of historical, social, economic and ethnographic development of local population. Long term communication between Russian and Finnish folks played an important role in formation of handicraft in the region. The influence of the ancient craft centres, such as Novgorod City, Pskov City, Staraya Ladoga Town, Tikhvin Town and later St.Petersburg, on masters' creativity also must not be excluded. One of the most important crafts practised by the folks inhabiting the territory of the modern Leningrad Oblast was weaving. Masters used virtually all known weaving techniques such as: use of 2 planks for lifting and lowering the warf, use of several planks for lifting and lowering the warf, use of 2 wefts, use of one white weft and one coloured weft. Weaving with 2 planks for lifting and lowering the warf, used for weaving thin white canvas and "pestryad" ("multicoloured canvas") – checked and striped fabric, was widely spread. Considerable experience was needed for weaving a relief pattern with several planks for lifting and lowering the warf which was spread especially in Novaya Ladoga Uyezd. Weaving with one white weft and one coloured weft, producing red and white patterns, dominated in Luga Uyezd and Lodeynoye Pole Uyezd. Here woven multicoloured fabric can be found. An interesting kind of peasant weaving was production of woven sashes. They were made of multicoloured woolen threads using weaving loom and improvised objects: wooden planks, strings, etc. The most colourful and stylish sashes were made by the Veps and by the Karelian. Since 1930s weaving of floor covering with cotton warp and woof made of cut coloured cloth has become widely spread. Embroidery is a sample of a traditional handicraft. This kind of folk art was popular in the villages in Luga Uyezd, Novaya Ladoga Uyezd, Lodeynoye Pole Uyezd, Tikhvin Uyezd and Ustyuzhensky Uyezd. Back in 1920s many local masters of embroidery used old decorative stitches and patterns which were passed on from one generation to another. A double-sided stitch - "rospis" ("painting"), sometimes in combination with satin stitches -"atlasnik" and "nabor", was also widely used. Masters of embroidery often used such technique as "cross" stitch, "chain" stitch as well as other kinds of stitches. Russian women, embroidery masters from Luga Uyezd and Novaya Ladoga Uyezd, embroidered luxuriant vegetable patterns using chain stitch and threads dyed with bright aniline dyes. Geometrical patterns, made with double-sided stitches using coloured woolen threads, decorated some parts of the Izhor's and the Vodi's clothes. Tailors from Novaya Ladoga Uyezd made "dandified" tanned sheepskin jackets for weddings and festive occasions, right laps and collars of the jackets were decorated with embroidery. "Starodavny" ("oldfashioned") and "dosulny" double-sided stitches were used for embroidery of ceremonial towels by the Russians and the Veps. Embroidery pattern consisted of geometrical motifs which made up borders or complex compositions with figures of people, animals or birds as well as vegetable patterns. In embroidery compositions one can also find heraldic birds, for instance, double-headed eagle. The southern Veps made multicoloured patterns using a special technique - "a stitch on the mesh". Masters from Novaya Ladoga Town decorated headdresses with pearls ("nizanie", "sazhenie" - beading). Such kind of things had family values and were often inherited by the mother's side. The usage of pearl was naturally determined due to its gaining from the nothern rivers belonging to the area of Ladoga and Onega Lakes. Towels, sheet edgings, homespun tablecloths were usually edged with bobbin lace or crocheted lace and very seldom with knitted lace. Bobbin lace was produced by peasant women from Nikolskaya Volost in Shlisselburg Uyezd, Mozino Volost, Pokrovsky Volost, Duderhof Volost and Tosno Volost of Tsarskoye Selo Uyezd. Bobbin lace-makers from Novaya Ladoga Uyezd, who produced items mostly in big size: bedspreads, lace pillow covers, capes, kerchiefs, etc., were well known. (ref. ZAKHOZHSKOYE LACE). Production of cube printed cloth (old technique of fabric dyeing) with big and small geometrical and vegetable patterns still existed in 1930s in Veps and Russian villages of Tikhvin District. Peasants' log huts, household objects and utensils were decorated with carving and painting on wood (ref. FAÇADE CARVING). In any farm one could find things wickered from fir tree and pine tree roots as well as things made of wood chips, wicker and birch (silver) bark tableware made with the help of straight and diagonal technique. Spinning wheels also belong to relics of folk arts. They were made in every family for household needs. The most skilful masters produced made-to-order spinning wheels. Spinning wheels made in Novaya Ladoga Uyezd were spread over several uyezds. "Kornevye" (produced from roots) spinning wheels made of a whole tree with roots were mostly used. Every locality had its own shapes of spinning wheels and ways of their decoration (ref. VOLKHOVSKAYA PAINTING SCHOOL). Different kinds of pottery was produced. Pottery centres existed in the villages situated in the area of the Oyat River, Yavosma River and Pasha River middle courses. Pottery was also found in several volosts in Yamburg Uyezd, Luga Uyezd, Tsarskoye Selo Uyezd (ref. POTTERY, OYAT POTTERY). One of the oldest centeres of metal-working was Tikhvin Town. Here Masters produced padlocks or mortise locks with forged ornate key plates as well as keys and “svetsy” (gadgets for holding a torch of splinters), decorated with openwork ornament, which are distinguished for their diversity and refinement. Production of homemade accordions was developed in the end of the XIX c.– beginning of the ХХ c. In Bolshoye Zaborovye Village (modern Tikhvin District), in Tikhvin Town, etc. From XIX c. on the territory of the Leningrad Oblast domestic crafts, that is small-scale commodity production aimed at the market, started to develop. They became an extra occupation for peasants and a job for a considerable part of citizens. Most handicraftsmen kept traditional instruments and technological methods of treatment of natural materials (wood, clay, fiber stuff, leather, metal). Generally these goods were aimed at not too wealthy city consumers. Trying to meet their tastes, masters advanced production techniques, shapes and decoration of goods. Besides their basic purpose these objects had cultural value and reflected aesthetic views and tastes of their makers. On the territory of modern Leningrad Oblast domestic crafts were spread everywhere but they were of different importance among the household occupations. The process of industrialisation resulted in gradual disappearance of many crafts including those aimed at production of agricultural implements, means of transport, joinery, etc. Some crafts still exist nowadays. Their greatest boom is connected with the foundation of Leningrad Association of Decorative Handicraft Industry in 1968, activity of the Association was concentrated on revival, preservation and development of traditional crafts. After breakup of the Association in the beginning of 1990s activity of its centres fell into decay. At present craftsmen are supported by Association of Folk Trades and Crafts, public organization "Palata Remesel" ("House of Crafts") and Leningrad Oblast Education and Methodology Centre of Culture and Arts.

Gorb, Dina Alekseyevna

Historical Toponyms/Bolshoye Zaborye, village
Topographical landmarks/Ladoga Lake
Historical Toponyms/Saint Petersburg Gubernia, the/Lodeynoye Pole Uyezd
Historical Toponyms/Saint Petersburg Gubernia, the/Luga Uyezd
Neighbouring Territories/Novgorod City
Historical Toponyms/Saint Petersburg Gubernia, the/Novoya Ladoga Uyezd
Topographical landmarks/Onega Lake
Topographical landmarks/Oyat River, the
Topographical landmarks/Pasha River, the
Neighbouring Territories/Pskov City
Historical Toponyms/Saint Petersburg Gubernia, the/Shlisselburg Uyezd
Leningrad Oblast, the/Volkhov District/Staraya Ladoga Village
Leningrad Oblast, the/Tikhvin District
Leningrad Oblast, the/Tikhvin District/Tikhvin Town
Historical Toponyms/Novgorod Gubernia (Province)/Tikhvin Uyezd
Historical Toponyms/Saint Petersburg Gubernia, the/Tsarskoye Selo Uyezd
Historical Toponyms/Novgorod Gubernia (Province)/Ustyuzhensky Uyezd
Historical Toponyms/Saint Petersburg Gubernia, the/Yamburg Uyezd
Topographical landmarks/Yavosma River, the

Тихвинский историко-мемориальный и архитектурно-художественный музей: Путеводитель-каталог: этнографические коллекции и предметы религиозного назначения /Сост.: Д.А.Горб, И.П.Рыжова,- СПб.: Тип. КСИ, 2001-176 с.: 9 л. ил.
Киселев В.И. «От добрых рук ничего не уходит» // Область культуры. 2006. № 5., 57-60

Subject Index
Façade carving
Learning - Methodical Centre of Culture and Art of the Leningrad Oblast
Oyatskaya ceramics
Volkhov painting movement