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Kovrov clay toy

Archaeological excavations on the banks of the Klyazma River that are rich in unique natural material – red and blue clay – give evidence that pottery existed in the Kovrov land as early as in the 12-14th centuries. Alongside with pottery, local craftsmen traditionally made toys: whistles of various shapes, figures depicting people, animals and birds. They were unpretentious, cheap and varied in forms and plots. They were played not only by children, but also by adults, for example, during the periods of fairs and festivities.

Making clay toys has become one of the demanded crafts in the Kovrov land in the 90s of the 20th century. The Kovrov clay toy factory created in 1993 (its founder and permanent leader – N. P. Baranova) stimulated its new development. On the basis of the study of historical and local history and expeditionary materials concerning the ancient craft the factory masters were able to create a unique style of a modern clay toy that has a special charm and is always recognizable. Its stylistic features are bright colors, inherent in the Vladimir school of painting, a variety of everyday plots, careful study of details, good humor. The Kovrov clay toy implies interesting genre compositions that can be combined and completed. The scenes of Russian everyday life, fairy-tale and historical subjects are embodied in bright clay figures. Therefore, the Kovrov clay toy won recognition and love not only among children, but also among adults.

The author's works by Kovrov masters adorn museum expositions not only in Kovrov and Vladimir, they can even be seen in the museums of Moscow and other Russian cities. The Kovrov clay toy factory was awarded diplomas of prestigious exhibitions at the regional, Russian and international levels, and included in the encyclopedia of Folk Art of Russia. In 2006 the enterprise, together with the Kovrov Historical and Memorial Museum, was awarded a Grant of the President of the Russian Federation for the presented project of the interactive museum exposition "The World of Clay Toys", where visitors, under the guidance of masters, can try their hands at modeling and art painting of toys. In the training center at the factory the craftsmen pass on the experience and secrets of making Kovrov clay toys to young people, preserving the original craft for future generations.

Author: V. Korolkova