Master of Boldin ceramics

Master of Boldin ceramics

I.D. Nikitin. Hereditary potter

For a long time, the pottery of ID Nikitin, a craftsman from the Gorky region, attracted attention. Over the past ten years, remarkable works of his work have invariably adorned our exhibitions, where they are shown under the common name – “Boldin ceramics“.

Ivan Dmitrievich Nikitin is engaged in pottery almost from childhood. He was born and raised in the village of Bolshoy Kazarinovo, in the old center of ceramic production in the Nizhny Novgorod province. By. the approval of the Kazarinians themselves, the manufacture of pottery began in the local places since time immemorial. As for archaeological research, they point to traces of pottery in the area from around the 16th century. In the XIX century, the production of pottery spread throughout the uyezd. It involved all male population, including adolescents.
Nikitin remembers: “My father taught me to work on a circle when I was 12-13 years old.”
At that time, the training of craft in the family was a kind of rule, established in the old days. At first, the young man was charged with making simple dishes-bowls, pots. The future master quickly mastered the skills and even learned some secrets of pottery. Nikitin, listening to the advice and guidance of the elders, quickly became familiar with the experience of many generations of local potters. The young master was useful in the future, when the fishery was on the verge of big changes: a sharp reduction in handicraft production, restriction and prohibition of private crafts, a drop in demand for pottery, etc. At that time, many fellow villagers Nikitin departed from the aboriginal cause, the master himself did not retreat before the difficulties, did not give up the craft, which he had been trained since childhood, who is proud and cherishes to this day.
Naturally, the method of preparing black-toothed ceramics is gradually forgotten. Nikitin is one of the few masters who remembers him and perfectly owns him. However, with a high workload production of more glazed pottery, the master does not have time to rebuild the preparation of the black-bearded, and this process is complex, requiring a constant skill.

Master of Boldin ceramics

A group of pitchers. 1982

Nikitin creates black-coated dishes, relying on old samples, which immediately discern the plastic properties of clay. Ceramic forms are sculptural: they are drawn out, then rounded, but not in the name of an abstract idea, but according to their purpose – to be capacious, to be a receptacle. The fluidity of the form, the flexibility of the silhouette are crowned with a few mean strokes of the ornament, placed most often on the shoulders (in the potter’s work this is the most important part of the vessel). Their products, where necessary, the master is supplemented with molded noses, soft in outlines, their shape goes back to the ceramics of the 17th-18th centuries, when the draining part was likened to the beak of the bird or the head of a horse.
Judging by the works, Nikitin has a very good command of the traditional form. In his sour cream, quails, hand hams and other products, the local features of the ceramics of the past of the centuries are preserved. Approximately the same items were made in the time of Alexander Pushkin. Perhaps the poet himself, often driving to Boldino, located two kilometers from the Greater Kazarinov, more than once met them in the peasant way of life.
Thanks to Nikitin’s predecessors and, in particular, to himself, one can still occasionally admire slender kumgans, jugs, and krinks. Blue-black color gives their silhouette a special clarity, and lines – underlined smoothness and completeness. These vessels, because of their proportionality of plastic beauty and rigor, remind us of classical patterns.

Master of Boldin ceramics

ID Nikitin. Kumgan, the pitcher. 1970s.

In the last century, despite small scales (totaling about 107 households), in Bolshoy Kazarinov, in the manufacture of pottery, an average of 230 men participated; The local potters were skilled and agile, they managed to make up to 321,000 pieces of dishes for the winter. And some managed to outdo their neighbors in terms of art: decorate with a molded decor a pitcher or a kink, create something unprecedented. The image of this decor, as in ancient times, was expressed in the depiction of birds, animals, domestic animals. True, the names of the masters who created the molded images did not go down in history, and the products, with rare exceptions, were not preserved.
Talented masters have not been transferred to the local places to this day, but the fishery has undergone great changes in comparison with the past. Although the village has grown noticeably, the number of potters has fallen sharply. At present, there are only three of them left: Nikitin, PA Ploschenkov, IT T. Koshelev. And although each of these masters knows the method of manufacturing black-clay pottery and owns its techniques, they nevertheless have to confine themselves to molding good-quality irrigation vessels. The jugs, krinks, kumgans, pots, which are cut by the masters on the circle, are simple and convenient to use and quickly find the demand from fellow villagers.
All production is concentrated in the collective farm shop, where along with a small amount of dishes, masters make a variety of chimneys, flower pots and souvenirs.
Underestimation of the cultural value of traditional crafts in the 1940s and 1950s led to a disdainful attitude to the creativity of folk artists as supposedly a remnant of the past.

Master of Boldin ceramics

A group of pitchers. 1970s

Meanwhile, the desire to create something of its own, original, remained in the character of potters. Nikitin himself is especially generous with fictions. A simple pot or a jug of a master will decorate it with a bird, then a flashy ornament, or even the whole vessel will make it all figurative, like an outlandish beast. The vessel for wine “Leo” (1971) was solved with such conventionality that it could with success carry another name. The most important thing in this work is the elongated, rounded body and throat in the form of a fantastic creature with a bird’s beak, bulging eyes and a wavy mane. Zoomorphic images in Nikitin’s works find analogies in the ceramics of other regions of Central Russia, the Volga region, the neighboring Penza, Ulyanovsk, Yaroslavl and other regions. A natural sense of proportion, an understanding of the meaning and meaning of an object, always restrains the master from excessive adornment, that dzorativism, which sometimes prevails over form. The works of Nikitin due to the modesty of decoration, meaningfulness, weight and goodness of forms are not superfluous, strangers in the interior, they live in it. The moment of balance between functionality and the decorative nature of things is very important for defining the tasks of contemporary folk art, its future.
The creative principle in Nikitin’s works is combined with a deep understanding of the nature of the material. Before molding the product, Nikitin creates it mentally, after which several precise, fast movements of the potter transform a shapeless piece of clay into a slender jar or kumgang. As the circle of the hand of the master rotates, it draws, then the object is rounded, and the shape is prompted by the purpose of the thing, its function. Vessels for liquids have an emphatically elongated throat part, while pots, sour cream, hands are a strongly rounded body.
Despite the stability of the local pottery forms, Nikitin does not literally copy the old samples, but introduces an individual beginning into their products. He gives them a diverse form, but he strives to round the body in the same way as his ancestors did, which was remembered in the memory of many generations of the Kazarin potters. Proportionality, proportionality of individual parts of vessels as well as smoothness or steepness of bends are inseparable from the traditions of Nizhny Novgorod folk pottery. In the work of Nikitin, an integral complete image of it is born, as it were, anew.

Master of Boldin ceramics

ID Nikitin. Kumgang, a jug, a pot, a hilt. 1970s.

Master of Boldin ceramics Ivan Dmitrievich Nikitin

Contemporary Georgian dishes are covered with frosting. This provides it with strength and practicality. Work with transparent glazes differs from languor and glaze by the way of production, according to the approach to the material. Especially in such products color. After baking, the glazed dishes acquire a variety of shades from light ocher to reddish brown. On products, the wavy ornamentation, which is marked over the engobe with a special wand, is most clearly visible. Sometimes it is supplemented by separate horizontal belts. The principles of decoration, the motifs of the ornamentation of Nikitin ceramics differ little from the techniques of the XVII-XVIII centuries. The original figurative content of the vessels, transforming in a new way, lives, preserving the restraint and purity of the line of silhouettes of ceramic forms.
In the local tradition, the ornament is located in the upper part of the vessel, due to which the body is visually enlarged. Note that the application of irrigation had little effect on the shape of the vessels: in comparison with the past, it almost did not change. In its quality, the identity of the people’s sense of decorativeness has been preserved.
Nikitin created many remarkable irrigated products, genuinely popular in spirit. According to his pottery samples, the remaining craftsmen work. However, the creative possibilities of the master have not yet been uncovered. This is confirmed by his works shown at the all-Union and republican exhibitions of folk art, awarded the honorary award of the Union of Artists of the RSFSR in 1970.
There is no doubt that the Kazan ceramics, while the talented masters are alive, should not play the role of exclusively museum exhibits. It is important that it is widely entered into the modern dwelling, served the cause of educating the taste, awakened the feeling of beauty.

Master of Boldin ceramics

A group of pitchers. 1970s

Master of Boldin ceramics

I.T. Koshelev. The master of Boldinsk ceramics at work