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Weaving of pine wood chips

Since the ancient times, weaving of baskets with the use of pine wood chips (shingles) has been widespread in Vladimir land, rich in forests. Peasants of many districts of the Vladimir province were engaged in this craft. The handicraft has reached great development in the villages of Moshok, Mitino, Krasny Kust, Bor and other settlements of Sudogoda district.

Male masters, and sometimes entire families, were engaged in weaving baskets of pine wood chips mainly in the winter when they had no agricultural work. Baskets and boxes were made in different sizes and shapes – rectangular, square, oval, with an open top and with lids. There were measuring boxes for hay, boxes for picking mushrooms and berries, boxes for storing linen. Boxes with a handle were intended for transporting fruit and vegetables to the market, two-handled ones – for carrying firewood. Boxes were sold off at fairs in Sudogda, Moshok and Andreevo villages. But the craft was not the main occupation of people, since it did not bring much profit.

Currently, the craft has been revived in the village of Moshok, Sudogoda district, Vladimir region, by the master S.A. Kuznetsov. His grandfather passed him the traditional technology of weaving boxes, baskets for picking mushrooms, bast shoes and other products with the use of pine wood chips, and the grandfather had got it from the great-grandfather A.Yu. Fomin, who lived in the village of Bor. Sergey Kuznetsov has been engaged in this craft for almost two decades. He knows the secrets of choosing the pine. One should choose a pine and cut it in late autumn, in winter or in early spring, before the sap ascent. The pine should be straight-line, practically without knots. The material for shingles should be slightly moist, therefore the pine trunks prepared for processing are stored in water, where they can stay for years without blackening and spoiling. A log, from 1.2 to 2.2 meters long, is split with a knife or ax into 25-30 layers from the edge, along the annual rings, the core is not used. The older the tree, the denser the wood and the thinner the growth rings, the better the wood chips.

The manufacture of the box begins with braiding the bottom, for which the thickest layers of wood chips are used. Stripes of shingles are laid out lengthwise and crosswise, plaited in a checkerboard pattern, tightly pressed against each other. The remaining non-braided ends of the shingles are gently bent up. Then the side ribbons are woven in a staggered order. The last tape – the "belt" – is thicker than the previous ones, as it carries the load of the entire box. The manufacturing technology of boxes made of pine wood chips (shingles) is included in the Unified Register of Objects of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Vladimir Region.

To popularize the traditional craft, Sergey Kuznetsov holds demonstration and training master classes in weaving with the use of pine wood chips. His boxes and baskets are in great demand among buyers at the fairs. The master is an active participant in regional exhibitions and festivals of folk art.

Author: V. Korolkova