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Russian babushka saving ancient weaving crafts

Klavdia Sablina, from a small Russian city, on her work to preserve ancient techniques.
By Ksenia Isaeva, RBTH
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Anya Ivantsova

“Pinterest is a very useful thing. I find things there. And I also like Vkontakte (a Russian social network, similar to Facebook): I listen to music, look for recipes, chat. I have my own group, it’s called “I love my work and I make it an art”, says Klavdia.
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Anya Ivantsova

Klavdia Sablina is an engineer, studied in Moscow, and now lives in Orenburg, a city 1460 km far from Moscow. Once a university professor, later she tired of work and retired.
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Anya Ivantsova

“When I see good roads, I’m proud to say that I’m a road engineer. However, in Orenburg I don’t say so. The roads here are appalling.”
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ANYA IVANTSOVA

Klavdia lives in a two room flat in a suburb of Orenburg. A large wooden loom stands in the center of the living room. “The loom is more than 100 years old. Looms now are very expensive, but I bought this one for a song. I’m sure fate had a hand in it.”
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Anya Ivantsova

Klavdia often goes for a walk to the village of Rostoshi, a neighborhood with private cottages. “I like what I see here, everything’s so neat: beautiful houses, well-tended trees.”
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Anya Ivantsova

“Anything can happen in life. I buried my husband and later a daughter. She was ill, but very talented. She painted great. It’s hard. But you have to live.” Klavdia believes in fate and thinks that suffering in life makes people better.
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Anya Ivantsova

Klavdia lives according to her principles: she never envies others, does what she likes, and lives for today.
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Anya Ivantsova

“We’ve lost touch with our roots. At some point we jumped from a narrow track to a wide one, but I never departed from the narrow one. One day everything will collapse, and what then? Our ancestors came up with everything, and we forget it already.”
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Anya Ivantsova

Klavdia keeps the traditions of our ancestors alive: she sews 15th century-style clothes, embroiders, knits, and weaves. “I don’t think the Orthodox religion is ours. I attended church for a long time and went on pilgrimages, but now I’ve moved away. I believe in nature. Every morning I pray to the god Svarog.”
Babushka

Anya Ivantsova

“The hat I have is called a ‘soroka’. I sewed it myself based on old patterns, and then embroidered it. I wear it all the time, it prevents headaches.”
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Anya Ivantsova

Klavdia says that only she adheres to all the ancient rules of making clothes and fabrics; she has not met anyone else in Orenburg who does so.
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Anya Ivantsova

“Our city is like a national village. It’s a kind of park where each community has its own area. Here I made friends with Belorussians. I worked with the Russian community to begin with, but they want a lot and don’t pay. But the Belorussians adore me and my work.”
November 30, 2016
Tags: crafts, society, people_multimedia

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