Hello. My name is Maria and I'm 31 years old. I have lived my entire life in Moscow, Russia, but recently moved to Muscat, Oman!
For five years I developed my own approach to woodcarving while studying under Shamil Sasykov, Master Woodcarver, creator of the "Tatyanka" woodcarving technique, and founder of the "Tatyanka" International Woodcarving Center in Moscow.
However, although I still adore woodcarving and creating custom-order artwork, I have been shifting more toward creative exploration in contemporary art using more modern materials with connection to wood. I am truly passionate about experimenting with different materials and am always searching for the best way to express my own thoughts and engage with the topics that speak to my soul, among them the duality of life, collaboration with other artists, loss and grief.
Exhibitions and publications
The tools of my trade are my chisels, my hands and the inspiration I get from all around me.
Each of my pieces is hand-carved from blocks of solid wood. Using only my chisels, I whittle down each block to the needed size and shape.
The chisels I use are produced by the Tatyanka Woodcarving Center in Moscow. They are specially designed for working with soft woods. One of the distinctive features of working with soft woods is the absence of mallets or hammers. Because I use only the strength of my own hands I am able to carve incredibly detailed and precise designs and ornamentation.
The "Tatyanka" technique
As briefly mentioned, the "Tatyanka" artistic woodcarving style and technique was developed by Master Woodcarver Shamil Sasykov in the 1970s and 1980s. In December 1990 it was recognized and officially trademarked as a unique woodcarving style and technique in the former Soviet Union.
At its foundation, "Tatyanka" is a technique for carving natural plant and floral ornamentation. The technique's versatility allows such ornamentation to be the base of a limitless variety of different artistic pieces, from jewelry boxes, to picture frames, to wall clocks, and beyond.
Probably the most attractive aspect of the "Tatyanka" style, however, is its closeness to nature; to natural beauty. The woodcarver who uses "Tatyanka" is drawn, by necessity, into a close examination of and association with natural plant life. Here woodcarving blends with the emotional-perceptive sphere. By studying the intricate details of every leaf, bud and blossom, the artist learns to approach nature differently; to dig down to a plant's very essence and connect with it in new and sometimes surprising ways.
The plants that I work with have individual associations that bring out specific emotions. For me, grape leaves embody a unique strength and energy, while violets possess a melancholy of sorts. Sketching the peddles of a rose, I am reminded in a strange way of the human heart. It is this connection to nature and to the natural wood that is central to my work.
From March to July 2021, I participated in a volunteer project painting the walls of the children’s wing in the N.N. Blokhin National Cancer Research Center. At first I participated as an assistant to the main artist working on the project, but later I was promoted and my responsibilities included planning, designing and painting the walls. I was really happy to be part of this project, because I think it's really important to be involved into local community and help the world through art.