In the village of Polkhovsky Maidan, Nizhny Novgorod Region, little has changed over hundreds of years. The same wooden houses with tiles. The same broken roads. The same linden forest. The same trade. For four centuries in a row, the most recognizable souvenir of Russia, the matryoshka, has been born in the local workshops.
The peasants of the village took over the lathe trade from the monks of the Sarov Monastery. At the beginning of the 20th century, wooden crafts began to be burned, a little later – to paint. It was then that the characteristic Maidan ornament and landscape compositional plot took shape.
Previously, there was a whole production called “Krasnaya Zarya”, where the whole village sharpened and painted nesting dolls. We even went from door to door and checked to see if anyone was grinding at home. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the plant also disappeared. The whole village is now sharpening houses. Today, the traditions of the craft are continued by private entrepreneurs. The secrets of turning and the unique Polkhov-Maidan painting are passed on from father to son, from mother to daughter.
People live here simply. They work honestly. They prepare wood, which will then be used on wooden utensils and toys. Raw materials are taken from the forest. Those who do not want to go to the forest buy wood, ordering a full ZIL car (in the winter it costs 17,000 rubles), and in the summer – 20,000 rubles. Residents say: “Throw in half a car of snags, sort it out yourself later. There is a forest 12 km from the village. There you buy a permit from a forester, and he shows you where you can cut, and where not. There are also people who cut without documents, but if they are caught, they will write out a fine of 100,000 rubles. “
A turning workshop for the male half is like a second home. Here they spend 10-12 hours a day. Otherwise, you can’t make money on handicraft.
The process of making nesting dolls begins with the selection of wood. Linden is chosen from many types of trees, as it is very soft and easy to work with. The best time to harvest material is early spring. The tree needs to dry out to take shape, after which the linden is sawn.
The lower part of the matryoshka is sharpened from dry wood, which has dried for several years. The upper part is made of raw material, as the wood dries up later, and therefore the matryoshka is tightly closed. First, they sharpen the smallest single piece. Then proceed to the second, consisting of two parts.
From the inside, all the wood is removed so that the smaller doll fits snugly inside. Then the process is repeated for a larger doll, etc. After the matryoshka dolls are prepared, the women paint them with oil paints. Cover with varnish.