Khokhloma is an old Russian folk craft, born in XVII. It is a decorative painting of wooden utensils and furniture, made in golden, red, and green color on a black background. The traditional elements of Khokhloma are red ashberries and strawberries, flowers and branches, as well as birds, fish and animals.
The golden color is achieved by using tin, which after varnishing and processing in the oven acquires a unique honey-golden color.
Nizhniy Novgorod province is considered to be the birthplace of the Khokhloma. According to one of the versions, Old Believers icon painters who lived there in the middle of the 17th century were the first ones to decorate wooden dishes. Products were sold in the village under the name Khokhloma, this is how the name started. It should be noted that there are other versions of the origin of the craft.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the items started being brought to the Makaryevskaya fair (which the largest fair in Russia from the 17th to early 19th century) where buyers and sellers from all over Russia used to gather. This way khokhloma products became known throughout the country. Since the XIX century, when visitors from all over Europe and Asia began to gather at the fair, the khokhloma items appeared in many parts of the world. Russian merchants were also selling the products in India and Turkey.
After the collapse of the USSR, the craft went through difficult times — the number of craftsmen reduced almost 4 times comparing to USSR times (from about 2500 to 650). Currently, the khokhloma craft has two centers: the city of Semyonov and the village of Semino.
Production technology of Khokhloma
First, blank logs are cut of wood. Then the piece is given the desired shape. The resulting products that will be painted is called “linen”.
After drying, the “linen” is coated with liquid purified clay, dried for 7–8 hours, dried and covered by hand with several layers of linseed oil. The task of the master is to evenly distribute the layer of linseed oil on the surface of the product. This operation is very important, the quality of wooden utensils and the strength of the painting will depend on it in the future. The product is covered with linseed 3-4 times. Then aluminum powder is rubbed into its surface by hand, after which the objects acquire a beautiful white-mirror shine and are ready for painting.
Oil paints are used in the painting. Painted products are coated with a special varnish 4–5 times (with intermediate drying after each layer) and finally hardened for 3-4 hours in an oven at a temperature of + 150 … +160 ° C until a golden-colored oil-varnish film is formed. This is how the famous “Golden Khokhloma” is made.