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Khludnevsky Clay Toy
February 20, 2015 13:15

Khludnevsky clay toy is a traditional Russian folk craft in the Kaluga Region. It was named after the Village of Khludnevo, where it was started.

The folk craft of Khludnevsky Toy was founded by local potters in the 1st half of the 19th century. 76 out of 130 households in the village of Khludnevo were engaged in pottery.

As a rule, pottery was a family craft. The craftsmen handed their products over to dealers or independently sold them in the market. It should be mentioned that men were engaged into ware, whereas women molded and painted clay toys.
Pottery went on developing in Khludnevo till the mid 1950s. Men carried their earthenware to markets in nearby towns and clay toys made their trade much better as compared to other potters.

However, monetary payment was soon introduced in collective farms, and it became more profitable to work in the farm fields than to be engaged in pottery. At the same time demand for pottery subsided. Gradually pottery turned from an expedient profession into a hobby.
In spite of the fact women in Khludnovo kept up molding penny whistles and rattles. Their creativity attracted attention of the general public in 1969 — 1971, after publications in the central press and participation in All-Union exhibitions. This is how the entire USSR learned about the Khludnevsky clay toy.  

Craftswoman Anastasia Fyodorovna Gavrikova from Khludnevo was awarded an honourary diploma at the All-Union Exhibition of Folk Artists in September, 1970. Her clay toys were distinguished by the Decorative Art of the USSR journal.
Nowadays Khludnevsky clay toys are created by hereditary masters in the village of Khludnevo, craftsmen in the nearby settlement of Duminichi, as well as children and grandchildren of Khludnevsky toy experts in the city of Kaluga.
The molded toys are air-cured for one or two days and then furnaced until clay becomes light. In the course of roasting clay changes its natural color and turns white-pink, the base color of the Khludnevsky clay toy. They are not painted completely, but only separate details, such as birds’ feathers, animals’ body parts and outlines. Multi-colored strips alternating with strips of the natural background colour of clay are typical for Khludnevsky toy. Various rhombs, the symbols of sky, life, and the sun are also widely spread. Bright tints of red, crimson, and green are generally used.
The Khludnevsky clay toys stand out with their naive simplicity, inornate painting, and somewhat rustic molding.



Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Folk Arts and Crafts Pottery Penny Whistles   

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