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The Vibrant World of Russian Folk Art

Russian Folk Art gives us an insight into the ideologies and history of Russian culture. Russia is well known for its contributions to folk art, the most widely recognised being Matryoshka’s (or Nesting Dolls), which are signature figures of Russian art and craft. However, Russian folk art features a variety of characterful crafts, such as embroidery, lace-making, painting, prints and beading – all of which are of interest to us at Playful Promises! Their crafts are known for being whimsical, vibrant and surreal.

Our Playful Promises Sasha set, inspired by Russian Folk Art

Our Playful Promises Sasha set, inspired by Russian Folk Art

If you hadn’t already noticed, unique florals are kind of “our thing” at PP, and naturally Russia’s vibrant paintings of flora are what we’ve looked to for inspiration behind our Sasha set. Russia has many different types of painting and craft techniques which include florals. One of which being Khokloma, which originated in the 17th century in the Nizhni Novgorod province, which at the time was just recovering from the damage caused by the Mongol invasion. Here, surrounded by woodland, there was an abundance of wood and many began to master the art of wood-work. The crafts were then varnished and decorated in gold and painted with floral patterns.

Golden Khokhloma hand painted decorative plate

Golden Khokhloma hand painted decorative plate

Khokloma art generally features red, gold and black – and these colours bear a profound symbolism for the decoration of churches, as well as decoration on eating utensils used in monasteries and nunneries. The red symbolises beauty, the gold heavenly light and the black signified the cleansing of the human soul. The “grass-leaves” style of painting featured in Khokloma is inspired by the rural-living folk artists of Russia, as well as rooted in folklore. The golden leaves and flowers are meant to signify a happy life and bring good fortune.

A wooden chopping board with folk Gorodets painting from Russia

A wooden chopping board with folk Gorodets painting from Russia

Gorodets painting, another art form which originated from the Nizhni Novgorod region, in the town of Gorodets. Gorodets painting is manifested by it's freehand paint brush depictions of horses, roosters and flora,  and it's graphic black outlines and intense bright colours. Another notable feature of Gorodets painting is that they do not follow the laws of perspective and therefore seem surreal with giant flowers surrounding smaller figurines. The themes are light and carefree, and therefore the technique is also known as naïve art, because of the childlike quality to them.

Playful Promises Sasha set with floral Gorodets pattern

Playful Promises Sasha set with floral Gorodets pattern

Our Sasha collection takes inspiration from the vibrant, positive energy from the Russian countryside, using surreal and idealistic florals to make you feel bright and happy when you put your pants on in the morning! Our exclusive and designed in-house digital print is slightly modernised and symmetrical for a Playful Promises twist, paired with black mesh and a classic retro silhouette. To finish off the set, a little light blue bow contrasts against the black and compliments the floral design. This set is inspired by the classic, Russian heritage yet updated for a modern-day folktale. 

 

References:

http://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/folklore-pattern-gorodets-painting-russia.html

http://www.artrusse.ca/khokhloma_en.htm

http://russiapedia.rt.com/of-russian-origin/khokhloma/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folklore_of_Russia

http://www.russia-ic.com/culture_art/visual_arts/970/#.Vv1LyfkrLcs