Homecrafts in Karelia
Traditional trades Homecrafts in Karelia in Karelia.
At the same time, under the surveys of the district council, the majority of Karelian handicraftsmen practiced homecrafts alongside with agriculture. Only 300 of them, or 4,3 %, had no arable land. Homecraft was the principal source of income for 4,400 people (63,8 %), and the subsidiary one for 2,200 (3 1,9 %) besides fishing, hunting and different kinds of seasonal work villagers could find in cities? This data indicate that the separation of small industries and agriculture only started in this region.
Petrozavodsk district ranked first by the number of handicraftsmen: 2,600 were registered in 1 900- 1 90 1. Olonets and Pudozh districts were right next with 1,800 and 1,700 people respectively. The least quantity of handicraftsmen – 700 people – was recorded in Povenets district.3 Arkhangelsk City Committee of Statistics reports that 1,300 farmers were engaged in homecrafts in Kem district in 1872, and 1,000 in 1 9014. As we can see, more than a half of handicraftsmen were concentrated in two southern districts – Petrozavodsk and Olonets uyezds, both of those were most densely populated and adjacent to Onego-Ladoga Route which linked the region with Petersburg and up-country.
Wood processing industries were developed in Karelia most of all. By the beginning of the XX cv 49 % of all handicraftsmen (3,400), without regard to Kern district, were involved in them. The reason for that is the abundance of raw materials, i.e. timber, as well as the wide use of wooden items and household equipment in countryside. About 22 % (1,500) of handicraftsmen were engaged in processing of fibrous substances, 20 % (1,400) in animal goods, and the least of all, 9 % (600), in minerals and metal working, which shows that rich regional resources were low involved in the economy.
The most wide spread and typical wood processing industries in Karelia within the period under review were joinery, cooperage, baskets and box production, wheels and carriage manufacture, boat building, tar extraction and the procurement of willow bark. According to inspectors from the district council, joinery was spread all over the region, although initially it was intended for “the satisfaction of local needs mostly”. The census of Karelian districts within Olonets province as of 1900- 1901 registered 327 joiners who worked in their settlements. Under the records, there were 32 joiners in Kem district in 1872, and 51 joiner in 1901.
Masfers of joinery worked on their croft when were not busy with farming, and they produced furniture for kitchen and household needs like tables, stools, chairs, wardrobes, chests of drawers, beds as well as doors, window framings, and some minor items, e.g. boards for spice cakes, distaffs, bowls etc. Depending on the income of the customer, this furniture could be simply made of dressed boards or, they could come up with the “improved” version that was painted and upholstered. For example, a plain chair costed 50 kopecks in the early 1900-s, meanwhile the painted and upholstered one thrice as more. Some craftsmen varnish their produce and ornamented with carvings or paintings. The majority of joiners just like all those engaged in woodworking, procured wood raw material within the village shares of forestland that was granted to farmers after the reform of 1861.
This trade was a transition from a handicraft to small-scale commodity production. Custom-made goods coexisted with the produce manufactured for unrestricted sale. In the latter case, craftsmen were selling their goods to the inhabitants of the adjacent settlements at the nearest fairs, buying and selling places and markets.
Some of the home-produced furniture in Velikaya Guba and Syamozero volosts within Petrozavodsk district was sold out to working people in Petrozavodsk from time to time. Job shop production was most probably dominating in this branch of handicrafts yet by the beginning of the XX c. According to investigations, the average income of furniture maker was 58-65 rub. a year (actually, 5-6 months of workj, or 10 rub. a month, which was lower than the salary of full-time factory workers and estimated as low earnings in the statistics of district councils. However, it is necessary to take into account that the majority of craftsmen took care of their farms as well.
The complete tool kit of a furniture maker included more than 40 items besides the workbench: a hammer, hand brace, handsaw, hacksaw, various planes, chisels, files, measurement tools etc. Not all of the masters could afford such a tool kit and that limited their manufacturing capability and income, too.
‘Volost’ is a small rural district in old Russia.
Joiners were working mostly within their housing premises ond used hand tools. However, census of 1 900-1 901 registered six small workshops: five in Olonets, and one in Petrozavodsk district, with 10 family men and 1 wage earner working. Alongside with the furniture for farmsteads, workshops produced the furniture in urban fashion. In the latter case, they applied fine wood for ornamenting, and some kinds of fine wood used for that purpose had to be purchased.
The best carpenter’s workshop in Karelia was located in the village of Rey- tovskaya (Padmozero) in Tolvuya volost within Petrozavodsk district and belonged to Ivan Nikitich Gaidin (born 1833). The owner acquired elementary skills in woodworking most probably on his birthplace and was schooled in joiner’s shops of Petersburg for forty years. Two of his relatives were working in the workshop: Aleksey Semyonovich Gaidin (born 1 863J, his nephew, who also had a working experience in the capital for 13 years, and a son of his nephew, Ivan Alekseyevich Gaidin (born 1887). Both of them adopted the practices of the master.13 The Gaidin’s enterprise specialized in production of high quality expensive furniture of birch wood, which was made by their own original drafts. This furniture featured the inlaid work of redwood and ebony, nutwood, beech and Karelian birch. Aleksey Semyonovich Gaidin successfully represented Olonets province at the First All-Russia Exhibition of Cottage crafts in Petersburg in 1 902, and was awarded a grand silver medal for the wardrobe with the incrustations of Karelian birch and other valuable fine woods. At the end of the exhibitioni, the wardrobe was sold at 325 rub, which was an extremely high price for that time.
The local press called the handmade goods manufactured by A. S. Gaidin one of the best exhibits in the Section of Ethnography at the exhibition of science and art in Petrozavodsk; the cabinet maker introduced screens of wavy birch, frames, carved plates for tributes of Karelian birch and some other items of high finishing. In the 1 910-s, Gaidin dynasts took part in decorating passenger compartments in the steamships of “The Onego Steamship Company” running between Petrozavodsk and Petersburg.
The sum total of Gaidin’s workshop production ran up to 1,000 rub. yearly, and this exceeded the average output in the rest of workshops three times as much. This enterprise was engaged chiefly in make-to-order manufacturing.
The skills of individual Zaonezhye masters were appreciated during the Soviet times, too. This is a well-known fact that in the 1 930-s, a son and grandson of A. S. Gaidin completed a very important order of performing finishing works in М. I. Kalinin’s office in Kremlin.
Cooperage just like joinery served the needs mostly of farmers’ household. Coopers were dispersed in many districts and settlements. In 1 901, there were totally 300 of them in Karelia leaving Kem district out of account. Masters of cooperage carried a good choice of wooden vessels necessary in every household, e.g. vats, kegs, tubs, washtubs, milk pails etc.
According to information collected by M. A. Vituchnovskaya in Zaonezhye, they used various kinds of wood for producing cooperage: pine, spruce, aspen, alder, birch, and each breed was used for particular dishware at that. Pine was used for the vessels in which meat and fish were solted down, spruce for storing berries and mushrooms, aspen and alder for milk and dairy produce. Hoops were made of spruce, willow, or branches of a bird cherry tree.
The goods were manufactured in the farmhouses in wintertime only and sold in the same village, and it is quite seldom the case that they were brought to fairs and marketplaces in local cities or market towns. The cooperage produced by craftsmen from Olonets district was extremely popular at local fairs alongside with the goods imported from Kargopol district. These are the comments about the situation given by researches of local history I. I. Blagoveshtchensky and A. L. Garyazin: “Although wooden dishes in Olonets district are not so neatly made and light like in Kargopol, they are firm and, as the good farmers say, last twice as longer as that produced in Kargopol.”
The cooperage was almost never exported outside the region. The only exceptions were Myanduselga and Petrovsko-Yamsky volosts within Povenets district that traded with the adjacent areas of Arkhangelsk province, and some craftsmen from the villages of Tuloksa and Vidlotsa within Olonets district who took some of the goods to the Finnish settlements close to the frontier. Marketing outlets were limited; the coopers were dependent on the customers and buyers, and this is why sometimes masters had to sell their produce casually and quite often at depressed prices. Cooperage was less profitable than joinery. The coopers in Olonets province earned not more than 27 rub. a year on the average, working 3,5 months at that. However, the best craftsmen could get 250 rub. of clear profit a year.
Special kind of cooperage was widespread in Keretsk district situated in the coastal area of Karelia (Pomorye) due to some peculiarities of local fishing, and it was production of small barrels for salting herring. Ninety-five persons were engaged in this trade in 1872.
Baskets and box production was very close to joinery and cooperage from the point of its purpose, i.e. manufacturing items for farmers’ household. “Every farmer in every house needs a basket: “pletyuha” basket is needed to carry hay for horses and cows, and a housewife cannot do without a standard basketthis is what the statistics of district councils say on the issue. There were about 100 people in this trade under the survey conducted in 1900- 1901.
Baskets were made of splinter (chips) or birch bark. Chips were usually pine; the only tools required were axe and knife. Craftsman had to know how to chose a suitable tree and cut it “without any core wood left.” This feedstock was placed into the warm stove for softening, and in twenty-four hours, one could easily split them with a knife. One craftsman with an apprentice were able to produce up to four baskets of wood chips a day. Piece prices for such baskets varied from 2 to 10 kopecks depending on their size.
Baskets woven of birch bark were firmer and more durable and thus costed three-five times more expensive than those made of chips. Big hampers for travelling could cost even 1 rub. apiece. Alongside with baskets, masters of birch bark working produced a line of different goods for sale. These were the items woven of thin strips of birch bark as well as those made of whole pieces (i.e. stripped from cut-off birch stumps void of branches): backbags, big boxes, birch bark containers, saltcellars, and bast shoes in some areas.
“Tuyes,” i.e. a birch bark container for storing edible liquids, featured some unique characteristics. “Some evaporation through the birch bark pores cooled down the liquid inside to moderation, and the tarry matter contained in the bark prevented from souringnotes L. V. Belovinsky, the author of the “Encyclopaedia of Russian Life and History. This is the reason why “tuyes” accompanied villagers during the farming period or in the forest.
One of the most known centers of baskets and box production was Avdeyev volost within Pudozh district, and especially the villages of Lukostrov, Petrushevskaya, Unoy Cuba and Tchazhva. The craftsmen from those parts of the region sold various baskets and containers of birch bark up to the sum of 100 rub. for each of them in Petrozavodsk alone. Their chief competitors were basket makers form Tolvuya and Sheltozero-Berezhnoy volosts within Petrozavodsk district. Birch bark containers (‘tuyes’) from Sheltozero were in keen demand. The average income of a basket and box maker was 16 rub. working 2,5 months at that.
Wheels and carriage manufacture was one of the key woodworking enterprises, too. According to the survey of handicrafts in Karelian districts within Olonets province in 1 900-1 901, craftsmen employed in the production of various carriages and related spare parts (wheels, axles, hoops etc.) were recorded in 3 1 of 38 volosts. The total quantity reached to 522 people. There were 69 masters in Kem district as of 1872 (data for the later period is not available), and they lived in 12 of 20 volosts of the district.
In most localities, craftsmen confined themselves to manufacturing the simplest means of transportation: sledges, sleigh for cargo, carts and spare parts. However, in some of the areas adjacent to Petersburg-Petrozavodsk route (Rypushkalsky, Vidlitsky, and Kotkozero volosts in Olonets district, Schuya and Svyatozero volosts in Petrozavodsk district), as well as the central fair of the region, Schunga volost in Povenetsk district, they mastered the manufacture of complex items: cabriolets and torontass intended for well-to-do villagers, the officialsmerchantsand the noble. It is noteworthy that carriages designed in a Finnish style prevailed in Olonets district. They used mostly birch wood for carriage production.
Rypushkalsky volost was notable for carriage manufacture in particular. The masters of this area were mentioned to have specially equipped workshops within their households. By the beginning of the XX cv there were 18 enterprises of that kind with 26 domestic workers. Nine of the workshops were located in the village of Nurmoyla and produced mainly wheels, and the remaining nine in the village of Ulvani and the neighbouring village of Sargoporog manufactured chiefly carriages using at that parts supplied by the craftsmen from Nurmoyla. It was quite often the case that wheelwrights and carriage makers in Rypushkalsky volost knew blacksmith’s work as well and rounded wheels, sledge runners, and carriages with metal on their own. The cabriolets, tarantass, and sledges equipped with spring seats in Ulvani workshops were regarded as the best produce of this kind in Olonets province. This is a known fact that in 1 900 seven of these enterprises manufactured 1 10 summer carriages and 71 sledges. The average income of craftsmen in Ulvani workshops was 107 rub. per person, and this exceeded the incomes of carriage makers all over the province 3,7 times as many.
The carriage production in Ulvani started in the mid 1 860-s. According to Blagoveshtchensky I. I. and Garyazin A. L, the founder of this trade was a local peasant Osipov V. I. (died in 1875). He “…was naturally clever and had an inquiring mind mastered carriage making in Petersburg workshops, and afterwards achieved “.superior craftsmanship” in this trade and taught the handicraft to the two of his brothers and several fellow villagers. Subsequently, the Osipovs’ ranked first among the experts in carriage making. The family representative Prochorus Osipovich Osipov participated in the All-Russia exhibition of science and art in Nizhni Novgorod in 1 896, he was awarded with a certificate of progress and good conduct for his outstanding skills in carriage making as well as blacksmith’s work. According to district council surveys, some of Olonets carriage makers were firstly taught by Finnish masters.
Carriage making combined some features of a handicraft and small-scale commodity production just like other trades related to woodworking. District council statistics for 7 coach workshops in the village of Ulvani as of 1 900, reports that 62 % of produce was custom-made, and 38 % was intended for unrestricted sale. Wheelwrights from Nurmoyla supplied 49 % of their goods to market. Evidently, made to order produce was prevailing in the areas where carriage manufacture was developed lower than in Rypushkalsky volost. Carriage makers sold their goods solely on the home markets, mainly at fairs and buying and selling places in cities. In 1890-s, the situation in this branch of handicrafts grew difficult because summer carriages produced in Finland that were cheaper than local ones penetrated on the markets of South Karelia. At the same time, the sledges manufactured by the craftsmen of Olonets district were marketed essentially in Finland.
The age-old rural shipbuilding trade retained its significance in the second half of the XIX – early XX cc. mainly within the coastal area of Karelia (Pomorye], where the overseas transport related to fishing was mainly sailing fleet up to the revolution.
In 1873, there were 204 people in shipbuilding in Pomorye and the adjacent areas within Kem district (Podemuzhsky, Maslozero and Tungundsky districts) with Karelian population, and 285 people in 1 896. Although the production volume decreased to some extent by the beginning of the XX c., it remained considerable. For instance, in the second part of the 1 870-s, they produced 13 cargo ships and 35 sea catcher boats in Pomorye on the average, and, 9 ships and 28 catcher boats in 1897-1 901. Old-type seaworthy ships called ‘ladya’, ‘kocha’, ‘ran- shin’ were replaced with the new ones like schooners, clippers and yachts equipped with a better sailing rig and heavier payload.
The city of Kem, villages of Sumsky Posad, Schuyeretskoye, Soroka, Schizh- nya and Kolezhma were the main centers of shipbuilding. The work was done between the navigation periods, i.e. starting from December-January up to March-April. From the point of social and economic perspective, shipbuilding was a rather complex issue that combined the features of small commodity production and a capitalist way of collaboration.
Big manufacturers built cargo ships mainly for their own use. However, all the figging necessary was bought (treasury allotted timber for a charge, and since 1 885 for free); the shipbuilding proper was accomplished by employees (a foreman and 10-20 carpenters). The master and his apprentices were supported by the customer and received time wage, which was 45 rub. a month for a foreman and 20 rub. for carpenters on the average.
Catcher boats intended for cod fishing in Murmana region called ‘shnyaka’, ‘joT, ‘troinik’ were made to order or for sale by domestic workers.
In the mid XIX c., shipbuilders of Pomorye seldom used drafts. Ethnographer and writer S. V. Maksimov who visited this area in 1856 mentioned that”…shipbuilders are guided by their practical skills only and also some gut feeling for architecture.” However, drafts became a standard practice in Pomorye shipbuilding since 1870-s.
The craftsmanship of Pomorye shipbuilders was highly valued by the connoisseurs. N. Rostov, a teacher in the nautical school of Sum Posad, took the admeasurements of Pomorye schooners and noted that “the windage center of these vessels turned out to be within the limits elaborated for the best ships of this kind”. N. M. Knipovich, an eminent scientist, wrote that “…even ordinary semiliterate people of Pomorye were able to reproduce new types of ships as soon as they personally inspected these ships and looked through the drafts”
The best of shipbuilding craftsmen, Vasily Antonov and Vasily Artyushin (the city of Kem), Stephan Achlinov (the village of Schuyeretskoye), Ivan Machalkov (Sumsky Posad), Jacob and Vasily Antonov (Poduzhemye) were well known all over Pomorye region. Jacob Vasiltevich Antonov-Cornostayev (born appr. 1 800), from the Karelian settlement of Poduzhemye was particularly famous among all these outstanding personalities. His first ship, a plain Pomorye sailboat was built without drafts in 1 827. Later on, he worked a lot on improving design of the old types of ships and was the first craftsman in Pomorye who introduced a new type of schooner with improved maneuverability and sail rigging. Subsequently, these vessels were widely spread within the coastal area of the White Sea.
This craftsman constructed ships not solely to orders of merchants and rich farmers, but also for the well-known Solovetsky Monastery. In 1858, he underwent a training course in Solombalsky governmental dockyard on the invitation of the governor of Arkhangelsk province N. I. Arandarenco. Jacob Vasiltevich built totally 6 1 seaworthy ships.
In 1 876, he successfully accomplished the order of honor commissioned by the administration of Arkhangelsk branch of shipwrecks’ aid society, which was the construction of a motor-cruiser “The Grand Duke Constantin” meant for salvage operations in the narrow entrance to a gulf of the White Sea, where the ships quite often got into trouble due to frequent fogs and rosts. The launching of this motor-cruiser was celebrated with a grand salute (feu de joiej, and, that was the last ship created by the famous master. J. V. Antonov was presented a gold and silver plated glass with a “proper inscriptionand the rest of the participants in the motor-cruiser construction were treated to a state dinner with “proper foods.”
1 88 I, J. V. Antonov was awarded a big silver medal for “the achievements in the betterment of the shipbuilding in the North/’ by the Imperial Society on the assistance for navigation in Russia. J. V. Antonov-Cornostayev passed on his craftsmanship to his sons, Vasily and Ivan, and also to his son-in-law Andrew Epiphanov, and thus he became the founder of the big dynasty of shipbuilders.
In contrast to Pomorye, the building of large size ships almost ceased in the Karelian districts within Olonets province due to the improvement of steamship communication on Ladoga and Onega Lakes after the Emancipation Reform. As late as the 1850-s, they used to build 40 lakeworth vessels a year in Petrozavodsk and Olonets districts only, whereas 1 -2 vessels a year in all the four districts in the 1 890-s. The survey of handicrafts conducted by the district council in 1900-1901 registered only two expert shipbuilders, which is another strong evidence of this trade declining.
However, the reported crisis did not affect one trade closely related to shipbuilding, and namely boat making, which served the needs of small peasant farms in the lake region. According to the mentioned survey, there were specialists in sewing boats to order or for sale in 80 % of all Karelian volosts within Olonets province by the beginning of the XX c., and totally 134 people. Velikaya Guba volost within Petrozavodsk district ranked first on the quantity of boat-makers (22 people). This area is situated at the extremity of Zaonezhye peninsular and Kizhi archipelago, on the scopes of Lake Onega.
The volume of boats production varied considerably according to demand on the spot. The craftsmen from the remote village of Gumarnavolok by Lake Vodlozero (Pudozh district) produced 2-3 boats a year, whereas the boat-makers from the dense populated Velikaya Guba volost sewed to 15 and even 25 boats a year. The produce of Velikaya Guba masters’soyma’ and famous ‘kizhanka’ boats were noted for high performance all over the region adjacent to Lake Onega, i.e. good navigation, durability and steadiness. The modern researcher of the trade Naumov J. M. mentions several boat-makers most famous in Velikaya Cuba in the late XIX – early XX c.: Filin N. M. and Jakimov from the village of Kurgenitsy, P. Y. Rogachyev from the village of Ro- gachyevo, the Yegorovs’ from the village of Zubovo, the Kisilyevs’ from the village of Podjelniki, the Stepanovs’, Judins’, and Burkovs’ from the village ofVolkostrov.
Boat-makers were usually selling their produce to the villagers of local and adjacent districts and to timber merchants for rafting as well. Residents of Petrozavodsk gladly purchased “kizhanka” boats made in Velikaya Guba. According to the statistics collected for the whole province, boat-maker’s wage averaged 33 rub. a year, meanwhile some craftsmen in Velikaya Guba earned 100-150 rub.
Boat making on the scale of a handicraft was spread in all coastal settlements of Kem district, and also in Poduzhemye volost with Karelian population, and where from the custom-built production was delivered to the town of Kem for sale.
Tar extraction was also one of the age-old branches of woodworking in Karelia. This trade was common mainly in Petrozavodsk district during the time period under consideration. The survey of 1900-1901 registered here 171 tar extractors with the total sum of earnings 5,100 rub. a year. At the same time, only 56 farmers were engaged in this trade in three remaining districts within Olonets province and earned totally 1,700 rub. According to the information of Arkhangelsk city regional committee of statistics, there were only 57 tar extractors in Kem district in 1872, and 43 of them were living in the western, i.e. Karelian, volosts in this district, and 14 were living in the coastal area.
Tar extraction in this region was accomplished chiefly by the means of the simplest arrangements like a pit. However, there were furnaces made of stone or bricks as well. Thus, the journalist from Saint-Petersburg and traveler Krukovsky M. A. mentions alongside with the attractions of the village of Telekino in Povenets district “a giant furnace for tar extraction” located not far from the settlement.
The tar works were most active 1-2 months a year during early spring, prior to field work. Unfortunately, they did not specify the total amount of tar extraction enterprises during the survey conducted by the district council in 1900-1901. According to the official and, evidently, understated data, there were 36 tar works in Petrozavodsk district; and 14 in each of Pudozh and Povenets districts in 1 900; the tar works in Olonets district were left out of account. The sum total of the produce in 64 registered enterprises was 1,400 rub./8 which was 4,8 times lower than the earnings of tar extractors calculated in district councils for Karelian districts within Olonets province.
Tar extraction in Karelia was developing within the standards of petty goods economy since the XVIII c. already. Virtually, all the total output was marketed. Some of the craftsmen were selling their produce on their own delivering by horses and boats to the adjacent settlements and volostsor to Petrozavodsk. However, many of them preferred to sell it off through the mediation of buyer-ups, who sold tar in Petersurg alongside with the local markets. Tar was delivered for sale to the coastal part of the district from the Karelian volosts of Kem district.
The procurement of willow bark was a kind of a local trade since the pre-reform period in the XIX c., and its purpose was the provision of tanning agent for leather and sheepskin production. According to the survey though this enterprise was limited to the needs of local customers up to the end of the 1880-s. The procurement in Petrozavodsk, Olonets and Pudozh districts “got strongly developed due to the demand for willow bark from the tanneries of Petersburg” in the 1890-s. By the beginning of the XX c., more than 1,600 people were engaged in procurements of willow bark in the above-mentioned districts, which exceeded the quantity of people employed in all the remaining kinds of handicrafts. However, this trade was quite a special subsidiary and short-term occupation. The procurement period lasted 3-4 weeks in May-June when the concentration of tanning agents in the willow bark reaches its peak. The whole families participated in this work. The earnings averaged to 2-4 rub. per person a season, the price for a pood (16.8 kg) being 20-40 kopecks, and the income of a family was 6-14 rub.
In this way, the procurement of tanning agents in Karelia became substantially the appendage to the large-scale tannery of Petersburg. It is logical that this branch was one of the homecrafts in the region fully dependent on the buyer-ups. The contemporaries stated that the marketing of willow bark in Petersburg was accomplished “through the mediation of buyer-ups who purchased the goods on the spots or local markets”,
Tailoring, spinning, weaving, net-making and straw braiding were the textile fiber manufactures that featured the greatest amount of people employed. Tailoring was spread in many of the settlements and was considered a handicraft; by the beginning of the XX c., there were 500 people in this trade in all the five districts in Karelia. Craftsmen completed the orders of the local population.
The wage of a tailor depended on his level of proficiency and amount of orders. Most of them earned 10-30 rub. a year. More than 86 % of tailors combined their trade with farming. “…There is no chance to specialize deeply in the trade for the most of them for they serve the needs of the local population this is the commentary on the tailors issue found in the district council surveys. Small wonder many of the tailors were looking for better fate and tried some seasonal work locally or somewhere else.
One of the Karelian tailorsVasily Bogdanovich Bogdanov from the village of Kinelachta in Vidlitsy volost of Olonets district, won deserved fame. During the post-reform period, he moved to Petersburg and, shortly after, gained the reputation of one of the top tailors in the capital thanks to his no mean abilities. He took possession of the elite sewing workshop that served the Emperor’s court. Vasily Bogdanovich was entitled to the merchant of the second guild and awarded gold and silver medals “For Diligence”.
Experience of living in Petersburg revealed to V. Bogdanov the importance of literacy for Karelian children. In 1870, he donated 3,000 rub. for primary school that featured a course in handicraft and joinery in the village of Bolshiye Gory in Vidlitskaya volost, and he built that school on his own money. Besides, V. Bogdanov undertook the obligation to donate 100 rub. a year to purchase bread for the students during five years period. This eminent master gave help to his aged fel- low-villagers and churches not once.
During the post-reform period, crafts of spinning and weaving started developing within the standards of small-scale commodity production in some areas of Karelia (Zaonezhye, Pudozh district, some suburban volosts of Olonets and Petrozavodsk districts). These crofts were habitual occupations for housewives in wintertime. According to survey of 1 900- 1 901, 471 mistresses produced sackcloth or various weavers’ goods for sale (towels, colorful runners). The total output was relatively low; the average wage did not exceed 5-7 rub. a winter.
In Zaonezhye and Pudozh settlements, the production was intended mostly for the fair in Shunga village, where the textile goods made by craftsmen were purchased by tradespeople from the coastal areas of Arkhangelsk province. Olonets district and the south-eastern volosts within Petrozavodsk district were focused on local fairs and Petersburg. The goods were sold off through the intermediary of local buyer-ups. This craft had no prospects for further development due to the growing competition of the goods manufactured at factories. In 1890-s, 1.1. Blagoveshtchensky and A. L. Garyazin mentioned the facts when the linen made by villagers and the linen at Petrovskaya fair in Petrozavodsk was replaced with “cheap shop goods”.
Embroidery was also developing, and 66 mistresses represented this trade in four districts of the region by the beginning of the XX с There were several centers of embroidery, and especially remarkable were Zaonezhye volosts within Petrozavodsk and Povenets districts, Rypushkalye volost within Olonets district, which produce was noted for the combination of embroidery and lace crocheting, and southern volosts of Kem district. Napkins, towels, bedspreads, bed sheets, and pillowcases were usually trimmed with embroidery.
The art of embroidery in the region reached its top artistic level. The works of Karelian mistresses were not once demonstrated at the most prominent exhibitions and were popular in Russia and abroad. Thus, in 1879, the Emperial society of devotees of natural science, anthropology, and ethnography expressed gratitude to the countrywomen from Petrozavodsk district, namely to Stepanida Aphanasyeva (Melechova) from the village of Gorki in Kondopoga volost and Irene Micheyeva from the village ofTarasy in Velikaya Guba volost. The towels embroidered by these women were successfully exhibited in the section of ethnography at Moscow anthropological exhibition. Embroidereresses Tatyana Nikitina from Olonets district and Avdotya Pavlova from Zaonezhye were granted testimonials for their works noted for “special accuracy” at the famous All-Russia industrial exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. Moreover, in 1900, the Committee of the World Fair in Paris awarded a silver medal for embroidery and lace crocheting to Tatyana Ivanovna Rikkieva, a mistress from the village of Sedoksa in Rypushkalsky volost within Olonets district.
The investigators note that embroidereresses were working mainly for the market needs and very seldom to order. Their produce was sold in Shunga and Petersburg usually through intermediary of buyer-ups. The needlewomen from the coastal area took advantage of local merchants who exported their produce to Arkhangelsk and abroad to Norway, England, and Sweden. The merchants often reckoned with mistresses not in money but in goods (wool, shoes etc.). The researcher of local history from Sumsky Posad I. M. Durov confirmed in 1912 “the exchange of goods was definitely for the benefit of buyer-ups”. The wage of the embroidereress averaged to 1 1 rub., that is the lowest among the craftsmen.
In 1 907, the post of “Petersburg society for providing help to hand work” was established on the initiative of district council in the village of Shunga, the core of Zaonezhye embroidery. The purpose of this society was wholesale purchases of embroidered goods form local countrywomen for domestic and foreign customers. Mistresses were offered factory textile at reasonable prices. Such a good organization of cottage industry promoted the expansion of the trade. Three hundred embroideresses were involved in this craft on the eve of the World War I. A contemporary researcher of Karelian embroidery Kosmenko A. P. notes that due to these events, “age-old patterns and embroidery techniques started to fall into oblivion, and new techniques of needlework that replaced them were applied not only on traditional, but on city items like napkins, tea sets, trimmings etc.” The embroidery by Zaonezhye women was exported abroad and mainly to USA.
During the Soviet period, cooperatives of embroidereress were established in the village of Chashezero and a number of Zaonezhye settlements (13 workshops) in 1928; in 1935 they were included into the enterprise “.Zaonezhye embroidery” (nowadays “Karelian patterns”).
Net-making was closely related to fishing, which was widespread in Karelia. It was quite a specific trade as long as chiefly old men and adolescents were earning money in this way in their free time. The statistics registered 224 net- makers in four Karelian districts in Olonets province. They used the material of their own, worked mostly for unrestricted sale and very seldom to order. Sometimes teams of 3-4 people were formed to produce a large-size tacking, each of the craftsmen firstly made a separate portion and afterwards these parts were sewn together. The produce (nets, seines, hoop nets) were sold locally. The netmakers earnings – 17 rub. per person a year – were one of the lowest ones among all craftsmen.
There were 1366 net-makers in the coastal area within Kem district in 1872, and 688 in Karelian volosts. However, according to the statistics of Arkhangelsk region, these data was exaggerated for the most of volost administrations included into the group of net-makers not only those who produce tocking to order ond for sale, but also those people who simply made fishing gears for their own household at home. This information was not taken into consideration even when it came to summing up the total amount of craftsmen in the district.
The production of goods from straw was a relatively new kind of craft in Karelia, which appeared in post-reform period only. This trade was spread in 46 villagers of Nekkulsky and Rypushkalsky volosts within Olonets district. It was a mass production among women and adolescents. According to I. I. Blagoveshtchensky and A. L. Garyazin, up to 1/3 of the whole population in that area were engaged in manufacturing wickerwork from straw. Total output was quite sizeable. It is enough to mention that nearly 16,000 hats and 1,065,000 meters of half-finished wicker good for manufacturing straw products were delivered from Olonets district to Petersburg in 1894.
The founder of this trade was considered a farmer from the village of Gomargora in Nekkulsky volost, Tarasov-Sokolov М. V., who wove his first hat from straw per sample left by a Finnish herdsman. Tarasov-Sokolov М. V. was a well-to-do farmer and did not want to run a new business, but he trained a countrywoman Pimenova N. F. and she started producing hats for sale. Other farmers soon adopted this craft. Little by little, they began weaving wicker, shoes and boots besides hats. In 1881, two samples of straw hats, made by countrywomen from Nekkulsky volost, sisters Nataliya and Maria Martynovs, became a part of the collection of Olonets museum of industry, history, and ethnography. The items of straw made by one of the Olonets mistresses, Matrena Timofeyevna Komissarova from the village of Syurga were exhibited at the World Fair in Paris and won a silver medal.
Straw braiding exemplifies how the trade capital becomes firmly established in the sector of small commodity production. As long as the goods were sold in the adjacent settlements, craftsmen and consumers were dealing without intermediaries. As soon as the sales territory expanded and exceeded the area of production and reached Petersburg in the beginning of the 1880-s, buyer-ups popped out, and these buyer-ups were local farmers. By the 1890-sall the sales activities were controlled by seven buyer-ups who isolated the manufacturers from the market and sold goods in bulk to the traders in the capital of Russia; many of craftsmen were financed by the buyer-ups and soon were in bondage to them.
Until the early 1 890-s this handicraft was a success. However in the 1 890-s, the demand on the wickerwork sank due to the increased competition from the side of enterprises in the capital as well as craftsmen from other areas. Thus, in 1 886- 1 887 they offered 15-16 rub. for 1 00 hats in Petersburg, and 10-12 rub. in 1894, 5 rub. in 1 900. Due to the reduction of demand, this trade entered a crisis period and started shrinking. According to I. I. Blagoveshtchensky and A. L. Garyazin, up to 1,500 people were engaged in Nekkulsky and Ry- pushkalsky volosts in 1 894 and their income was 2,600 rub. The survey of district council in 1900 registered 206 braiders with the total income of about 1.000 rub. The average wage per one person even increased from 1,700 to 5.000 rub. The explanation could be that the most skillful masters only continued working during the crisis.
Tanning, sheepskin production, and shoemaking were the basic trades related to animal products processing. Tanning was established even in the pre-reform period. This kind of manufacture required serious costs for raw materials and working facilities, and this is why it was spread mostly among rich farmers. The official data makes it possible to ascertain that this trade was broadened in the post-reform period. For instance, in 1 870, there were 54 tanneries in Karelian districts within Olonets province with 83 workers and production output to the total sum of 12,800 rub., and, in 1900, there were 70 enterprises with 103 workers and production output to the total sum of 1 8,700 rub/7 The survey of district council in 1 900-1 901 reported 76 enterprises working in these districts with 120 workers and production output to the sum of 32,200 rub. As we see in this latter case, the official data was very close to the statistics of district council but for the information concerning the production volume.
The survey proves that this craft was practiced mainly in the volosts adjacent to high roads and towns of Petrozavodsk and Olonets district (Rypushkalsky, Vidlitsky,
Vedlozero, Kotkozero, Lodva, and Velikaya Guba). 2/3 of all the enterprises fell to the share of these areas and 80 % of the production output value within four mentioned districts. Most of the tanneries on the South of Karelia were running on local raw materials, which were bought or taken from local farmers for currying or in the adjacent volosts and districts. Only few owners of big tanneries in Olonets district were purchasing skins in Petersburg, Tikhvin, and Finland.
Tanning industry in Kem district was almost undeveloped. The only exception was the village of Ukhta situated in the center of the coastal area. There was a tannery with wage earners in a nearby settlement called Likopya; this tannery worked in the post-reform period and in the beginning of the XX c. as well. On the eve of the World War /, alongside with the various kinds of high quality leathersthey started production of leather goods in that tannery. Tanners from Ukhta were in short of local materials, and according to some publications on local history, they had to import a considerable stock from Finland and pay customs duties, which raised the price of their produce.
Traveler and land surveyor V. V. Vitkovsky visited one of the tanneries in KareLia in 1883 and described the production in the following way: “The tannery is a rather gloomy place with lots of vats half-dug into the ground…They put skins into the vats with clean water, and the best way to running water, in which the skins soften for 2-4 weeks. Afterwards the skins are taken into another vat filled with mortar…The purpose of keeping the skin in mortar for 2-3 weeks is to ensure wool removes easily. Then they start scraping soggy skins with special knives from both sides. The wool is removed from the exterior surface at that, and the inner side of hide close to flesh is removed from the internal one. The leather is not made clean at once. They place it in the vats filled this time with warm water, and then scrape with knives again…Afterwards the leather enters a corny vat i.e. filled with flour, which distills the mortar and softens the leather. This process occupies 2-3 days, and then they put leathers into the tan vat, in which the leather is interlaid with a willow bark and pressed with a cover. It stays in this way 2-3 months and they turn it over once. Finally, the leather is impregnated with easily absorbed tar, it is dried, pressed and braked. The process of braking is accomplished in a very simple though tiring method. The leather is placed on the machine with two vertical frames and squeezed between the frames by the means of a big rocking arm. The leather shifts differently with every stroke of the rocking arm. The so-called oak is a willow bark dried on the sun and chopped with the teeth of a bar powered by a horse. As we may see, leather manufacture is a long and dirty process, but then very profitable according to the owner…”
Most of the tanners were engaged in their trade six-seven months a year from October until May, and the rest of the year, they were farming. According to the statistics of district council, there were 6,6 % of the tanners who worked all year round. From the point of social and economic perspective, tannery was a small commodity production in which the features of petty goods peasant economy were prevailing. According to the survey of district council in 1900-1 901, the tanneries within Olonets province that worked exclusively to order produced 26 % of all output; 38 % were manufactured by those working both to order and for sale, and 36 % of the production fell on the shore of those that worked for sale only. Unfortunately% this source does not specify how many enterprises of 1 10 in total were included in each of groups mentioned, and this is why it is hardly possible to conduct a more detailed analysis.
Tannery was one of the few trades in Karelia that employed both domestic workers and some limited wage labour. The survey of 1 900-1 901 conducted in four Karelian districts registered 24 wage earners, which was 20 % of all the people employed in tanneries. The amount of wage earners on one enterprise never exceeded 1 -2 persons. The wage of workers averaged to 1 18 rub. a year which was a rather good income, however, it was thrice as lower than the average income of the tannery’s owner.
The most well-known tannery in Karelia was the one owned by the Lysanov’s in the village of Longasy in Velikaya Guba volost. One of his sons, Vasily Dimitrievich, moved to Petrozavdsk and made a big business owner and mayor. Another son of Lysanov, Peter Dimitrievich, also followed the paths of his father. According to the records of the tax inspectorate, about 2,000 leathers a year were produced in the tannery headed by Peter Dimitrievich, namely 1,000 from the raw materials of their own for sale, and 1,000 leathers were made to order from the materials received from other parties. The turnover of capital was 10,000 rub. with the income 1,000 rub, which was the best result in the area. During the World War 1, the leathers produced by Lysanovs’ were used in the operating army for jackboots.
Several big tanneries functioned in Olonets district. Thus, Yegor Shemyakin, a farmer from Rypushkalsky volost, once was a steward of merchant A.D. Pikkiyev, and in the late XIX – early XX c. owned a tannery in the village of Immalitsa with two wage earners and production output to the sum of 5,000 rub. a year. Michael Sokolov, a farmer from Nekkulsky volost, owned a workshop in the village of Gamola with production output to the sum of 3,200 rub. a year. I. I. Blagoveshtchensky and A. L. Garyozin who wrote on essay on tannery in Olonets province in the mid 1 890-s, mentioned that these masters had a good business and their produce was in good demand.
The tanning goods were sold mainly by the manufacturers at the local fairs and in the cities of Olonets, Povenets, and Petrozavodsk. Processed leathers were delivered from Olonets district to Finland, Petersburg, and Tikhvin. It was quite often the case that the owners of big enterprises were buying up the produce of smaller tanners which is the evidence, that the handicraft started being subordinated to capital.
Sheepskin production and furriery were spread mostly in Olonets and Petrozavodsk districts, just like tannery. The survey of 1900-1901 registered 87 sheepskin makers, and 62 of them lived in these two districts. There were 16 purpose-designed workshops that employed besides the owners proper, nine domestic and wage workers. The rest of sheepskin makers worked at their homes.
In the most of locations, the production was developing within the frames of a handicraft. Moreover, the surveyors mentioned that sheepskin maker “has to travel over long long time before he has a chance to find a customer”. Due to a small amount of orders, masters worked from one to five-six months a year.
Nekkulsky volost within Olonets district took a special place in sheepskin production and furriery all over the region. The craftsmen from those parts won a good reputation and had no difficulty selling their produce. It is noteworthy that the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovitch and his spouse Maria Pavlovna visited the town of Olonets in 1887, and they as well as the local officials were introduced to a farmer Ivan Tchakkuyev from the village of Sarmyagi in Nekkulsky volost, the owner of the workshop on sheepskin and furriery production, and he presented sheep and lamb furs made by himself to distinguished guests.
By the beginning of the XX c. sheepskin manufacture and furriery in this volost was a small-scale commodity production that featured some elements of capitalistic cooperation and some rudiments of manufactory. There were three enterprises that processed sheepskins with six domestic workers, and one workshop producing fur coats with four wage workers in the village ofSudalitsa. The owners of fur coats workshop were the Anikins’, the representatives of the lower middle class (the so-called petty bourgeois), and they were buying up sheepskins from the farmers and ordered the primary treatment in the sheepskin workshops in Nekkulsky volost. Afterwards the processed material entered the sewing workshop where they produced short sheepskin coats and sheepskin jackets. The produce was sold in Olonets and Petersburg.
In such a system of production, the independent craftsmen engaged in sheepskin processing were viewed actually as wage workers. The sheepskin processing enterprises of Nekkulsky volost were far more powerful than the similar ones by the production volume. Their output comprised 88 % of the total sum of production in the whole Karelia (5,600 rub. of 6,400 rub.).
Shoe-making was the most widespread and popular handicraft. It was represented in all volosts of the region. The total amount of shoemakers in Karelian districts of Olonets province was more than 1 100 people, and 123 people in Kem district. However, shoe-making did not exceed the frames of a craft like tailoring. The surveyors of district council marked out that “…a shoe-maker is dependent
on local customers and everything is actually so uncertain .” There were four specialized workshops in suburban Rypushkalsky volost within Olonets district, and even those ones were working to orders only.
Almost all of the shoe-makers combined their trade with farming. The average wage of a craftsman was 33 rub. a year. Seasonal work of shoe-makers was quite popular Due to the limited demand on spot.
The production of jackboots for soldiers by local craftsmen was organized by the administration during the World War I, and the produce was delivered to service corps department. This is a well-known fact that service corps department accepted 18,000 pairs of leather jackboots made by the masters of Petrozavodsk, Vytegra and Kargopol districts within Olonets province.
Blacksmith’s work remained the chief trade related to minerals and metal working. Smiths were available in all volosts, though the craft tended to concentrate near the high roads, suburban and market towns. According to the survey of district council in 1 900-1 901, there were 367 smithies in Karelian districts of Olonets province with 428 employees. There were 65 smiths in Kem district in 1 901, including metalworkers.
In the opinion of surveyors, smiths fell into two groups: the first one were those who produced mainly the items for household (ploughshare, scythes, sickles, rifles, door handles etc.), and the second group were the smiths who repaired these tools and shod horses. Many of the smiths could perform fitter’s works as well. Forged items used for household like door hinges and handles, locks, keys, candle and sliver holders, hooks and needles for knitting were often artistically fashioned by local masters.
Some smiths in Olonets district and Karelian volosts within Povenets and Kem districts produced flintlocks (rifles) that were in demand by local hunters. The own correspondent of the newspaper “The News of Akhangelsk Society for the Investigation of North” mentioned as late as in 1913, “The unaccustomed person will not be able to handle this heavy rifle… however, in-born Karelian hunters can hardly miss even a squirrel or a small bird from a special small-bore rifle; they have a large-caliber rifle at disposal for hunting big wild animals and birds, bears, elks, and deer, which is being supplanted with Berdan’s rifle”. Hunters were used to small-bore rifles made by craftsmen due to the cheapness as compared with factory-made goods and the affordability of payload (the bullet was in the size of a small pea), and it costed five times cheaper than the percussion cap of a factory-made rifle. A good hunter could hit a squirrel with a small-bore rifle from a distance of 40 steps.
Once local smiths were using smelted metal (iron) produced locally by craftsmen, but the age-old Karelian ironworks with long history broke up because it couldn’t compete with metallurgy. This is why iron and steel for processing were purchased by the masters on the market or received from customers.
Only 1 1 % of smiths worked all year round, the rest of them engaged in the trade mainly in spring and autumn. The smithy was mostly a handicraft. The master performed the orders of the local farmers. However, some features typical of small commodity production were common, too. For instance, the smiths from Olonets district were working partly for buyer-ups and produced axes in lots of 15-20 items for sale in Petrozavodsk and Lodeynoye Pole district. Craftsmen from the village of Ozyably Log Vershinsky volost within Pudozh district established relations with the buyer-ups of scythes in Onezhsky district in Arkhangelsk province. The survey of 1 900- 1 901 registered several forging shops – 6 smithies or 1,6 % in numbers – and these were aimed exclusively at the goods for sale.
Yegor Mikhailovich Kershinsky, a smith from the village of Matveyevskaya in Filimonovskaya volost within Pudozh district was very famous in his native land and far beyond its bounds. He was noted for the ability to forge high-quality sickles and scythes that were very durable and spread all over the province. The items produced by him became a part of the collection of Olonets museum of industry, history, and ethnography, and were shown at the Moscow polytechnic exhibition in 1872. Imperial Free Society for Economics awarded a talented master from Pudozh with a bronze medal in 1871.
The smiths from the villages of Sambatuksa and Ulvany in Olonets district were well known for their art of forging, too. Moreover, smithy in Ulvany was closely related fo carriage manufacture, e.g. binding cabriolets and sledges, producing springs, and it was not purely a dedicated production. Taras Ivanov established smithy in the village of Sambatuksa in the early XIX c. and this enterprise passed to his sons Vasily; llaja and Nikolay Tarasovs. The items forged by Vasily – axes, scythe and knife – were shown at the All- Russia exhibition of science and art in Nizhni Novgorod in 1896 and awarded a certificate of progress and good conduct. Ilja and Nikolay became the participants of the World Fair in Paris in 1900, and the Committee awarded them with certificates of honor. Peter Ivanovich Retroyev, a farmer from the village ofObzha in Nekkulsky volost within Olonets district was famous as one of the most skillful gunsmiths. The items forged by the smiths from Maslozero volost were especially valued in the North of Karelia.
Wageworkers were employed in smithy, too. There were 25 (or 6 %) of such as those among 428 people engaged in this trade in Karelian districts within Olonets province in 1900-1901.
Marble working deserves a special mention among other trades related to minerals and metalworking. It was mostly developed in Kondopoga volost within Petrozavodsk district due to the vicinity of Belogorsk marble field. There were almost 100 marble masons among farmers in the villages of Tivdiya and Belaya Gora by the early XX c. The majority (85 people) were working for hire in enterprise quarries that mined ornamental stone for the museum of Emperor Alexander III. These quarries were not considered as independent manufactures. Only 12 marble masons were producing various minor items full-time for sale (glasses, paperweights, candlesticks, Easter eggs, ashtrays, powder-cases etc.).
However, it is necessary to mention that every time they decreased the output in enterprise quarries, part of the workers switched over to handicraft production of marble items. The produce was noted for a high quality stone working and, obviously, its decorative features. In confirmation of these words, there is a conspicuous fact that five skillful masters from Belaya Gora, farmers Daniel Medvedev, Alexey, Vasily, Nikolay and Peter Krysin were awarded with certificates of honor at the World Fair in Paris in 1 900 for the collection of marble items.
МагЫе masons collaborated exclusively with buyer-ups. Three local farmers monopolized this sector, A. Isakov; who was a trader, and well-off marble masons F. Grishanov and A. Krysin, who purchased the produce from masters under cost and sold in Petrozavodsk, Povenets and Shunga Fair. The wage of a marble mason averaged to 70 rub.
In the post-reform period, they ceased commercial production on the well- known in Russia, crimson quartzite field in Sheltozero-Berezhnoy volost. This deposit had been developed in the second half of the XVIII-XIX cc. to provide the needs of construction works in Petersburg. Local ancestral stonemasons switched on to seasonal works and were not engaged in stone working any more. Almost 800- 1000 people, half of the male population of volost, left their homes for building season all over the Russia. Stonemasons from Vepsian districts adjacent to Lake Onega participated almost in every large-scale construction. This is not a bare chance that the main characters of N.A. Nekrasov’s poem “Who lives happily in Russia” came across a stonemason from Olonets, representing a typical working person in Russia.
Thus, farmers’ handicrafts were reviving during the post-reform period in Karelia. The produce of craftsmen satisfied many daily wants of local residents and was partly imported to other regions. The majority of enterprises were the handicrafts that developed into a small commodity production, and some of the branches were already an advanced small commodity production subordinated to the trade capital (shipbuilding, tar works, embroidery, the production of goods from straw, marble working). Hired labour was a limited-use. Some of the crafts, and firstly female ones, were significant not only from the point of economy, but had artistic value, i.e. production of carved goods from wood, embroidery, knitting, weaving, and straw braiding. The proximity to big markets like Petersburg and Finland also had some impact on the handicrafts and trades.