XXth Century Belarusian Craft- Wooden Filigree

Folk arts have existed for centuries as a simple productional form, and have become more and more complicated with time. 

Take the example of Belarus, where the wooden filigree technique was found at the end of the xxxx century. This historical craft is all about modifying old objects in the form of pottery, glass and textile productions with interesting and unique artistic attitudes. 

A plate decorated in the technic of Sozh skan’ (filigree) [1]

These productions, mostly small-scale, are based on wide use of hand tools and personal skills of craft workers to ensure high quality. Take the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius monastery in Sergiev Posad town of Russia, which had Amvorsij, a talented monk in the 15th century, who was an outstanding carver and jeweler of his time.

Wooden swarfs [5]

The monk created an icon, which was decorated with wooden chips which became a prominent masterpiece of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. It is located at the Museum of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Russia. 

Icon of St. Nicolas with a frame in Sozh filigree technic

The unique religious artwork was discovered by noted Belarusian artist Vladimir Tsekunov who brought this craft back to life in the 1990s, and founded a school in the technique. The art craft is a complicated combination of wooden chips for decoration and creation of unique artistic works. Tsekunov created a special machine with tweezers for wood shavings, which are need for a working process. 

In addition, the master and all his students do not use any additional paints. All works have natural wooden colors without any additional chemical elements. The colors are different because the masters use different types of wood, which give different shades and colors during the process. The width of a wooden chip is no more than a millimeter , and are fixed with liquid glue.  A matte vanish is then applied to the artwork emphasize the beauty of the wood, where a microscope gives sometimes only an opportunity to see the smallest parts of compositional details of this ” timber mosaic”.

Vladimir Tsekunov

There are a limited number of specialists, who work in this technique, such as Sergey Podolnitsky, Michael Shumsky, Eugene Shvetsov and Sergey Kuzmenkon whowork as filigree masters in their own unique styles.

This art, such as the Icon of St. Maria’s heart, a present to Pope Francis the sixth is a unique masterpiece, which cannot be recreated again. Some of these masterpieces are jewelry boxes, panels, and even icons and were given as presents abroad to many famous personalities, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis and others.

Icon of St. Maria’s heart, the present from the president of Belarus to Pope Francis [6]

Sources:

1) http://www.artfolk.by/shumskiy-mihail.html

2) http://www.ctv.by/sozhskaya-skan-unikalnaya-tehnika-vyshivki-derevyannoy-struzhkoy

3) V.V. Tsekunov 1st and 2nd part of film [online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz8IUHYhZ4g]

4) http://tsekunov.narod.ru/photoalbum.html

5)http://www.liveinternet.ru/tags/%D1%EA%E0%ED%FC+%22%D6%E5%EA%F3%ED%EE%E2%EA%E0%22/

6) http://sputnik.by/religion/20151023/1018034209.html

 

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