Ceramics is a widely spread form of Ukrainian folk art. It was developed by many generations of gifted folk artists.
Diversity of forms, ornaments and techniques of execution has made this folk art extremely popular.
The production of ceramic wares is concentrated in localities rich in deposits of high-quality clays. The principal centres of ceramic production in the Ukraine were Opishnya, Mirhorod, Zinkiv (Poltava Region); Kiev, Dybyntsi, Vasylkiv (near Kiev); Kaniv (now Cherkassy Region); Nova Vodolaha and Popivka (Kharkiv Region); Bar, Bubnivka, Haisin, Tulchyn (Vinnytsa Region); Kolomia, Kosiv, Kuty, Pistyn (the present Ivano-Frankivsk Region); Vilkivka, Dubovynka, Uzhhorod (Transcarpathian Region).
The ceramic wares of each of these areas possess distinctive features of shape and artistic ornamentation.
The Museum’s collection contains ceramic wares of various regions of the Ukraine, beginning with the XVIII century and up to the present.
During Soviet times there has been a considerable development of the production of art ceramics by the craftsmen of the Opishnya “Khudozhniy Keramik (Ceramic Artist)” Plant (Poltava Region). Love for vivid colours and floral patterns taken from nature, a feeling of composition and tendency toward restrained forms characterize the work of the Opishnya ceramic artists. The exposition of the Museum also contains the traditional Opishnya ceramic toys — horses, rams, birds. The designers of these toys are Anastasia Poshyvailo-Bilyk and Aleksandra Selyuchenko.
The works of the potters from the village Dybyntsi, Kiev Region, Herasym Harnaha, Vasyl Masvuk, Arion Startsevy are distinguished by originality of form, copious floral ornamentation and excellent workmanship.
Kiev is represented by the works of famous craftsmen in ceramic art Dmytro Holovko, Oleksandra Hryadunova, Lyudmyla Kyanitsyna, Pavlo Ivanchenko, Lyudmyla Ivkivska and others. Creative work of Ivan Honchar (1889 — 1943) from Vinnytsa Region is characterised by sparkling folk humour, while the author has found a secure place in the history of Ukrainian folk art due to the distinctive features of his talent. The artist has created beautiful vases, statuettes depicting wild and domestic animals, genre scenes oh motifs from the works of A. Pushkin, I. Krylov, L. Glibov and from folk fairy tales. Honchar has left an extensive and rich artistic heritage, solicitously preserved in this and other museums of the republic.
The Museum also displays the ceramic sculptures of the artist Mykola Pishchenko from the town of Ichnya, Chernigiv Region. His fantastic bears, goats and lions are expressive and plastic.
Fine artistic taste and subtle understanding of the specific properties of the medium are the distinctive traits of the Kosiv craftsmen Pavlina Tsvilyuk (1890—1964), Nadiya Verbivska, Maria Tymyak, Kateryna and Viktoria Voloshchuk, Maria Krushnytska, Mikhailo and Hanna Roshchybyuk, Orycya Kozak and others. Although the ornamental elements are characteristic of all the above-mentioned local patterns, their compositions are never repeated—so rich is the imagination of the Carpathian craftsmen.
In their productions the Vasylkiv Majolica Factory craftsmen follow the ceramic art traditions of Kiev Region. The artists Nadiya and Valery Protoryev take the best features of the traditional heritage with fine artistic discrimination to create modern household articles and various souvenirs.
Original work is being done by the artists of the experimental ceramic shop of the Research Institute for Experimental and Type Design Nina Fedorova, Oksana Hrudzynska, Hanna Sharai. In their works they make skilful use of Ukrainian national ornaments and folk forms, applying multicoloured glazes and a new method of glaze baking. The colour schemes of their productions are very effective.
The small sculptural forms created by Omelyan Zheliznyak (1909 — 1963) are greatly admired by the visitors of the Museum. Like all other masters of folk toys, this artist drew motifs and images for his creations mainly from the life of animals.
The ceramic wares of the folk artists have been displayed many times at regional, republican, All-Union and international exhibitions, which demonstrated the achievements of ceramic art in the Ukraine and revealed great prospects for its further development.
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