At all times, people have longed for beauty. Creating the first necessary objects, they tried to make them not only useful but also beautiful. The development of folk arts and crafts is linked with not just increasing the object’s utilitarian characteristics, but with creating a perfect shape and decorating the object in all possible ways. Any craft aimed at making domestic utensils – whether clothing, utensils, or home-made textiles – gradually develops and transforms into the folk art that we now admire.
Since 1996, the craftsmen of the Yasnaya Polyana museum have been studying and maintaining the traditions of folk crafts and needlework which existed in the region of Tula from the old days: patchwork, weaving, embroidery, wicker-work, making folk costumes, traditional dolls, and ceramic souvenirs.
The craftsmen of two museum departments (the Folk Art Department
and the Arts and Crafts Department) not only revive traditions of particular folk arts, but also further develop them and create original objects remarkable for their own style, one characteristic of the articles produced at Yasnaya Polyana. Our museum craftsmen organize research expeditions, talk to the few remaining local craftsmen who specialize in various crafts, work in the archives and museum collections, and study old specimens of folk arts, ways of making these objects, their ethnographic aspects, traditional ceremonies using the objects, and their reputed function as charms or talismans.