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Skopin Ceramics
December 1, 2009 20:57


Among the centres of folk handicraft of pottery, unique is the phenomenon of decorative ceramics of Skopin town of the Ryazan Region. The craft owes its appearance to clays lying in great quantities in the environs of the town of Skopin. Ceramic dishware in the area, where Skopin was founded later, had been made as far back as in the Kievan Rus’ epoch. Ryzan lands rich in traditions of various folk arts and crafts became the cradle of pottery ware and modeled clay whistles.

Skopin ceramics was first developing just like many other pottery crafts in Russia by producing pottery dishware for peasant household, chimneys, bricks and tiles. But the second half of the 19th century saw the appearance of a branch that made it famous far beyond the town: it was production of glazed figured vessels and candlesticks, many-tier and decorated with complicated modeling and figurines of animals, birds, fish and fanciful creatures.

“Nothing equal to these works of Russian folk art can be found among sculpted dishware of other nations” –A. Saltykov, one of the biggest Russian art historians stated about the works by Skopin masters of the late 19th – early 20th centuries.

It is known that initially craftsmen sculpted separate figurines – a lion, a bird, a sphere, a samovar, etc. – and put them on a column by the gates of their houses as a decoration and a sign that remarkable masters lived there. At the same time they emulated each other in complicacy and fancy of their articles. Later they came to put these stunning figures and sculptured jugs in front of their usual goods at fairs.

Growing demand on decorative articles encourage masters to make them for sale. Fanciful figurines were taken for holiday bazaars in Moscow, Ryazan’, Lipetsk, towns of southern Russia and Ukraine. They were bought up by lovers of the “exotics” of folk art, collectors and foreign tourists.

Soon Skopin gained unexampled popularity. Biggest museums of Russia came to be supplemented with works by Skopin potters. In 1902 and 1913 Skopin ceramics were displayed at various handicraft exhibitions and took prizes. They were also introduced at the International Paris Exhibition of 1900.

Skopin handicraft has always been notable for the variety of articles, rich fancy, daring plastic solutions, and original constructions of vessels, candlesticks and sculptures. Along with laconic pottery shapes they made vessels with rich modeling, and images of fairy creatures and animals. Ornamentation was applied by all sorts of stamps and sticks on wet clay. Ornaments could be both floral and geometrical, with prevalence of geometrical ones, though. The articles were glazed with coloured enamels of various shades of brown, yellow, green, and blue.

Skopin ceramic masters always experimented and invented new forms and methods of decoration and baking, sometimes adopting them from other handicrafts.

In the early 20th century there were about 50 ceramic workshops in Skopin. Some of them later united into artel Ceramic, which became the basis for the Skopin Plant of Artistic Ceramics, nowadays the closed joint-stock company Skopin Artistic Ceramics. This is where the heritage of the ancient folk handicraft is mainly centred nowadays.

The range of ceramic articles produced in Skpoin is as diverse today as in olden days. Till date the most interesting and truly unique works of ceramic art – vessels, candlesticks, sculptures, and frames for fireplace clocks - are handmade on the pottery base. Along with that multiple small ceramic souvenirs, whistles, and flower pots are produces by Skopin craftsmen.

The Skopin plant has a history museum of Skopin ceramics with excursions available.

Sources:
    skopin.ru
    ryazanreg.ru


Tags: Russian Arts and Crafts Russian Ceramics Ryazan Region   

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