Traditions of Kosiv Painted Ceramics

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Traditions of Kosiv Painted Ceramics

Traditions of Kosiv Painted CeramicsTraditions of Kosiv Painted Ceramics are a unique phenomenon in Hutsuls’ folk art, which dates back to the end of XVIIIth century. Secrets of pottery and local traditions of working with clay have been transmitted from generation to generation.  A special characteristic of Kosiv ceramics is the reflection of Hutsuls’ life, their everyday household activities by means of naïve painting. The element closely linked to iconography – bible plots, images of saints, churches and bell towers are often used in pictures on tiles and plates next to everyday scenes.Another characteristic of Kosiv ceramics is tricolor scheme of products – yellow, green, brown. Such combination is associated with perception of nature – yellow colour symbolizes the Sun, green – the Carpathian Mountains, brown – the Earth. Sometimes craftsmen add blue colour as well.

Ceramic products are created in several stages: firstly, a formed item is covered with “whitewash” - white clay, and then it is dried and painted with stylus (“pysachok”) in the engraving technique, which is typical for Kosiv ceramics. As a result, on a white background grey clay is visible, creating a graphic painting. After this, the product is roasted, painted in traditional colours, covered with ceramic glaze, and then it’s roasted again.

Typology of products of Kosiv painted ceramics is interesting and rich according to their purpose: toy plastic, products for interior decoration, as well as consumer goods, sacral products and souvenirs.

The local community, who has been living on the territory of the Ukrainian Carpathians, considers Kosiv ceramics as a factor of identity, belonging to the commune of Hutsuls. This fact is also illustrated by the community identification of  two names of the element "Kosiv figured ceramics" and "Hutsul’s ceramics".

Traditions of Kosiv ceramics developed in three mountain centres: village Pistyn, Kosiv (with Monastyrske, Moskalivka, Stary Kosiv, Smodne, Verbovets villages), Kuta and Stari Kuty villages. Today the element is mostly widespread in Kosiv and neighbouring villages: Pistyn, Verbovets, Stary Kosiv and in the urban village Kuty.  Entire artistic families and individual craftsman, who are bearers of the element, live in this locality. For example, Hryvinskykh family - Vasyl (born in 1963), Petro (born in 1959) and Mariia (born in 1966), Dileta-Kozak Ivanna (born in 1959) and Bohdan (born in 1957), Trotsiv Ihor (born in 1970), Trots-Yakibchuk Khrystyna (born in 1977) and their daughter Teresa (born in 1997), Trushykiv Mykhailo (born 1963) and Halyna (born in 1968), Tulainovykh Halyna (born in 1955), her daughter Tetiana (born in 1980) and granddaughter Slava - Anastasiia (born in 2009), Chornykh Orest (born 1964) and his son Mykola (born in 1997), Yakibchuk Roman (born in 1964) and Liudmyla (born in 1959), as well as individual masters: Balahurak Khrystyna (born in 1959), Beisiuk Oksana (born in 1951), Burmych Bohdan (born in 1951), Hryniuk Mariia (born in 1959), Dzhuraniuk Valentyna (born in 1948), Kabyn Oksana (born in 1958), Uhliar Oleksandra (born in 1945), Tsvilyk- Serohina Iryna (born in 1950), Shkromiuk Uliana (born in 1952) and others.The bearers are also craftsmen of Kosiv regional organization of National Artists Union of Ukraine, who engage professionally in this traditional craft. Kosiv State Institute of Applied and Decorative Art LNAA, which is the centre for ceramics masters, is directly related to existence of the element and transferring knowledge about it. 

The best way of transferring knowledge about Kosiv ceramics is master-classes from bearers of the element, stories and lectures on the symbolism and technology of the craft. For this purpose, Kosiv organization of National Artists Union of Ukraine organizes collective exhibitions of local ceramists and conducts master classes with tourists and schoolchildren systematically.Different ethnic festivals are annually held in Kosiv district, in particular “Ludine” and “Malovanyi Dzbanyk” that bring a lot of fans of ceramic art together. The dissemination of artistic practices is promoted by the international plein air "Pottery in Kosiv", which is held on the basis of Kosiv Institute of Applied and Decorative Art. There is a range of training programmes for specialists in ceramics in the institute that contributes to the continuation of art dynasties. Students of the institute conduct researches combined with practical work by writing coursework and thesis. In 2012 the book “Kosiv and Pistyn painted ceramics in XIXth – beginning of XXth centuries” was published, in 2013 - a monographic study on the Kosiv craftswoman "The World of Images of Valentyna Dzhuraniuk" and a children’s book "Fairy-tales" by Khrystyna Strynadiuk, illustrated with ornaments of Kosiv painted ceramics. In addition, advertising production is printed - catalogs, calendars, leaflets.In 2015 tradition of Kosiv ceramics was presented in Athens (Greece) for the first time. Master classes from bearers of the element and an exhibition of the work of Trotsiv family were organized there. An artistic action “The painted ceramics of Kosiv is a wonder of Hutsul land”, which is intended to demonstrate a living tradition and widely popularize it, was performed in Kyiv in June, 2015. 

Kosiv – center of Kosiv district in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast

Area: 11.38 sq. km.

Population: 8634 people

Population density: 743 / sq. km

Driving distance from Kiev to Kosiv: 602 km

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