Nizhny Novgorod region has always been famous for its folk traditions. One third of all Russian handicrafts are mastered in Nizhny Novgorod. Folk arts and crafts are still the hallmark of the Nizhny Novgorod region and even of our vast country on the whole. Although we see the development of nano-, bio- and information technologies, folk arts and crafts do not go anywhere from our life, they can be called the soul of Russia.
In the Volga region, there are 25 enterprises and private entrepreneurs that work in the field of folk arts, two centres of folk crafts and a pottery center.
Khokhloma is one of the oldest and unique Russian handicrafts, it was an integral part of Russian culture. Khokhloma craft is over three hundred years old. It originated from icon painting.
Khokhloma craft is production of gilded kitchen wooden utensils with the use of unique grass-like painting. The Fire-bird richly decorated with bright flowers is the symbol of Khokhloma painting. The capital town of the craft is the town of Semyonov located 80 km from Nizhny Novgorod.
Buyers have always appreciated Khokhloma products because they were light, durable and beautiful.
Now Khokhlomskaya Rospis is the largest handicraft enterprise in Russia. Visitors are offered interesting tours around the plant and watch the technology of manufacturing Khokhloma products at all stages. They can participate in exciting master-classes. After the excursion tourists can order a dinner at a restaurant , decorated in Khokhloma style, and dishes are served in “tsar’s” plates.
In the 16th century a metal craft developed in the village of Pavlovo, which is known now as the town of Pavlovo-on-Oka not far from Nizhny Novgorod This place has always been famous for the craftsmen who made cold steel, hunting knives, place settings. Pavlovo locals taught their neighbours their craft: in the village of Vorsma locals also started making knives. The handles were decorated with jasper, mother-of-pearl and bone. In old days the goods from Vorsma were highly appreciated at world fairs: on one scale of the balance a knife was put while golden coins were put on the other scale. These knives were exhibited at the international shows in London, Paris, Saint-Petersburg, Berlin, Philadelphia.
Today the plant preserves the best traditions of the local handicraftsmen. It produces the knives with the use of engraving and etching techniques; the handles are made of beech, walnut and birch bark, and artistic casting of brass and silver is used in the production.
Filigree is one of the ancient methods of artistic metal processing. The word “filigree” is derived from Italian “filigrana”, which, in its turn, is stemmed from Latin “filum” (thread) and “granum” (grain), as the pattern is frequently made not only of woven wire but of tiny metal balls).
In Russia filigree has been known for a long time. The centre of filigree handicraft was in the village Kazakovo of the Nizhny Novgorod region. Even during the World War II the artel for making filigree did not stop its activities: the masters wove shoulder straps, made insignia and cigarette-cases. After the war the artel started producing knives and forks.
Kazakovo Plant of Art Products is a successor of the traditions of the old Kazakovo artel. The plant develops the rich traditions of the past introducing new items. While designing the pattern, the artists pay special attention to the flow and beauty of the curves and to the form of the empty spaces as they play a very important role in the composition of the pattern. The artists constantly search for new images and combinations of elements. Thus, they have started to use gilding, natural stones, crystal, bone and enamel. All products are made manually, which adds to the unique character of the filigree.
Today the company uses the trade-mark of the Patriarch' s workshop with the blessing of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
The visitors can admire the masterpieces of the filigree art in the show-room. Tourists are offered excursions around the plant and master-classes.