Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rose Evening - a Real Hand Block Printed Russian Shawl

Many sellers on Ebay or Etsy will claim that Russian shawls they are selling are handmade or at least hand block printed. Well, in most cases that is a complete nonsense. The modern Russian shawls as we know them - those made at the Pavlovo Posad Manufacture - are not handmade. They are mass made at a large factory. However, the Manufacture produced hand block printed shawls till 1974: the last such shawl was Russia by Ekaterina Dadonova. As this was quite a long time ago, and Russian shawls, although strong, are made of wool which deteriorates with time and is beloved by moth, there are not too many around in our days. And I can assure you that in most cases the shawls stated to be hand printed are not. This can be a mistake or a marketing move, it depends on the person I guess. Actually I made this mistake myself a couple of times, thinking that vintage shawls printed by photo film method were hand printed (in all instances they were designed by Simeon Ryjov, and his designs always look like hand printed). Now I know better.  

This topic merits a separate lengthy post with examples of different printing methods, but now I just want to show a shawl which was definitely hand block printed. It is called "Rose Evening" and this was an antique design restored by Victor Zubritsky ("Розовый вечер", художник Виктор Зубрицкий, ручная печать). To me, it is immediately obvious that this is a hand block printed shawl: it has that living and breathing quality of print that I value so much. It is as alive as a watercolour, with same lovely imperfections. Some lines seem to be trembling, and dye can run a little beyond the contours, lending a very touching feel of alive beauty to this design.

This shawl is not for sale at the moment, but we have many others in our Etsy shop.


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