Technology of white-on-white embroidery of Reshetylivka district Poltava oblast

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Technology of white-on-white embroidery of Reshetylivka district Poltava oblast

A special feature of white-on-white embroidery is a combination in one product from 5 to 7 various techniques, which enrich artistic and expressive means of ornamental compositions, giving them some similarity to a miniature.

Classic technique of whitework embroidery is “counted satin stitch” or straight stitch “lyshtva”, which requires counting of threads. Using “lyshtva”, geometric plant motifs are created, combining them with other techniques. 

There are several different styles of drawn thread work (“merezhka”) for design of embroidered shirts: “stovpchyk”, “grechechka”, “vivsianochka”, “luchka”, “liachivka”, “prutyk z nastylom”, “chysna merezhka”, “bezchysna merezhka”, “proriznyi prutyk”.  Plant and geometric motifs of drawn thread work are characterized by a winding branch with leaves and flowers. Merezhka creates artistic contrast of lace patterns with canvas to relief surface embroidery.

Another common technique is cutwork “vyrizuvannya”. The pattern is tightly covered with threads, then the middle of it is cut out, and clear lace squares are formed on the canvas. This technique is most often combined with others.

High-relief patterns with chiaroscuro effects are formed by whitework embroidery. Depending on the direction of a thread, horizontally or vertically used, a pattern may reflect light or absorb it. Reshetylivka white-on-white embroidery is a special kind of artistic means, which is associated with beauty of frost patterns.

The main centre of the existence of the element is the village Reshetylivka in Reshetylivka district of Poltava oblast.  Excellent historical and geographical position, presence of raw materials and talented craftswomen have contributed to the development of embroidery. Since 1905 an art handicraft factory has worked in Reshetylivka. It produced a large range of products decorated with Reshetylivka embroidery.

In 1937, along with the factory, Arts and Crafts school was created; later it became Reshetylivka Art trade school. Students from all regions of Ukraine came there to study.

The bearers of the element do not form a single community. First and foremost, the carriers are craftsmen and teachers of Reshetylivka Art Trade school, the embroiderer of a private workshop "Solomiia", teachers of Reshetylivka children's art school and Reshetylivka gymnasium named after I. L. Oliynyk, as well as the creative families Piliugin, Ipatii, Vakulenko and separate masters: Kis A.V., Korshunova O.V., Moskivets T.O., Kovalenko S.A., Sharatina T.I., Zobenko L.P., Taranets K.K., Holub O.E. and others. The age-old traditions of Reshetylivka whitework embroidery are transmitted from a master to a student in educational institutions, as well as from generation to generation in a family.

The bearers of white-on-white embroidery element in Reshetylivka are masters of 1940s -1990s years of birth. Today, when an embroidered shirt has become very popular, the quantity of those who want to learn to embroider has grown, but, taken into account the difficulty of the process, not everyone has enough patience to master the skill. Learning of traditional techniques is a labour-intensive and troublesome process; therefore, the secrets of the craft, as a rule, have been learned from early childhood.

At Reshetylivka local history museum a department of embroidery and weaving was organized. A large number of art works decorated with white-on-white embroidery, was collected and a list of technological techniques used in these items was made. Flow charts and descriptions were prepared at educational institutions, videos about technology of implementation of different embroidery techniques were made, and books, which depict different researches on this element, were published.

Since 1992 and till now the annual regional festival "Reshetylivka spring" is held, where embroidery craftsmen share their practical skills with young people and a wide range of amateurs. Different master classes and seminars, in which everybody who wished may participate, are constantly organized. Masters are regular participants of foreign, international, all-Ukrainian exhibitions, contests, symposiums, festivals and fairs: "Colourful Ukraine", "Visible song of Ukraine" in Odessa, "International Travel Salon", World "Master Festival" in Seoul, Korea, “Turkmenistan Culture Week", "Hungarian Culture Week", "The Jagiellonian Art Fair", in Lublin, Poland, "Days of Ukraine in London", family exhibitions at the Embassy of Ukraine in Paris, France, Sofia, Bulgaria, International Festival of Folk Art in Turkey, International Festival of Folk Art "Rodoslav" in Ivano-Frankivsk, International Festival "Ethnic style" in Kyiv, Art Arsenal.

Today additional measures are being implemented to protect and popularize Reshetylivka embroidery, in order to transfer it to future generations. Open lessons about Reshetylivka embroidery, competitions, exhibitions, workshops, excursions to local museums and embroiderers’ workshops are held in public schools

Reshetylivka – the centre of Reshetylivka district Poltava oblast.

Population: 9337

Driving distance from Kiev to Reshetylivka: 308km

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