Gzhel porcelain: 20 shades of blue

Gzhel porcelain: 20 shades of blue

2 minutes to read

Blue and white pottery is a part of Chinese and Holland cultures, however blue and white Gzhel porcelain, one of the traditional Russian crafts, has its specialties. You can discover the secrets of its beauty in one of the Gzhel porcelain factories in the  Moscow Region. Sin Rossii factory invites you to watch the process of creating and painting, participate in a workshop, visit a museum with many works of talented Gzhel painters and enjoy 20 shades of blue.

Photo © credits to culture.ru/Sergei Lavrentiev
Photo © credits to culture.ru/Sergei Lavrentiev

First, Gzhel pottery was multicolored

Gzhel and 27 surrounding villages are known since the 14th century. When the first settlers came here, to this remote and wild place, they were disappointed. Instead of good soil suitable for farming, they found only clay. However, soon they understood that they found a treasure. Gzhel Region became a famous center of pottery. Firstly, Gzhel pottery was multicolored, but later a blue and white style came from Holland.

Photo © credits to Margarita Vdovina
Photo © credits to Margarita Vdovina

The magic process of creating Gzhel porcelain

At the factory, you can see the magic process of creating Russian Gzhel porcelain. Grey pottery after baking becomes white, then it is painted by cobalt paint, which looks black. Painted items are put into the glaze and become white. Only after 48 hours of baking, bright blue design appears on the shining surface. Original Gzhel pottery has Gzhel stamp and a painter’s name on the bottom.

Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina

Painting workshop

The best way to understand the specialties of Gzhel design is to participate in a painting workshop. Particular brushstrokes create unique Gzhel design. A painter takes paint only by a small corner of a brush, thus creating different shades of blue. She shows different brushstrokes on a sheet of paper. Then you are suggested to paint a small souvenir and take with you. Keep in mind that the combination of blue and white should be 50x50. The results depend on your talent and enthusiasm.

Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina

Gzhel factory produces all kinds of tableware, candle holders, clocks, lamps, vases, souvenirs, icon frames, and even mantelpieces. However, the blue and white Gzhel design became so popular nowadays that it is used not only for Gzhel porcelain. Actually, 20 shades of blue are used for women clothes, home interior, nail art designs or wedding ceremonies. Near the factory, there is the Church of the Assumption with a porcelain iconostasis as well.

Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina
Gzhel factory “Sin Rossii”, Moscow Region
Gzhel factory “Sin Rossii”, Moscow Region
Church of the Assumption in Gzhel village
Church of the Assumption in Gzhel village

Cover photo © credits to Victoria Derzhavina

The author

Victoria Derzhavina

Victoria Derzhavina

I live in Moscow. I am passionate about travelling, history, nature and architecture. I worked as a tourist guide in Moscow and other Russian cities for several years. I get inspiration visiting new places and like sharing it with others.

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