четверг, 20 января 2011 г.

О столетней истории гончарных школ Опошни / On the centennial history of pottery school Oposhnya

A centennial history of Opishne pottery Schools
Pottery schools were founded in Ukraine in the last quarter of the XIXth century. Since that time pottery educational establishments have been functioning in many towns and cities like Berlyntsi-Lisovi, Glynsk, Dubyntsi, Kamianetsk-Podilsk, Kolomyja, Makariv Yar, Myrgorod, Mezhyrich, Nova Vodolaga, Oleshnia, Opishne, Postav-Muky, Tovste etc. By the ’50s of the XXth century the overwhelming majority of pottery schools had stopped their activity without having sufficiently fulfilled the set objectives. The tradition of their functioning was saved and taken up in Myrgorod and Opishne only. Its foundation was laid due to the far-seeing policy, practical and duly actions of Poltava Provincial Zemstvo. Myrgorod Ceramic Vocational School named after Mykola Gogol and State Specialized Art Boarding School known as Opishne Art College are still functioning. One of the peculiarities of Opishne is the fact that a huge variety of pottery educational establishments functioned there in different periods. In our opinion this particular fact may be one among a great number of other facts which gives us the right to consider Opishne as a remarkable centre of Ukrainian pottery schooling.

Opishne pottery schools differed from others in the subject-matter and objectives, the conditions of creation, in subordination, in the management of the studying process and also in the degree of their impact upon the further development of Opishne ceramics.
Here is the chronological order of schools:
1 Opishne model pottery workshop of Poltava Provincial Zemstvo (1894-1899) [1],
2 Opishne Pottery Educational and Illustrative Centre (1912-1922) [2],
3 Opishne Domestic Pottery Manufacturing School (1927-1932) [3],
4 Opishne Craftsmen School of Artistic Ceramics (1936-1941) [4],
5 Opishne department of Vocational School № 28 in Reshetylivka (1986-1999),
6 State Specialized Art Boarding School (Opishne Art College) – from 1997 till present days [5].
The highest possible analysis of functioning of each Opishne pottery educational establishment allows to find out their role in preservation and cultivation of the centre’s artistic traditions, their influence upon the local pottery and ceramic traditions of other Ukrainian regions. The consideration of the predecessors’ mistakes enables us to discern the most effective forms of activity of suchlike modern establishments.
There is much information about Opishne pottery in scientific literature. Opishne is truly considered to be Ukrainian pottery cradle, but it has never been in the scientific focus of attention as a centre of pottery schooling. There isn’t a single serious and profound work on the question of functioning of Opishne pottery schools as yet. At present the author of the article is engaged in versatile researching of the above mentioned problem.
The problem of studying of pottery schools functioning is extremely relevant at present. As soon as it is looked deeply into, a lot of unanswered questions will be solved. They are:
1 Why didn’t Opishne pottery lose its leading role under different political, social and economic circumstances?
2 Why is it not developing at present when there seem to be the most favorable conditions for that?
3 Why haven’t pottery schools been studied in the system of Ukrainian artistic education?
The pottery educational establishments drew attention to these questions, emphasized the crucial factors of preservation and cultivation of Opishne ceramic traditions. The main objective of this article is to outline the characteristic features of each school. The article deals with pottery schools as one of the forms of handing down the knowledge in ceramics from one generation to another.
So different forms of organization of educational establishments according to their destination were approbated in Opishne. The demands and necessities to solve different pottery problems influenced the choice of the name of the educational establishment: workshop-centre-school-vocational school-college. In our opinion these problems were naturally determined rather than accidental, as they reflected the processes which occurred in the local pottery and also proved to be the source of implementing the novelties. As a result of political and economic changes, which influenced the activity of pottery schools, different objectives were put forward in them.
The main principle of Opishne pottery schools organization and their influence on the development of local pottery was different. But the factor that united them consisted in the existence of schools on the basis of Opishne pottery traditions. The role of executive authorities and institutions of local government in the effective organization of Opishne pottery schools functioning was crucial to a certain extent. A brief characteristic of each of these schools will enable to define their individual peculiarities.
Opishne model pottery workshop of Poltava Provincial Zemstvo (1894-1899) was a kind of experiment as it was the first pottery educational establishment in the Russian Empire. It was subordinated to Poltava Provincial Zemstvo which had organized it. It was founded to provide the opportunity for the local handicraftsmen to learn the new techniques in production and decoration of earthenwares; to learn the faculties of local clays and the choice of necessary polishing materials; to implement better (in technical respect) pottery equipment and tools; to promote artistically decorated earthenwares. Having started the manufacturing activity, which could be compared to plant manufacture, the workshop did not become educational as it was expected. The main objective of the school foundation was partially realized.
The directors of the school were: Ivan Zaretsky (a ceramist, 1894-1896) who didn’t practice in pottery production and Markin (a technician – 1896-1899). The staff of the school included the craftsmen of plant manufacturing who had nothing to do with folk ceramics. All these people, both managers and craftsmen were invited by Zemstvo.
Among the pupils of the school were predominantly the children of the local handicraftsmen, aged 12-18, and also the craftsmen, who got consultations from the staff of the workshop. The length of education varied from a few months to three years. The specificity of the school consisted in the fact that it was a manufacturing workshop in which all the processes of earthenware production took place (beginning with the preparation of clay and finishing with the process of firing). But the systematic management of its functioning was not observed. The results of its activity displayed in some new discoveries and traditions, which became available to the local potters. Those were: taking advantage of the local clays faculties, the usage of plaster moulds, the spread of superb plant ornaments on the earthenwares. Thus, the propriety of foundation and functioning of pottery schools in Opishne was checked and the basis for the new centres of spreading the latest achievements in the field of pottery among the local handicraftsmen was created.
Opishne pottery educational and illustrative centre (1912-1922) was, to a certain extent, an achievement of its foundators – the representatives of Poltava Provincial Zemstvo. That was both educational and manufacturing establishment at the same time. It was founded to favour Opishne pottery flourishing by means of spreading technological knowledge through educational process. Like in Opishne model pottery workshop of Poltava Provincial Zemstvo at this particular school ceramists were oriented to create factory-like goods rather than ones in the folk style. The main objective of the school – to prepare qualified craftsmen – was realized.
The director of the establishment was an efficient and very experienced technologist, a graduate of Kolomyja pottery school, Yurii Lebishchak. His personality as a leader and a real expert in his field displayed in the fact that the establishment he was leading was directed towards methodological experiments in pottery techniques and ornamenting. Built in 1916 due to his active participation, the building for Opishne pottery educational and illustrative centre (1912-1918) has been the centre of pottery life in the village for a long time. At present this architectural monument attracts numerous tourists who come to Opishne.
The staff of the school were not local inhabitants, but they were experts in ceramics and had specialized education. The overwhelming majority of students (handicraftsmen among them) were local. They outnumbered the previous educational establishments.
Founded under the conditions of flourishing of Ukrainian modernism and combining educational and manufacturing functions, the centre contributed greatly to the formation of the new image of Opishne ceramics. In the late years of its functioning the leading role belonged to the manufacturing workshop that later reflected in the name of the establishment – Opishne pottery workshop.
From 1925 till 1926 Opishne Domestic Pottery Manufacturing School was functioning. It was founded on the initiative of the regonal executive committee aiming at the development of Opishne ceramics. As the establishment had been functioning for a year only, it’s difficult to dwell on its peculiarities. We happened to come across the earthenware made by a potter Bilyk by name in 1926, which proves that there were students at this school.
The functioning of Opishne Domestic Pottery Manufacturing School (1927-1932) coincided with a very significant and at the same time a very tragic event in the history of Ukraine. It was founded in the period of Ukrainian national rebirth and stopped functioning during “Holokost” (artificially fostered famine) and Stalin’s repressions. The school was opened on the initiative of Opishne regional initiative committee and it subordinated to the vocational school department of the national committee of education. The main objective for the foundation of this school was the preparation of highly educated craftsmen, who were in great demand at that time, also the cooperation of handicraftsmen to facilitate the control over ceramic manufacture. The set objective was achieved – the school became a manufacturing and cultural centre for potters, the handcraftsmanship was eradicated. The manufacturing of artistic pottery in the centre gradually concentrated round the department called “An Artistic Ceramist”, founded on the basis of the workshop which functioned as a subdivision of the above-mentioned department.
The school was headed by a graduated of Myrgorod Pottery School named after Mykola Gogol, the technologist Ivan Boichenko. The staff of the school was predominantly represented by specialists in pottery manufacturing. The students of the school were local inhabitants. The students were admitted only under the condition that they had completed a four year education by then.
Under the influence of general Ukrainian tendencies of machine painting and geometric ornaments were being implemented.
The specificity of the school consists in the fact that unlike the previous schools it practiced political, social and cooperative upbringing, gave theoretical knowledge in specialty. The graduates of the school played a remarkable role in the creation of Opishne pottery image. They also became highly qualified pottery teachers in the following educational establishment – Opishne Craftsmen School of Artistic Ceramics (1936-1941). The main objective of the school – to prepare highly qualified potters, who were in great demand at that time, and to provide secondary education – was completely realized, as i6ts graduated contributed to the existence of Opishne pottery on industrial scale.
The establishment was founded due to tremendous efforts of the head of Artistic and Industrial Union Luka Cherednichenko. The school was subordinated to Kharkiv Regional Council of USSR (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic).
For the period of its functioning Opishne Craftsmen School of Artistic Ceramics has been headed by Yakiv Ivanovych Korytsky, Artem Savovych Kasha, Fedir Antonovych Riznyk, Oleksandr Petrovych Kyslomed. The main reason for that consisted in difficult historical conditions of the 1930s.
The teachers of the school were highly qualified potters with big experience, almost all of them were the graduates of Opishne Domestic Pottery Manufacturing School (1927-1932).
The students of the school were local inhabitants mostly, but a small percentage of the students was represented by people from other regions and cities of the USSR. The necessary condition for admittance was a preliminary 7-year education.
Among other Opishne schools this one was distinguished, firstly, by the level of organization, secondly, unlike other schools, where the workers for handicraft industry were prepared, this educational establishment was directed towards the preparation of the craftsmen of artistic ceramics, ready to work at a factory. The school favoured the appearance of new ceramists and preservation of national traditions of the local potters; it also favoured the spread of knowledge in other pottery centres of the USSR. The school brought some amendments to the classical style of Opishne earthenware decoration, which began to establish itself under the influence of the former educational establishments – it was the usage of painting. In our judgment it was, to a certain extent, the means of propaganda of contemporary political regime in the field of national culture support and cultivation.
When the school stopped functioning, as the World War II broke out, the tradition of pottery schooling in Opishne was interrupted. Ceramists and painters were taught, predominantly, at the plants “An Artistic Ceramist” and “The Red Craftsman”.
In the 1980s the question about the existence of a pottery educational establishment became urgent. It was the period of crisis caused by the fact that the group of the first-rate craftsmen, prepared by the previous school, gradually disappeared, and there was no one to replace them. As they put it in the contemporary periodicals, ‘Opishne stopped being bright, it became dull instead’. The question as for the foundation of Opishne department of Vocational School № 28 in Reshetylivka (1986-1999), which in our opinion was founded a bit too late, turned out to be very relevant and urgent.
The main objective for the foundation of this school was to make pottery very competitive. To a certain degree the department carried out the mission of supply of the village with young craftsmen, but the objective was not achieved.
The department was opened on the initiative of the director of Pottery Museum in Opishne, Oles’ Poshyvailo. It was subordinated to Vocational School № 28 in Reshetylivka.
The managers of the school performed the function of “a distant supervisor”. In reality, the department mostly was attached to the plant “An Artistic Ceramist”. Throughout the whole period of its functioning there wasn’t a concrete person who could be in charge of the staff activity. In fact, there was no director who could be interested in the effective work of the establishment. The assistant directors were the plant workers: Anatoli Ivanovych Koshelenko (1985-1991), Galyna Ivanivna Basenko (1991-1992), Liudmyla Andriivna Omelianenko (1992-1996), Mykola Ivanovych Sukon’ka (1996-1999). In our opinion one of the factors of ineffective activity was the fact that this vocational school was not properly managed.
The teachers on specialty in Opishne department of Vocational School № 28 in Reshetylivka were mostly the workers of the plant “An Artistic Ceramist”. The teachers of some theoretical subjects were those from local schools.
The pupils were represented by the talented youth from Ukraine and other republics of the USSR (for instance, Oleksandr Kara, Yuri Tulafly, Stanislav Tomait from Moldova).
This pottery school is noted for the fact that it was the first school after graduation of which one could pursue his/her education at a University or Institute. One more thing that makes it quite distinguished among the rest is that it sheltered the biggest number of students.
In the last years of formal functioning of the department, in the year 1997, The State Specialized Artistic Boarding School (Opishne Art College) was founded. It is still functioning. It was opened under the conditions of complete loss of pottery prestige, that’s why the main purpose of the college was to create the centre of artistic education and pottery promotion, preservation and cultivation of Opishne ceramics. More than a decennial experience of functioning of this unique Ukrainian educational establishment proves that there were a lot of difficulties to achieve the set objectives.
The college hasn’t become the centre of enlightment and ideology, which would strengthen national ideas.
The founder of the Art College was Poltava State Administration. The ideological leader and organizator of the college was the above-mentioned Oles’ Poshyvailo.
Since the year 1997 up to present days the establishment has been headed by different people: Liudmyla Mykolaivna Ovcharenko, Liudmyla Mykhailivna Panchenko, Svitlana Romanivna Pedchenko, Tetiana Mykolaivna Zinenko. At present the school is run by Liudmyla Mykolaivna Ovcharenko again. Unfortunately, none of the mentioned directors had specialized education.
All the teachers of the college teaching the subjects on specialty have pedagogical specialized education. Among the teachers on artistic disciplines there are those who conduct lessons without having specialized education.
The college is attended by local children mostly from the age of 6. The term of education lasts 11 years. The specificity of the college consists in the fact that pottery is taught during the whole period of studying.
In our opinion, the college has stopped in its progress, displaying no evidence of further development. Among the significant reasons, which entailed such a result, can be the following: the lack of modern equipment, technical aids, and theoretical basis. But the main reason is the lack of highly qualified specialists, deeply devoted to pottery creation, as love to creation and implantation of feeling to clay can be given only by those who are experts in their field. That is why it is necessary to search for the ways of drawing the nationally and professionally devoted teachers into this college and carry out a thorough selection of students.
The perspectives of the modern pottery educational establishment in Opishne, in our judgment, consist in the fact that it must be directed to teach not only practical skills, as the ability to produce an earthenware does not guarantee the further development both a personality and the trade itself, but it must also mould ceramic outlook. It’s very important to teach students to study and evaluate the current process in ceramics independently (for instance, to take his/her cue from a great variety of modern goods, to distinguish between real and cheap pseudo art, to infuse students with artistic perception of ceramics, emphasizing its ethnic aspects, which is the way to formation and preservation of ethnic traditions). Any modern artistic school must proclaim a certain “ceramic philosophy” which, in fact, is the very primary means of fostering in children a special feeling for creation of clay, which later on will lead to national artistic way of thinking. Without this philosophy, ceramic creativity as it is, will not exist in Ukraine. Pottery production traditions (the traditions of the centre, in which the educational establishment is functioning) are to be basic.
Extremely necessary and significant for the successful development of a pottery school is holding different symposia, festivals and conferences with the purpose not only to attract attention to the problems and achievements of the establishment, but also to share experience, to encourage students to work in the field of ceramics. Besides that, the educational establishment must be well-known in the country and very prestigious to attract talented youth from other regions of Ukraine.
Recapitalizing all the above-mentioned, we find it necessary to emphasize the following aspects:
• the foundation for the further development of the significant pottery schooling in Ukraine (Opishne) was laid at the end of the XIXth century;
• during more than a centennial period of functioning of different pottery educational establishments in Opishne, various organizational forms were experimented, which transformed under social, economical and political conditions;
• the experience of functioning of different educational establishments in Opishne favoured the creation of some traditions of Opishne pottery education, which are to be taken into consideration at present;
• as the historical experience proves, the productive functioning of any pottery school depends mostly on the experts working in it;
• due to Opishne pottery schools functioning, the pottery in Opishne did not lose its leading position under various social, economical and political conditions for more than a century;
• the effective functioning of schools in Opishne has always depended on the favour of authorities – the schools were supported as long as they were in need; the lack of authority initiative has been observed since the 1980s.
This factor is one of the main reasons for ineffective activity of artistic educational establishments in Ukraine.

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