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Hand-woven folk art with character

March 1st, 2019 / By: / Projects

Folk art meets Pokémon
In a nod to “Jedi religion”— or “Jediism”—Master Yoda is surrounded by old-world Ukrainian designs.

Ukrainian artist Oksana Levchenya has long admired the craftsmanship of traditional hand-woven rugs and tapestries. She founded OLK Manufactory in Kiev to create woven rugs and tapestries that exemplify the same kind of expertise. Her vertical kilims are created by hand using an intricate technique dating back to the 16th century.

In a new collection, Levchenya mixes traditional styling with famously contemporary characters—one design features Pokémon’s Pikachu and another features Master Yoda from “Star Wars.”   

What makes the designs unique is that they are not typical child-like patterns. Instead, they combine the fictional figures with folk ornamentation and traditional Ukrainian crafting techniques. Each stage of production, including design, yarn-dyeing, intertwining by hand and steaming, is done in the workshop.

Each kilim takes several months to create using the painstaking manual process. Hemp thread makes up the base of the rugs. The carpet cloth is made of dyed natural wool of Carpathian sheep or vegetable yarn from nettles. Hundreds of warp threads are stretched on a vertical loom and yarn is intertwined with warp thread by hand. For more information, visit www.olk-manufactory.com.

Stop Me If You Can features Pikachu amidst a folk pattern. Photos: OLK Manufactory.

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