Russian handicrafts: Gorodets painting

I’m the head artist at the Gorodets Painting factory Our painting originated in the Gorodets district and in our villages of Kurtseva. Kaskovo and Khlebaikha But since all Gorodets painting is about the life of Gorodets merchants and the paints themselves were bought in Gorodets the name “Gorodets painting” stuck It all begins with the base Here we can see a host of imagery tea-drinking. feasting. hunting This kind of spinning wheel was a tool and a present the best gift for a bride Lots of compositions were about merrymaking Then the range began to expand Our painting is unique for the richness of the palette Sometimes it’s called Gorodets art The landscapes are so varied It’s not just about flower patterns and leaves as in many textile arts. but about different zoomorphic motifs and themes Gorodets artists paint with tempera When the paint’s ready. they do the undercoat The artist is always working Even when sitting or drinking tea. he’s always doing something always working. always thinking – especially if there’s a troublesome motif The work quietly takes shape through constant thought In the 19th century. Gorodets painting was done solely by men But in today’s setup. many workshops are staffed by women We employ 25 people Unfortunately. it must be said. we lost the younger generation because in the 90s and even now young people only want a big salary even if they lack the skills for the job I started working here 26 years ago when the factory was still a state-owned enterprise You have to be a real devotee It’s not about financial reward That’s simply not an option We can’t seem to attract any good managers The clock is ticking and we need young people able to navigate the market But there aren’t any That’s my opinion. at least We’re facing perhaps one of the most critical moments in our history because the factory doesn’t have enough stable orders in small quantities Put simply. without systematic government support Gorodets painting is unlikely to survive like all other crafts We hear from on high about how wonderful life is and how carefree we are That’s not the reality at all Thank God. we no longer get force- fed universal human values Back then I asked myself: what place do the textile arts and the national culture of Russia and all its peoples have in these universal human values?

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