Modern articles of Altai masters
And again the stone, as in old times, is beginning to play an evident part in decorating towns and recreation places of Altai.
Stone fountains with “floating” spheres, stelae decorated with vases, decorative spheres on staircases perfectly enter town landscapes. They become indisputable memorials of both history and culture in those places which are one way or another connected with stonecutting business in Altai.
Letters made of azur-matacbite wich resembles a geographical map of the divine land with blue color of rivers, green color of forests, whiteness; of snows and warm color shades of fields meet the guestsof Special Economic Zone of tourism and recreation “Sky-blue Katun”.
On the same place of the right bankofthe mountain river Katun along the way of the searches of Belovodje and Shambala there is erected the monument to N. K. Roerich with the Pushtulim marble pedestal made by a famous sculptor Vladimir Voichishin.
Article of Altai stonecutters are still modern interior items.
Stone pictures made in the Florentine mosaic technique occupy special position: guests of Altai Krai can see them in the foyer of Altai Drama Theater, in the waiting space of the riyerside station, in Nikolskiy cathedral of Barnaul and in the chapel on Chuiskiy tract (highway).
The Icons made in the same technique were presented to Russia’s President Dmitriy Medvedev, Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin and a legendary arms constructor Michail Kalashnikov.
No less important are stone landscapes of Altai. The diversity of semiprecious stone color shades best of all express the riches of natural colors of the Krai.
The legend about a stone flower as the summit of stonecutting art appeared not from scratch. Many a master dreamed to show that the stone was alive.
Today Altai jewelers possessing modern techniques of stone processing create real masterpieces worthy of a magic garden of Lady of the undermountain kingdom.
A branch of cedar, sea-buckthorn or lilac seem to have been just picked. Look closer — in a lilac cluster there is surely a “happy” flower with five petals…
The diversity of expressive means in stone miniatures ravish: starting with selection of the material itself which is to precisely express the texture of the object — whether it is a Siberian stag skin or a knitted sweater of a cone picker — and finishing with the combination on different techniques of processing. In one miniature there is combined the Florentine mosaic technique and very elaborate work on precious metals.
Inexhaustible diversity of Altai stones let skilled craftsmen achieve staggering results.
It not at all easy to find the proper name for the masters of stone miniatures: a “stonecutter” a “jeweler”or a “sculptor”?
Expressive plastic art, scrupulous precision of details and naturalness of color make us forget about hardships with stone processing — and Altai stones refer to hard and solid rocks. Meanwhile the eye of a miniature figure consists of three different stones…
Stone writing sets have been immutable decoration of offices for centuries, they were inseparably connected with literary work and served as expensive presents to respected people. The epoch of ballpoint pens couldn’t oust them form the mode of life.
Today a writing set of natural stones unobtrusively signifies the success of his owner, the stability of a firm, the patriotism of a politician… In a word, the popularity of such articles does not decrease. And when the beauty of the stone and the mastery of a stonecutter harmoniously merge in an article it becomes not an item of interior but a piece of art.
Souvenirs and presents from stone are classic of souvenir genre. A worthy reason requires a worthy present.
The jubilee of our famous fellow-countryman writer V.M. Shukshin inspired Altai masters to create a series of miniatures: from the simplest medallions to manydetailed compositions requiring painstaking and slow work, profound knowledge of the material and creative vision — and should we remind about personal attitude to the object of representation?!
Shukshin’s literary talent is flesh and blood of Altai land, simplicity and philosophic depth of his works found an unexpected symbolic expression: a common semiprecious stone from the depths of Altai land transformed by the talent and love…
The child is said to be living in every adult.
Such quite grown-up children-collectors play quite grown-up toys; amusing figures became the decoration of considerable collections in Russia and abroad.
And other adult children invent and make these toys, and each of them is a sort of collection of Altai semiprecious stones the diversity of which makes it possible to express everything imagined by the artist.
And quite differently does the Altai stone behave in classical, traditional articles, either it is a Easter egg, or a scoop-duck, or chess items, vases and bowls which repeat famous articles of Kolyvan stonecutters.
Simplicity and laconism of forms made us concentrate our attention on the texture of the stone itself.
Master paid their respect to the history of stone and mining industry in Altai in the series of miniatures made of silver and stone and dedicated to famous persons, of the 18th-19th centuries who had marked themselves on pages of glorious chronicle of the Krai.
Various techniques, diverse styles and different masters… In Altai Krai there was organized the “Union of craftsmen” in order to preserve and develop traditions and creative experience as well as to solve organizational issues: one of these tasks was further research of the bowels of Altai land…
Nowadays Altai stones are not only commerce or building material: not long ago modern medicine appealed to their medicinal qualities, and today there are carried out scientific researches aimed at studying the possibilities to use stones in curing some illnesses.