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Russian Handicraft of Wood Turning, Part 2
April 30, 2015 19:20


Vyatka Wood Turning 

The Toy artel was founded in 1928 for making turned toys and wooden items decorated with painting and pokerwork. About 100 people worked in the artel in a year. In 1946 the Toy artel was transformed into the Victory artel for manufacturing woodwork items.
 
In the second half of the 20th century the professional artist Valery Vasilyevich Zhigaltsev continued development of the Vyatka turning skill. A graduate of the Moscow Kalinin Industrial Arts School, he worked as an artist of the creative and experimental laboratory at the Ideal factory.
 
In addition to developing product samples for the enterprise, Valery Zhigaltsev created independent turned works and whole compositions. The artist gained perfect mastery in turning his favourite wood material and combining it with birch bark, pokerwork, toning and painting. He created not only assembly turned souvenir toys, but also designed subject compositions of decorative relief panels.
 
The stylistics of the Russian popular print (Lubok) became the cornerstone of the artist’s works. Valery Zhigaltsev developed a variety of topics in turned toys: folk festivities, transport history, Russian proverbs and sayings, and others. All of his works are penetrated with subtle humour and kindness.
 
Presently the turning trade is developed by several enterprises. The Souvenir JSC (in Kirov) and the Vyatka Souvenir JSC (in Nolinsk) produce the traditional Vyatka wooden toys, including nested dolls, board games (chess, backgammon, and lotto), whereas the Nardy JSC (in Orlov) specializes in various board games (checkers, chess, a lotto, a backgammon) and massaging devices.
 
The Strug JSC has been engaged in manufacturing turned tableware (dishes, bowls of all size, and saltcellars), children's furniture and toys (architectural designers, pyramids, spinning tops, eggs, animal figurines, people, etc.) in the city of Kirov since 2006. The enterprise aims at reviving and saving traditions of the Russian wooden construction as a handicraft and its role in the all-round and full-fledged education of children.
 
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Babensky Toys of Moscow 
 
Babensky trade is one of the oldest turning crafts of the Moscow area. Thanks to their high level of mastery local handicraftsmen created amazing things, such as a full-sphere in a full-sphere, insert and miniature toys. 
 
The turning craft masterpiece was a 100-piece wooden egg (with its walls thinner than an eggshell) turned by the master Fyodor Romakhin. It was here where Vasily Zvyozdochkin with his companions created the first Russian nested doll (Matryoshka). Experience of the local turners laid the basis for development of the famous Sergiev Posad matryoshka trade. The best turners were in Moscow area and the best painters were in Sergiyev Posad. The turned workpieces were often made in Moscow and transported to Sergiyev Posad to be painted there. Before the revolution and in post revolutionary years Babensky toys were bought by all European countries.
 
Babensky toys were first of all intended for children of preschool age. With the help of pyramids, inserted eggs, cups, rings, spinning tops, spillikins, nested dolls, full-spheres and other toys children in the first five years of life start perceiving the form, color, and size. Babensky toys helped to develop kids’ attentiveness, patience, and hand motility. Thus, it is not by mere chance that no preschool institution in the Soviet era could do without such toys.
 
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Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Folk Arts Arts and Crafts Woodwork Wood Turning Toys 

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