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Scrappy sewing (patchwork)

Scrappy sewing, one of the types of female needlework, has long been widely spread in Vladimir land. It was in many respects facilitated by the centuries-old textile traditions of the Vladimir province. At the beginning of the 18th century cloth manufactories operated in the village of Ivanovo; the center of the linen industry was Vyazniki. In the middle of the 19th century silk weaving was developed in Kirzhach district; Baranovs’ chintzes produced in the village of Karabanovo near Aleksandrov were known throughout the country. By the end of the 19th century, large textile enterprises had been working in Sobinka, Sudogda, Kameshkovo, Yuryev-Polsky and other towns of the Vladimir province. Scrappy sewing existed everywhere in the Vladimir province as the most economical and practical way of making the necessary clothes and fabric items for everyday life. 

The creation of products from rags has been practiced for centuries, first of all, in peasant families, which were characterized by a careful attitude to fabric, both produced at home (before the 18th century homespun cloth was mainly used) and purchased. Mostly rags from used clothes were utilized which were irregular in shape and randomly connected. Women sorted and kept scraps of fabric, not only for repairing finished clothes, but also for creating new things: scrappy blankets (quilts), rugs, pillows, bedspreads. Patchwork products combined utilitarian and decorative functions. 

At the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, patchwork was widely used in folk costumes where it replaced complex lace designs, embroideries and woven elements. In the 20th century, thanks to the then available technical facilities and diversity of fabrics, scrappy works became more colorful and unique. In the last decades of the 20th century the folklore style in clothes and interior decoration came into fashion which spurred interest in patchwork.

In Vladimir region interest in scrappy sewing as a traditional form of needlework and folk art is being revived. Dozens of studios, folk groups and patchwork clubs are successfully operating in many cities and districts. Nowadays, craftswomen use rags to make fashionable clothes, scrappy dolls, and even paintings. The themes of patchwork are very diverse: landscapes, monuments of ancient architecture of Vladimir, Suzdal and other cities of the region, plots of Russian folk tales, still life, etc. 

The Regional Center of Folk Art (RCFA) unites and coordinates this creative activity. For many years the folk arts and crafts studio, the scrappy sewing workshop have been operating at the RCFA. Meetings with experienced masters of patchwork, creative laboratories, visiting seminars, master classes are held here. The RCFA collection contains real works of art – patchwork items made by the masters of decorative and applied art Ye.N. Slavnova, N.A. Saraeva, Ye.Ye. Aksyonnikova, O.N. Vinnichenko, N.Ye. Tkacheva and others. Patchwork exhibitions of folk studios of Vladimir and other cities of the region, as well as personal exhibitions are regularly arranged at the RCFA.

Author: V. Korolkova