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Unique Russian Woodwork of Burr Craft, Part 2
March 30, 2015 17:25

Previous: Unique Russian Woodwork of Burr Craft, Part 1

In the late 19th century about forty people worked as burr craftsmen. The city of Vyatka (modern Kirov) was the centre of the burr craft. Some more burr workshops were located in the Shcherbinka and Troitsk districts and manufactured mostly cheap burr items.

In general, burr experts were quite better-off as compared to other handicraftsmen, and demand for their woodwork was permanently growing. In the 19th century the Vyatka masters used the burr sparingly and so rarely made items of burr only. More and more often they pasted wooden items with thin burr plates. That work was quite complicated too, therefore such pieces cost as much as burr items. Along with snuffboxes and caskets various in shape and size the craftsmen made small portmanteaus for rich women of fashion, as well as ware, though no ladles and cups, but vases and sugar bowls for manour houses.

163 craftsmen were engaged in burr woodwork in the early 20th century. Their products were sold around Russia and abroad, in particular to England, France, and Germany.
By the 1920s the number of Vyatka burr craftsmen increased considerably up to 200 people. However, those were separate handicraftsmen, who badly needed expanding and mechanizing their production. The first burr woodwork guilds started coming up. In 1924 Vyatka got its first guild Export of 11 masters. Around the same time a guild of 100 masters was founded in the town of Khalturin. About 300 independent burr craftsmen worked in the villages of Lyangasy, Kushovy, Pershintsy, Pestova, Pushkari and some others.

More than a half of all the burr items were exported, mostly to Great Britain. Nevertheless, by the end of the 1920s their quantity came to prevail over their quality. Certain measures were taken to solve this problem. As a result the range of burr items was enriched with writing cabinet, spectacle-cases and skippets, as well as whole desk sets.
The 1930s saw a new direction in the burr craft: it was wood carving and incrustation on burr items.
Burr woodworks were a great success at prestigious exhibitions of the 1930s, such as an exhibition in Paris (1936) and New York (1937).
A new burr guild named Ideal was founded in the Settlement of Lopatovsk in 1943. It included a training workshop, which gave rise to outstanding burr craft experts, such as Veniamin Mamayev, Hermann Pershin, and Vasily Zlobin.
The Ideal artel won the Grand Prix at the World Fair in Brussels in 1958.
In the 1980s the former artel Ideal grew up into a factory, which is known today as Ideal Plus, JSC and the largest producer of burr items in the Kirov Region.
The Burr Casket (Kapovaya Shkatulka) JSC was established in 2011. It has a wide range of goods, including a variety of caskets, trunks, bowls, candlesticks, cigarette cases, ashtrays, photo frames, jewelry boxes, collection coins and watches. Its big caskets as a rule have confidential pigeonholes, which can be opened by clicking on a certain secret place in the casket.
The burr artware made by the Kapovaya Shkatulka JSC are in demand, both in the Kirov Region, and beyond (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and other cities of Russia).
Independent burr craftsmen go on making their contribution into development of this craft as well. The most renowned of them is Boris Pavlovich Vorobyyov, who got the status of the folk arts and crafts expert of the Kirov Region in 2009.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Folk Art Kirov Region Woodwork Arts and Crafts  

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