From Belarus with love or Belarusian crafts
I had already been ready to take you to Minsk, when another interesting topic popped up. Belarusian crafts are so close to Belarusian province and village that I decided not to put it off.
This is the sun and this is bread: the sun gives bread and reflects in its golden ears. Straw has been playing a large role in popular Belarusian believes since ancient times. That’s why so is the material.
After harvesting, peasants used all remains too. Not just for spreading under cattle or for feeding it, but they also did different ritual animals and decorative things from straw. To my mind, the most interesting fetish is straw ‘spider’. A lot of its tubules create magic geometrical figures that are considered to protect the house from evil spirit. They even were hanged on above cradles. Sure, you won’t find it at every place nowadays, but craftsmen still do it. You can see some of the ‘spiders’ varieties here. There are more applicable than decorative straw goods are done too: different baskets or cribs like here.
And just recently I saw a very cute straw-toys set for New Year tree. Perhaps, you’ll see it later on the picture of my tree:)
Flax is also our traditional culture and material. I mentioned weaving while was writing about Slutsk Belts, but the tradition of weaving has outlasted the belts itselves. Besides nice table-cloths and tea-cloths you can find in Belarus charming flax-dolls.
Embroidery was a very common occupation of good Belarusian girls at the XVIII – XIX cent :) They decorated both clothes and household goods like towels, dish-clothes and so on... Every pattern has its sense, that’s why every embroidered shirt was assigned for a certain case. A girl before marriage was even judged as a good or not hostess by her embroidery. Belarusian traditional patterns are geometrical and mainly of red white and black colors. Besides it you can see animals and birds among it. Thus, swans meant big love, a pigeon – faithfulness and little ducks signified hard-working woman and fertility as well as changing of day and night. Here you will find some of the traditional designs.
Pottery is another craft known for ages in Belarus. There are earthenware at every shop of souvenirs and even the potter's process is revealed at the museums in the open air or at festivals.
Belarus is rich with forest and it is natural that woodworking has been popular too. People built their wooden houses (you saw on the ‘village’ pics) and made patterned window-frames. There were many wooden things inside houses too, like big spoons for making jam or makeup boards...
As for me I really love some crafted goods that I can use in life. And I’m sure if you come here you’ll find something for you ;)