Zhostovo

Lush flowers, scrumptious berries, and bursting buds are weaved together into brilliant bouquets on black metal trays. More fine than folk art, Zhostovo takes inspiration from nature and adds some lustrous shine with gold leaf, mother-of-pearl, and metal powder. What better introduction to Earth’s enchanting flora? 

Vologda lace

Delicate and intricate, the traditional Russian lace manufactured around the town of Vologda has somehow managed to preserve its appeal through the centuries and is still highly valued for its craftsmanship and designs. The Russian word for lace – kruzhevo – translates as to encircle, meaning that it used to be a fashionable way to decorate round garment elements, such as cuffs, collars, and hemlines. Till this day you can find Vologda lace as a coveted design element on clothes, tablecloths, napkins, and shawls. Why not a spaceship? 

Dymkovo toys

An old Russian folk art handicraft, Dymkovo toys are molded clay figures of people and animals painted with vibrant colors and geometric ornaments of circles, checks, and dots. There’s lots of ruffles, puffed collars, and voluminous skirts. Birds have peacock-like tails. Bird and horse whistles made in this technique have magic powers to usher in spring, as well as convey the friendly spirit of Earthlings. 

Gzhel

This distinct style is blue cobalt paint on white porcelain. Dating back to the early 19th century, it comes from the town of Gzhel, famous for its clay, where artisans still produce and paint tableware and sculptures by hand. Watch for distinct flowers, winter scenes, as well as plots that reveal themselves to a keen observer, or an extraterrestrial with a powerful telescope.

Curious about other traditional Russian patterns and designs? Check out the Art of Russia’s Indigenous People or if you’re in St. Petersburg, spend an afternoon in the Russian Museum of Ethnography. 

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