CHIP BIRD OF HAPPINESS
In pagan mythology we can read about a duck (utitsa). According to the legend a duck extracted the earth from a bottom of the original ocean. It helped to create solid earth.
A flying bird reminds the Sun which is a pagan symbol of vivifying commencement. Christian mythology affirms that a symbol of the holy spirit is a dove. A dove approached the Virgin Mary on the day of annunciation. A dove, the holy spirit descends from heaven during the Feast of Theophany.
Therefore a chip wooden bird that people started making in Rus more than 300 years ago gained shape of a pigeon.
Chip bird apparently became side handicraft of shipbuilding. It is made of ship pine tree. To be more precise it is made of butt of a tree (three meters above the ground) - a part of a tree without branches. Arkhangelsk and Voronezh dispute about leadership in Russian fleet. But exactly in Arkhangelsk the first ship "the Saint Pavel" came off the stocks. It was constructed 6 years earlier than a ship "The God's Foresight" in Voronyezh. Time difference is not significant, but apparently laborous Peter the First decided not to waste money on teaching people from Voronyezh in Holland and resettled experts from Arkhangelsk to Voronyezh (area of the Shipov forest). They had already managed to have a course in Amsterdam school. The first thing resettlers did in a new place was hanging an amulet in a log hut. It was Bird of Happiness. It was them who tought locals secrets of making a miracle bird.
© A. Kudryashova
This bird is believed to bring joy. Once people suspended a bird as a family totem and amulet in a front so called red corner of a room where a dinner table was. In the evenings people put a samovar on it (A metal urn with a spigot, used to boil water for tea and traditionally having a chimney and heated by coals) and all of a sudden a fretted bird started to revolve grandly on its axis. It slowly rotated under a table looking at all corners of a log hut as if it checked if everything is fine, everybody is at home and if there is anything to distract family harmony.
The most important task is to split bars into thin chips. The thinner chips the more laced bird. Bars are joined. Then feathers are spread. It is structure of wood that bends wings and tail fancifully. Traditionally a chip bird is not painted and varnished over because exactly live wood has good influence on human health. In the course of time it gets bronze color. Mythical bird looks nice in any house. Light makes its flying more fascinating. Rays come through the thinnest feathers casting fanciful shadows.
These days a chip bird is made of pine tree. Vivifying energy of clean pine tree, warmth of master's hands and good spirit will be definitely passed people who wil host this bird.
Now there is no need to try to catch your bird of joy. You can simply get it from a master, bring it home and tame it.
BIRCH BARK CONTAINERS
© N. Gernet
KHOLMOGOR IVORY CARVING
© Kholmogorsky District administration' archive
FOLK CLAY TOY
A master and toy maker, Uliyana Babkina lived in the Russian North not far from small Kargopol town in the Grinyevo village that was almost abandoned. The Grinyevo Village was abandoned. There were no toy makers left. Handicraft would be lost if Uljyana Babkina did not keep up to work hard sculpting her toys. Old lady Uljyana willingly taught her skill everyone interested, and she managed to prepare a new generation. Masters inhabited in neighbouring villages and in the Kargopol land. Folk Kargopol toy still exists due to them.
© N. Gernet
ART WOOD PAINTING
© N. Gernet
It comprises works made by masters from the following villages- Chyeryepanovo, Bolshoy Byeryeznik and Gryedinskaya. They are located 4 km from the Pyermogori Pier. Basis of the Pyermogori painting is plant pattern. Supple sprouts have trilobate a little crooked leaves with sharp ends and tuliplike flowers that remind ancient lily flower. Among them there are bunches of rounded leaves, sirins and smart fairy-tale birds. In the 19th century different genre scenes from peasant life were added to plant pattern which was painted by Pyermogori masters practically on all everyday life items. In the Pyermogori painting there is predominance of white color of a background and red color of a pattern. Green and yellow colors are additional ones of a background. Black thin outline has a significant meaning in the painting. It was painted free with facility and always professionally. At the beginning a black outline is painted on a ground (as if you use paper) by a feather, then it was filled with color.
There were a lot of everyday life items that were painted. Wooden and birch bark dishes were decorated by the painting. Many big items (cradles, caskets, trunks, headrests) were painted. But the most popular thing was to paint spinning wheels. For every peasant woman a spinning wheel was not only a necessary item in everyday life. A spinning wheel went through her entire life. A spinning wheel reminded her best memories of youth. Wedding ceremony was always connected with a spinning wheel.
Painting sparkled because of whiteness of a background. Bright red color of plant pattern burnt on it. Gold leaf that people liked to use to decorate spinning wheels in this center make them look smart and holiday-like. Structure of spinning wheel's paddles sort of includes three sectors. Golden windows with flowers are painted above, in the central part there is a fairy-tale bush with birds, a scene of skating is at the bottom.
It is absolutely different from Pyermogori and Boryetskaya paintings. Golden ocherous and black colors play the main role here. Deep green and brown red colors are usually additional. Ornamental pattern is very large and it mostly comprises decorative leaves. Black color is used to paint not only an outline, but many details such as awns, tendrils and streaks. Folk artists turned ordinary everyday life items into art works by painting them bright and smart. They still make us happy.
The Myezyen painting is different from other kinds of painting. Archaistic concepts regarding ancient people are obviously shown here. Pictures have deep roots. Petroglyphs (rock paintings/carvings) were found on shores of the White sea and the Onyega Lake. They have something in common with the Myezyen painting. Another peculiarity is that painting was made exclusively by males. At the end of the 19th century a handicraft was developed in the Paloshchyeljye Village on a bank of the Myezyen River. Different everyday life items were painted (birch bark containers, bast baskets, birch bark chests). But spinning wheels got special popularity.
The painting differs in restrained range of colors (saturn red and carbon-black colors). A picture has Spots and stripes. Black color was a color of an outline. Prepared item was covered with olive oil varnish that made it look golden. It seems to be simple, but the painting is extremely interesting. Geometrical lines representing ancient symbols of the earth, the Sun, water combine with symbols of horses, deer and birds. Combination of all signs poses an ancient way of writing. Represented seeds, cones, fruits enclosed by ancient rhombic figures are symbols of fertility. These signs are intrinsic for many peoples in the world. Circular and cruciform signs are symbols of fire. This is ancient amulets. Birds and animals have additional meaning in domestic magic. Deer brings joy and fun, it is connected with the feast of Gromovik Prophet Iljya (an ancient agricultural and hunting cult). A horse has an additional Sunny meaning . According to ancient beliefs a horse ascends the Sun to the sky every morning. An image of a bird has a special meaning in folklore. Swan and duck were the most frequently depicted. A duck is a special bird as it brings the Sun to the underground world every evening keeping order of things. A swan is connected with elements of the sky and water. It promises a crop, light and wealth.