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Symphony of colors Russian lace maker Arina Baskakova

When I first saw Arina's lace creation, I fell in love with the color combination of her creations. Thicker material, the balance of colors, and beautiful work. Do you agree with me? If yes, I am sure you would like to hear Arina's lace story. Arina is a 21-year-old girl from Russian city Ryazan who fell in love with lace, and lace became her life.


Let Arina tell us her story.


I have been involved in lace making for five years. My interest in making lace came naturally; the Ryazan region was the center of traditional lace making for a very long time. We can recognize five bobbin lace centers ( schools) in this Region. Lace was widely used, and actually, in my childhood, lace was always around me. It was natural for me to be surrounded by lace.

In Mikhailov city, it was the first time when I saw colorful lace. I was astonished by those colors. It was a vibrant, radiating energy of joy. Mikhailov in history was a very important lacemaking center, and lace making is still produced in this city. I did not know too much about bobbin lace. My interest started during my study at university. It was after school class, and I wanted to evolve my creativity.


I visited different places in the Ryazan region for inspiration. I applied to study at the Professional School of Folk Arts, where I started to study folk art and craft. Part of this study has been learning bobbin lace technique.

My first attempt to make bobbin lace was pitiful; it was difficult; it did not come quite right. I made a lot of mistakes, and I thought that I would never learn this technique, I would never enjoy it. I was lost. But you should never say never after I finished my first piece of real lace, not just samples when I worked from beginning to the end. I started to see bobbin lace from a different angle. And I realized I like this intricate technique. I liked it so much. I decided to master it.


I studied bobbin lace made by folks in my area. I wanted to know more about my people, history of the craft, and art in my area, and I discovered that there are two places which have significant lace, which resonates with me most: Izherslavi and Mikhailov. Lace done in those places is, in my opinion, incredibly colorful and elegant. It was like a mosaic composed of many colorful pieces, and altogether made up a magical picture. Those colors spoke to me so loud, and it resonated with my soul, I fell in love with those colors. My path in lacemaking took its shape, and since then, I am mostly making lace, which is colorful and vibrant.


At the beginning of my study in lacemaking, I did not enjoy working in one color, working with different shades, with different colors is more exciting to me. It is more for me.

Yes, it is always like a detective story, you work on lace, but you never know the result till you finish it and remove it from the pillow. This is the moment when lace is born, and I love this moment most.


If I look back, it would be very difficult to say what was most complicated for me in learning bobbin lace. Probably I would say it was a selection of colors and their distribution. Sometimes I was striving for inspiration. It did not always come immediately.


And the selection of colors is sometimes difficult for me even now, but at the same time, it is a very interesting part of the creation process. During the years, I collected a large collection of different threads, and when I ready to work on a new piece, I do the following: I take out all boxes with threads, and I choose two primary colors, which I want to focus on. Then I look for additional shades that will complement those two main colors, bring up the vibration of those colors, and underline their beauty.


If the piece is large, I draw the shape on the paper in detail. But to be honest, I like to work more freely.

I find inspiration in folk craft. I study samples of local lacemakers, photos of their work, books written about folk art. I try to understand the basic principles according to which they select their colors and try to apply the same principle in my work.

Lately, I choose to work in a multi-pair weaving technique, which is unfortunately not very popular. Many people think that this is a difficult technique because of the number of pairs. Probably, the most confusing and challenging part of this process is to be able to distribute pairs of bobbins during weaning. But I love this type of lace, and for me, it is reaching lace potential. Most of my time during study at the college, I worked on this type of lace. I summarized in my thesis. Blues "Raspberry jingle floated over the meadow." in the multi-paired scanning weaving technique of the village of Izheslavl. This work of mine is still the most voluminous and multifaceted thing, since 92 pairs.

If I would say something more about colors and shades, it is directly related to the tradition of my Region. I use colors that have been practically the hallmark of the Maikhylovsk and Izheslavl, which is red, white, black, yellow, and gray linen. I would like to bring up how essential colors play in our tradition. It makes local lace quite unique. I would like to prove that today's tradition is still relevant, and bobbin lace could be used today in daily life and clothing and be part of our life very much the same way it was for centuries.


In my opinion, such an amazing craft must necessarily develop and continue. And I am glad that I have the opportunity to support the Ryazan lace as a lacemaker and as a teacher. At the moment, I teach in several places. The main one is the Children's Art School, where, in addition to fine art, my children and I are engaged in lace making. And thanks to the "Kruglitsa," an online school of bobbin lacemaking, I can also teach adults. Here I developed several courses on the Mikhailovsky lace weaving of different levels of complexity. And I am incredibly pleased when I see my students` progress and interest.

Now I'm planning not only to continue to teach but also to become a master of lacemaking. During my career, I regularly participated in national and regional festivals and competitions, where my lace won prizes and awards. And I am very proud of these achievements. I would like to show our craft at exhibitions in different countries, to show unusual lace existing in Russia and get to know other lacemakers. Interaction between lacemakers is very important.

If we talk about the sale, then at the moment, I am carrying out small orders for jewelry in the style of Mikhailovsky lace or scanned lace. For example, I made a set of earrings, which are now used as an addition to a set of Russian folk costume. And at the same time, I weaved a collar and cuffs for modern women's clothing. But my mind is open for various projects and proposals, and I'm also planning to open a store on the ETSY platform this year.


To be honest, I was absolutely taken by Arinas lace's beauty, and her story brought me to her native land. Did you get inspired by her creation? Are you ready to work with colors now? For many years I am also working with colors, but I never thought about the significance of shades in traditional lace or its meaning. We would welcome your input about your knowledge of the meaning of colors, what they signify to you. We would like to share it with our other readers. Exchanging ideas will widen our world of laces.


If you like Arina's lace and would like to see more of her work, please follow her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/house_of_cozy_lace/


I am sure she would like to hear your feedback and comments about her bobbin lace.

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