Monday, 19 November 2012

Exposition in Bergen

November 2012 we happened to have our first exposition. It was very exciting!
We were kindly asked to exhibit our embroidery with Russian twist in Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bergen.
Exposition of Russian Blackwork in NERSC, Norway
NERSC was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the affiliated Nansen-Center in St.Petersburg, thus the Day was dedicated to Russia.
The Nansen Center is an independent non-profit research foundation (Bergen, Norway).
The Nansen Center conducts basic and applied research with focus on marine
and polar environment.

Fritioft Nansen, 1861-1930
Norwegian polar explorer, researcher and public figure
We exposed 2 costume illustrations with short desciptions or European Blackwork and Russian folk embroidery and 9 embroideries.
Illustration and a short note on European Blackwork folk embroidery
Illustration and short note on Russian folk embroidery
Red line
Black line
In the future we plan to expose more of our work, when there will be on restriction on the theme.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Christmas tryptich "Holy night"

I fanally finished the tird part of our Christmas tryptich "Holy night" - Magi with gifts!
We did these series in summer 2011 and then started to stitch the models, but it took quite a long time to complete all the three parts.
Christmas tryptich sketch

Now as they are finished I'll proceed the pictures and all the necesary information and will staff the kits soon. So hopefully in the second half of November the whole collection will be available at our Etsy shop.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Orthodox icons in Blackwork

Yesterday I got pictures of the finished Vernicle.
I dont have words to express my feelings...
I just gaze at it with admiration and piety...
(hard to belive now that the pattern was worked by me 2 years ago)
The Holy face (Vernicle)

Thursday, 4 October 2012


Samovar is a part of life and destiny of Russian people, one of the well-known symbols of Old-time Russia.

Samovar, Lilia Dolganova, 1997
Samovar is reflected in Russian proverbs and sayings, in works of Russian classic writers and artists.
Merchant's wife by Boris Kustodiev, 1915
Maidens with samovar, Stanislav Babuk, 2004
Teatime by Anna Silivonchik, 
And of course, working on our collecton "Russian spirit" we could not pass by this famous Russian item!
Though, originally samovars were made of metalls, to my mind to suit the idea of Russian Blackwork, it should be crimson when talk about embroidery.
What do you think of it?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


I've spent a whole day yesterday working on the cover for our new design "Sudarushka".

Here is the version that I accept more or less.

And a humorous picture from my friend about Russian Blackwork, featuring again traditional Russian headwear kokoshnik ;)
A crafty she-bear stitching Blackwork
A crafty she-bear in kokoshnik
This illstration is worked out in a specific style called lubok. It is a traditional Russian popular print, characterized by simple graphics and narratives derived from literature, religious stories and popular tales. Lubok prints were used as decoration in houses and inns in 17-19 centuries.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Lovely Russian girl "Sudarushka"

This week I almost finished one of our old designs inspired by the ancient Russian headwears. It features a young lovely woman in a luxeriousely embroided headwear called "povoinik" and a shawl over it.
I decided to call this work "Sudarushka" - it is an out-of-date Russian word meaning a kindly address to a young beautiful woman.
Sudarushka, blackwork portrait of
a yong lovely Russian girl

 Let's have a look at the fascinating ancient Russian headwears. It is really a good and endless source of designer's inspiration! And before this small exursion I want to tell a bit about such types of old-time woman’s hewarwear as Povoinik, Kichka, Soroka and, of course, Kokoshnik.

Kichka is a headgear imitating cow’s horns and thus it symbolized the woman’s fertility. The horned kichka was worn by young married women and changed it into the hornless one when woman became old. It was mainly used in the Southern provinces (Tula, Ryazan, Kaluga, Oryol, etc.) of Russia. The kichka covered the hair and had a firm part in front above the face, with a piece of bark or a plank inserted, forming horns, a blade or a hoof. The kichka was put on the head, the hair thoroughly covered with cloth, and then the cloth was fixed on the head by way of rounding the hoofs several times with a lace. At the back of the kichka they used to put on a beaded right-angled stripe of velvet, fastened on cardboard for firmness.

The first written record of kichka refers to 1328. In the early 20th century this complex headgear was almost everywhere replaced by the povoinik, or the kerchief (headsquare). In the Voronezh Region, however, the kichka remained as a wedding garment till the 1950s.
Soroka was the name of the trimmed outer part of kichka-type headwear, its shape usually connected with the shape of a kichka. The soroka was made of fabric and, being stretched over the kichka, sometimes might hide its horns. Any peasant woman could sew it.
Kokoshnik is a folk headgear widely known thanks to Russian folk tales. The history of kokoshnik is full of enigmas and mysteries, and nobody knows when exactly it came to existence.
It is only known that orders of Peter the Great put an interdict on wearing kokoshnik by boyar ladies. Yet, the headwear survived in peasant and merchant milieu (mainly in the Northern provinces) as an attribute of festive or wedding dress, whereas in the late 18th century Catherine the Great allowed it only as an element of a carnival dress.
Unlike the everyday headwear such as soroka or kerchief, it was at first exclusively festive and was richly decorated with pearls, especially in the North. Only married women used to wear kichka and soroka, whereas kokoshnik was worn by unmarried maids as well.
Kokoshnik looks like a roundish shield around the head. The name “kokoshnik” comes from the Old Slavic “kokosh” that meant a hen or a cock. The main feature of the kokoshnik is a sort of a crest rising above the forehead. Its shape varied from province to province. It was a light fan of thick solid paper stitched to a cap with a ribbon running down behind. Kokoshniks were trimmed with brocade, galoons, beads, pearls and, the richest ones, with gems.

Old time Russian woman's headwear

Old time postcard, the begining of the 19th cent.
 If you feel like, you can find more information about ancient Russian female headwear here Traditional Women’s Headwear.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Old salt

A sailboat that I stitched recently is not the first marine gift that I did for my husband.
Last year I stitched a viking ship by Permin of Copenhagen for him
And a year before I did a cube with marine items on its sides (I'll post a photo a bit later as my husband brings it home fron work).
Besides this winter I did a greeting card for a friend who started a new job then.
So marine theme is really dear to me. And my Blackwork Birthday sailboat reminded me about a cross-stitch pattern that I developped long time ago for our friends who run a yacht-club. I called it Yachtsman's secret.

 I didn't have time to stitch that pattern then, but now as I'm plunged into the maritime theme I took up this work and I'm about to finish it in a week or two. It is very far from Blackwork, but rather funny, so I think it'll make you smile :)

Monday, 16 July 2012

Birthday sailboat-2

While waiting for a piece of Denim blue Aida
I stitched my Hardy sailing boat on Royal Blue fabric. And I cannot help decorating it with mini applique anchors :)
I think I'll mount it as a vimpel as I did a polar bear emblem that I once stitched for my husband
 May be I should try this boat on white Aida with Delft blue threads, but then some fill-ins should be changed. We'll see...

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The day of St.Peter and St.Fevronia

The 8th of July is the Day of St. Duke Peter and St. Duchess Fevronia, Russian Orthodox patrons of marriage, life long love and fidelity.
St.Peter and St.Fevronia
This recently established (in 2008) holiday is supposed to be purely Russian analogue western catholic of the St.Valentine's Day. Officially this day is called The Day of family, love and fidelity, and the symbol of this day is camomile.
I've already posted a story of Peter and Fevronia's life, but it's so charming that it is worth telling it again:

The story of love and fidelity of these two persons dates back to the 13 century.
The Duke Peter defeated a guileful snake who was causing much trouble to the people of his lands, ruled by Peter's brother Paul. But while fighting the snake Peter had got several drops of the snake's blood on him and his body covered with awful scabs. No doctor could help him then. But one day a wise man told him about a devout young peasant maiden, who lived in the most remote part of his lands and healed the incurables and who agreed to heal him. As a reward Peter promised to marry Fevronia when she succeded in healing him, but once healed, he didn't keep his promise and instead sent rich gifts to the maiden. However, soon Peter's body started to get covered with scabs again. Fevronia healed him again and this time they get married.
Peter's brother Paul soon died and Peter was to become to ruler of Murom. But the nobles - the boyars - were huffish and unwilling to have a peasant woman for princess, and they asked Fevronia to leave the city taking with her whatever riches she wants. Wise Fevronia agreed, asking them to let her choose but one most precious fro her item. The boyars readily let her do that, but soon found out that this most precios item was her husband, and Peter together with Fevronia left Murom. The city remained without a prince, and after a short while the boyars started to struggle for the power over the city, and the city of Murom plunged into chaos. So finally Peter and Fevronia were asked to get back and rule the city.
They reigned wisely and happily until their last days,and spent the end of their life in monasteries. They knew they would die on the same day and asked to be buried in the same grave. Though the Russian Orthodox tradition does not allow for a monk and a nun to be buried together, their bodies were twice found to disappear from the original coffins and finally remained in the common grave forever.

These persons were canonized in the middle of the 16th century, and Russian orthodox christians pray to Peter and
Fevronia for a happy family life.
(Still I should admit that historical chronicls do not tell us anything about the deeds of Morom ruler
Peter and his wife Fevronia in the 13th century, thus the whole story is a fantastic mixture of folk
legends about a malicious snake and a wise and virtuous peasant girl.)
According to the modern tradition this day is considered to be good for marriages.
And here is our vision of legendary Saints:
This design is one of 4 pieces from a quaint collection "The Russian Orthodox Icons"
These designs are based on the canonical images of well known and honored persons of the Russian Orthodox religion and performed in the Blackwork technique. We plan to finish stitching the modles of this collection be the end of this year, so the release of the whole collection will take place in 2013.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Birthday Boat

Though I'm again a newly baked mama (as Norwegians say), I'm full of  ideas and projects as usual :)
Summer is very fruiyful season for my family - on the 22nd of June we delivered our second son Andrej
in July it is my husband who is celebrating his Birthday and in August is my elder son's Birthday.
So for my husnband I've just finished a cute sailboat as he is very fond of the sea (and he is doing ocean studies by the way, though he studies ocean sitting at the office and working at the PC :)
Hope to stitch it within these 3 weeks. And surely I'll have to give up for a while my Slavic collection
but that is even for the better - usually after a short brake at one project I return to it with new thought and fresh ideas :)))

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

From Christianity to Heathen times...

I should confess that I am about to go to the Maternity Hospital to give birth to my second sun.
And now as I'm finishing my red Slavic design with the Great Mother-Ancestress I ponder over the fact that my pregnancy started with the work on the lovely Madonna and Child design.
When I finished stitching the model embroidery in October, 2011, I learned that I was pregnant. And I remember that I was stitching in a very positive mood and enjoyed the process of stitching very much.
And the end of my pregnancy is marked with the work on the wonderful heathen design of the Great Mother-Ancestress.
I find it curious that within these 9 months I made such a complicated and retrospective trip from the basic Christian theme back to our heathen origins.
My husband jokes that my next passion will surely be stone age idols and cave drawings.

 Well, you never know where one can find inspiration...