Folk Crafts Get the Olympic Treatment
A series of traditional Russian folk craft products including the famous Khokhloma Matryoshka dolls have been updated Sochi 2014 style. Among them are figurines of the mascots for the Games in Sochi ornamented with the world-renowned Gzhel style hand painting, the famous Matryoshka dolls and trays with Olympic rings, and painted Semikarakorsk ceramics with the logo of the 2014 Games. The licensed merchandise has gone on sale across Russia at designated Olympic departments in “Sportmaster” stores and online.
As part of the Sochi 2014 Licensing Program, special attention has been given to companies that produce goods with traditional Russian designs. These items not only continue the theme of Russian folk traditions, but they seamlessly fit into the philosophy of the Sochi 2014 brand, reflecting the multifaceted Russian nature. All of the products are made by hand exclusively at domestic companies by Sochi 2014 “Folk Craft” license holders. These are leading companies in Russia's folk craft market – "Gzhel Porcelain Factory", "Khokhloma Painting" and «Aksinya" (Semikarakorsk ceramics).
The artists of the "Gzhel Porcelain Factory" company whose unique products have long been famous not only in Russia but across the world as well, have developed a special line of products that combines the Sochi symbol and the ethnic Gzhel design. These include cups, plates, platters, vases and services with Olympic and Paralympic logos. It is expected that there will be a particular demand for the figurines of the three Sochi 2014 Olympic mascots with Gzhel style hand painting. In all, 40 craftsmen at the business will work on making products with Winter Olympics symbols.
Without a doubt, one of the "Olympic hits" of the "Khokhloma Painting" company will be one of Russia's symbols - the traditional Semyonovskaya Matryoshka doll with a yellow scarf, red dress and flowers in her apron, which is very popular across the globe. Decorated with the Olympic or Paralympic symbols, the Matryoshka doll will be a memorable souvenir for all enthusiasts of this craft. Other Khokhloma products will also be on sale - trays, spoons, mugs and boxes with Sochi 2014 symbols.
In 2011, the symbol of the annual "Golden Khokhloma" festival was a one-meter Russian Matryoshka doll with Olympic symbols, made to mark the future Games in Sochi. Visitors, especially children, could not pass the souvenir without taking photos with the doll as a memento.
The third licensee, "Aksinya" company, will offer its own Olympic series of famous Semikarakorsk ceramic products. These include teapots, mugs, cups, plates, dinner sets, vases and bells in original forms and with unique hand-painted delicate floral patterns. The entire Sochi 2014 collection is made by skilled craftsmen using unique techniques of one of the folk crafts - Semikarakorsk ceramics, the pride of Lower Don culture.
On April, 21, 2012, a celebration of "Semikarakorsk patterns", dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the craft took place. To mark this date, artists and masters of the craft created a “Bogatyr” teapot, 1m 85 cm high, with a volume of 904 liters and weighing 600 kg. The prototype of the "giant" was the teapot, produced by the company since 1996. The giant teapot is traditionally painted with the Sochi 2014 logo in honor of the upcoming Winter Games. In order to quench the thirst of all the inhabitants of Sochi, it would need to be filled 100 times.
Ksenia Safronova, head of "Gzhel" direction of "Gzhel Porcelain Factory" company, said:
"By becoming a licensee of the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games of 2014 in Sochi, we have a unique opportunity to be part of this legendary event and contribute to history. We have no doubt that our participation in the Sochi 2014 Licensing Program will help popularize traditional Russian folk art around the world, and gifts and charms created by the hands of Gzhel masters will be a hallmark of Russia in all continents."
Elena Krayushkina, General Director of "Khokhloma Painting" company, emphasized:
"We have already engaged our best experts in manufacturing products with Olympic and Paralympic symbols. We are convinced that Olympic products from Khokhloma Painting will be a huge success, and souvenirs made in Semenov, will be a reminder of the Sochi Games for Olympic guests from around the world for many years."
Irina Bondareva, director of "Aksinya" company, noted:
"We are delighted that items made of Semikarakorsk faience - an eye-catching example of the folk art culture of Southern Russia, entirely characteristic of the traditions of Don folk art - are going to be painted with the Olympic rings. We are proud to be involved with such a significant event in our country's history as the Olympic Winter Games of 2014 in Sochi."
Notes to the editor
"Gzhel Porcelain Factory" company
The Gzhel Porcelain Factory was founded in 1818. Today, it is Russia's biggest firm manufacturing traditional porcelain with hand-painted cobalt designs. The products made at the factory are a permanent fixture at exhibitions of folk arts and crafts.
"Khokhloma Painting" company
"Khokhloma Painting" company is the biggest manufacturer of folk arts and crafts items in Russia. It is a unique factory seeking to preserve the traditions of the folk craft of manufacturing wooden plates and bowls, which sprang up in the second half of the XVII century near the trade town of Khokhloma, in the Nizhegorodskaya Governorship. The khokhloma craft has been an important part of Russia's folk culture for several centuries.
"Aksinya" company is one of Russia's folk arts and crafts firms. It produces artistic Semikarakorsk faience, characterized by its original shapes and inimitable hand-painted designs.
Semikarakorsk faience is an eye-catching example of the folk art culture of Southern Russia. It is imbued with all the different hues of this wonderful and mighty region, with the local spiritual culture, and with the traditions of Don art.
Semikarakorsk ceramics are the pride of Russian culture and a source of national prestige for the country.