Gzhel – Nowadays, the name Gzhel is used to describe artisan porcelain and pottery production and painting. Since ancient times the village of Gzhel and the entire Gzhel Oblast have been famous for their clay deposits; which have been actively mined since the 17th century. The extracted clay originally was used to manufacture pots for pharmaceutical products. It was later used to produce bricks, tiles for stoves, pottery, and toys, which were very popular in those days.
Semifaience was put into production later, after the discovery of gray clay deposits near the village of Minino in the early 17th century, while the production of porcelain started after the Kulikov brothers discovered works from white faience material in the Volodino village. Later, the production of porcelain was primarily done by the hands of the Kuznetsov brothers. They built a factory in the village of Novo-Kharitonovo (the Gzhel Oblast), which was nationalized after the revolution.
Gzhel is a well-known center of porcelain and faience production, known not just nationally, but internationally as well.
Snow-white ceramic and porcelain are decorated with paintings in the technique of "underglaze painting with cobalt." The main color of this style of painting is bright blue; with shades of blue ranging from almost black to light blue. This style is characterized by a meticulous painting of details, plants, and geometric ornaments. Oftentimes, there are images of birds, fairy tale characters, and sketches of peasant life, but the basis of the painting is the generally a floral ornament.
The products are tempered twice – once before painting, at 900 ° C and once after painting (the paint is based on cobalt oxide) and glazing, at 1400 ° C. Each product must have the personal signature of the master.
In addition, you can buy products made from hard bone china. They are fully white or decorated with cobalt, colored paint, or gilt.
Gzhel factories (currently there are six in the association) produce crockery, figurines, decorative items, vases, lamps, souvenirs, and much more.
Gzhel is not just a specific location on the map. Besides Gzhel itself there are about thirty villages such as Troshkova, Glebovo, and Rechitsa. They are located in the Ramensky district of the Moscow Oblast. The factories are open to guided tours, workshops are available. You will not leave without a souvenir, and you will not want to!