Land rich with talent
Dubrovno masters renew the tradition of ‘marachevskiye’ clay penny whistles
It was little over a year ago that Lyudmila Chervinskaya decided to revive the endangered tradition of clay toy penny whistle making. As a member of the Dubrovno District Craft Club, she has taken on an important role; the craft will be eligible in the future for the status of a craft of historic and cultural value for the Dubrovno District. The region was famous for clay crafts, and in the past housed large workshops. The famous master toymaker Anna Maracheva lived here, included in the encyclopaedia of Belarusian folk art as one of last masters able to make such toys. Her works include ‘marachevskiye’ horses, birds, ladies and other characters and she is famous far outside the Vitebsk Region. Collections of her works are stored in museums in Minsk, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
“Through use of our own funds, and donations from older residents of the district we have several of her penny whistles that have been restored by Lyudmila Chervinskaya. Now she gives free rein to her own imagination in creating new examples of the toy, but follows the same techniques keeping the characteristic appearance and sound of the old whistles,” explained Olga Alexeeva, the Head of Dubravushka National Guild of Master Craftsmen at the Dubrovno District Craft Guild.
The Director of the Regional Centre of Folk Art, Yekaterina Labuko, explained the importance of Lyudmila’s work, “Clay toys and penny whistles are not a rarity, but many masters do not follow the traditions. A real Dymkovo toy is made completely according to old methods.”
Vitebsk Regional Centre of Folk Art is currently hosting an exhibition of the work of these guild members and master craftsmen. The best of their work is on display. Among the exhibits are examples of willow weaving, straw weaving, straw and fabric appliqué, embroidery, knitting, patchwork, weaving, pottery, carving and many more crafts.
By Anastasia Shoplya