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Russian Tradition of Straw Incrustation
April 30, 2015 21:23


Straw application and decorating wattled products with straw have been a traditional craft in Russia for a long time. At the Kazan exhibition of 1890 the handyman Ivan Vasilyevich Sadakov displayed a range of toys - a cart, a table, a  sofa, and two chairs  - all colored in black and inlaid with straw. However, the artistic technique’s old name, i.e. “straw application” is more exact, since the straw is pasted on the surface and not cut into it. However, the effect of figurines made of straw pieces cut into rhombs, squares, triangles, strips, and circles, all of it shining is that it looks like incrustation. Hence its name used nowadays.
Straw applications, initially simple and unpretentious used in children's furniture gradually developed and became more complicated. High speed of work, simple techniques, and absence of complicated tools promoted fast development of this handicraft. 
Alexander Ivanovich Vasnetsov, previously working in the Ideal artel was invited for incrustation training to the Victory artel in 1952. He made samples of caskets with nacre by request of the artel head. 5 best students were selected for training out of geometrical carving masters. G. I. Khalturina and V. I. Pokryshkina became widely known afterwards.
In the early 1960s the master of Khalturin Factory of Recreational Goods (nowadays the Nardy JSC in Orlov) Grigory Aleksandrovich Zhdanov was engaged in color straw incrustation of caskets. 
Color straw inlaid items by Oryol handymen were recognized the best of the kind at an exhibition in the Ethnography Museum of Leningrad in 1961. In 1962 a batch of such caskets went for sale to England and France.
The master Georgy Alekseevich Kyrchanov did not only update the Khalturin casket, but also created a new style and technology of straw incrustation. Colored straw was replaced with natural-color straw. Ornaments made of such straw create a more impressive effect reminding of nacreous glow. Another innovation by Georgy Kyrchanov was extending the shapes of cut straw. Circles, half-circles, ovals, and brackets give a chance to create ornaments of any complexity, including floral designs. The master also changed the technology of fixing straw patterns to the wooden surface: he replaced glue with nitrolacquer.

 

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As a result Georgy Kyrchanov became the founder of the craft, which is now known as Vyatka straw incrustation. 
The technology of straw incrustation is as follows. Straw is cleared, bleached or singed – from yellow to brown color. The ornament is applied on dark tinted wood. 
Straw incrustation is used for designing nested dolls at the Vyatka Souvenir Enterprise (in Nolinsk).
The Vyatskiye Promysly JSC in the city of Kirov has been specializing in straw inlaid caskets since 1991. 

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Sources: http://nhpko.ru 


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Folk Arts Arts and Crafts Woodwork Kirov Region  

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