Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hutsul Cross Stitch Embroidery, Ukraine

I have written about the Hutsul Nyzynka embroidery, which is considered to be the most typical. But Cross stitch embroidery has been made in the Hutsul lands for quite a long time now. The color palette tends to be much the same, based on black, maroon, red, orange, yellow ochre, yellow and some admixture of green. This has become very popular in the foothills and lowlands north of the Hutsul lands proper. You find embroiderers doing this style of embroidery all over Halychyna and further.
One version is doing a cross stitch imitation of Nyzynka designs, which tends not to be very effective, like this.
This results in a loss of the clean diagonal lines of the Nyzynka technique, obtaining instead a clumsy stairstep effect. This particular design could easily be done in Nyzynka. However, cross stitch enabled these designs to be elaborated in ways that Nyzynka was not capable of. Here are a couple examples of Nyzynka inspired designs that take advantage of the versatilitly of cross stitch. This first one is from a collection of graphed designs gathered and published by Ksenia Kolotylo.

And this one was embroidered by Ol'ha Voznytsia.

Cross Stitch is characterized by strong vertical and horizontal lines, and so lends itself to different sorts of designs. Here is a very old Hutsul design that has been copied and adapted over quite a wide area, even outside of Ukraine.

Many people have copied and elaborated designs in this style, and there are literally hundreds of them out there. Here are a couple of pieces executed by Yevhenia Henyk.

You will find these designs in many Ukrainian homes on various pieces of linen. Pillowcases, table scarves, rushnyks, curtains, table cloths, clothing, etc, The art of embroidery is very much alive among the Ukrainian people, and these are some of the most popular designs. Just a few more examples.

Yet another design from the collection of Ksenia Kolotylo, not derived from Nyzynka.

And just a couple more examples.

This is only a small sampling. This does not exhaust Hutsul embroidery by any means. One final note, the colors in many of these images are not exact. Either they were graphed schematically, without access to the exact shades necessary, or the printing technology available was not very good. So some of the images show darker or lighter or variations in hue that are not true to life. Brown is not used, what may appear to be brown will actually be some shade of maroon. If you decide to do some of these designs, i recommend that you go to the store, pick a skein of each color, hold them in your hand to see how well they complement each other, and substitute various possible shades until you find them pleasing, that is what i do myself. My recommendations for a Hutsul palette in DMC numbers: Black 312,
Maroon 777 or 815 or both, the darker could substitute for black, Red 666 or 321, Green 905,  Ochre 741. Orange 947, and Yellow 444? [i think].
I hope you find this inspiring. I think Diane will find this useful.
Please contact me with requests for research or commissions for something you may want designs, sewn or embroidered.

One positive thing that the Soviets did was to put the applied arts into the realm of art, and its practitioners on a level to be admired and respected. As they say, no-one can be wrong ALL the time.

Go forth and be creative. Our ancestors made much of what they used day to day, and they felt it necessary for such items to be things of beauty. We should not settle for the ordinary or the ugly in utilitarian items.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to contact me with requests for research. I hope to eventually cover all of Europe and the Former Russian Empire/Soviet Union. I also gratefully accept tips on source materials which i may not have. I also accept commissions to research/design, sew, and/or embroider costumes or other items for groups or individuals.
Roman K.

Source Material:
Ksenia Kolotylo, 'Ksenia Kolotylo Al'bom', Kyjiw [Kiev], 1992
Hasiuk & Stepan, 'Khydozhne Vyshyvannia' [Artistic Embroidery], Kyjiw [Kiev] 1986
Yevheniya Henyk, 'Embroidery and Weaving', Kyjiw [Kiev], 2007
Ol'ha Voznytsia, 'Vyshywka Moje Zhyttia' [Embroidery of my Life], Drohobych, Ukraine, 2006
V. Bilozub et al. 'Ukrainian Folk Art - Weaving and Embroidery', Kiev 1960

1 comment:

  1. Just so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.