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Russian Craft of Pine Root Wickerwork
May 10, 2015 08:56


Handicraftsman Yevgeny Pochatkov

The distinctive Vyatka craft of pine root braiding has been known since the late 19th century. The Settlement of Bobino with neighboring villages was the center of this craft. It was accounted for by two factors – the availability of the material needed in Bobino pine forest and the proximity of the market for it in the city of Vyatka (modern Kirov). The craft remained little-known in other areas of the Vyatka (Kirov) Region.
In 1890 the Vyatskiye Gubernskiye Vedomosti newspaper wrote about the current state of pine root braiding: wicker items are made that cannot but attract attention with their durability, beauty and low cost: forms for baking bread, as well as chests, laundry baskets, trunks, wastepaper baskets and small-sized items. High-quality wattled products are transported through buyers to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and even Kharkov and Odessa”.
The price-list of the Vyatka handicraft warehouse had the following list of pine root wicker items from 1892: road baskets (round and oval ones, with locks and belts) with cane finishing, a variety of baskets with metal hinges and loops, and travelling provision hampers with the tool.
The simplicity of this craft and a small number of tools made it possible to carry out this work in premises, with no special workshops needed. Handicraftsmen always prepared the material of pine and fir-tree roots themselves.
A good root is the one that upon cleaning turns out long, thin, even and flexible like a paper cord. Unearthed root was cleared of bark and splintered into 2 to 4 parts. Afterwards those wide and narrow “strips” were soaked to prepare for braiding.
Pine root wickerwork by Vyatka handicraftsmen always excelled in durability. Over the years it did not lose the looks but acquired a pleasant ochre brown tint.
 The durability and longevity of the material are accounted for by the pine resin present in roots and protecting them from rotting. Therefore no wonder that in country farms one could find wicker items inherited from grandfathers and great-grandfathers.
In the Soviet era the craft was nearly forgotten. In 1940 the Kirov Pravda newspaper wrote: “All types of wicker craft have been given up. But there was time when the Kirov Region was the best manufacturer of pine root wickerwork in Russia”.
However, the craft was not lost for all. In the 1970s the Umelets production association in Kirov manufactured traditional tableware and saltcellars of pine root.
Nowadays the traditional old craft of pine root braiding has been preserved and consolidated thanks to the unique Kirov handicraftsman Yevgeny Ivanovich Pochatkov.

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Sources: http://nhpko.ru 


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Folk Arts Arts and Crafts Wickerwork Woodwork Kirov Region 

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