I have a childlike love for Russian folk art. My eyes are always drawn to the brightly coloured flowers and illustrative flair, which is why I have had this sweet Matryoshka doll sitting on my desk for the last ten years (accompanied by a Bahamian papier-mache fish and a Mexican ceramic bird whistle – those folk artists certainly like colour).
Admittedly, I picked her up in Prague but this style of folk art can be seen right across eastern and northern Europe, all the way up to Norway. And now, apparently, it has reached the shores of Ireland.
I headed to the Ballysimon car boot this morning with the little man in tow and was faced with a medley of folk inspired brick-a-brac. I fell in love with the old singer sewing machine (check out that hammered metal plate at the front!) but these pieces are pretty defunct bar for the odd die-hard machinist, although the charity Tools for Self Reliance in Wales are reconditioning vintage sewing machines and sending them to Tanzania to help grass roots communities. What a shame we don’t have an equivalent here.
The cast iron and solid wood base could be converted into a pretty amazing occasional table, but I think the real beauty in this is the artwork – someone surely took such pride in this once, which, for me, is the beauty of thrifting.
Of course I have to reference one of my favourite fashionistas, Miroslava Duma, who is Russian, and absolutely acing modern folk style at New York Fashion Week.
One last shout out has to go graphic designer Sasha Vinogradova who managed to do all the research work for me by putting the various styles of Russian folk art into these rather cool visuals.
All photos by Alexia McInerney unless otherwise stated.