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Waterville Valley Decorative Arts Center Presents Russian Fairy Tale Painting

Waterville Valley Decorative Arts Center (WVDAC), located on the second level of Town Square, is presenting an exhibition and sale of over 300 lacquer miniature pieces of artwork from the village of Palekh, Russia.  For the past eighty years, this village has been best known for the exquisite icon-style miniature painting of fairy tale themes on papier mache boxes, jewelry and panels.  Tricia Joiner, owner of the  WVDAC and world renowned authority on the Palekh and Zhostovo styles of Russian decorative painting, has put most of her collection of Palekh artwork on exhibition.  A collection of this size is rarely seen outside of the village of Palekh in any gallery or museum.  In addition to the original work on papier mache, there is an exhibit of work that was done in a larger size on wooden surfaces for the training of American decorative artists in the techniques and reproductions of selected fairy tale scenes by the Palekh artists.

As the first American artist to be invited to study with the artists in Palekh and as a teacher of the Palekh-style painting with several of the master artists from the village, Joiner has spent twenty years accumulating the collection directly from the artists and is offering much of it for sale at prices well below typical gallery prices.  This is an exceptional opportunity to view or purchase the artwork from these extraordinary painters. 

Joiner has taught decorative painting for more than 35 years around the US and  in several foreign countries including England, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.  She has led groups of American artists to Russia and Palekh artists to the US.  She has written six books, numerous articles on decorative painting techniques and history and hundreds of instructional packets on the painting of Russia, Holland and Switzerland.  Joiner and her husband also authored Russian Tales and Legends, a collection of Russian fairy tales illustrated by Palekh artists.

The Palekh artwork is painted on a lacquered papier mache surface using egg tempera and 22K gold leaf to provide unique, exquisitely detailed images of scenes from Russian fairy tales, historical events and village life.  The figures are elongated and intentionally two dimensional reflecting the icon origins of the painting style.  Many of the scenes are only one or two inches in size.  Some pieces have four or five different scenes painted on them.  Among the four Russian villages best known for painting on lacquered papier mache boxes, Palekh is the only one that has a tradition that requires each item to have a unique design – there are no copies or repetition of designs done for sale by these artists. 

The Waterville Valley Decorative Arts Center and the Exhibition will be open 11-6 weekdays, 10-7 Saturdays and 10-5 on Sundays in July and August.  As a special celebration of the opening of the Exhibition, the WVDAC will hold an Open House from 10 am to 7 pm on June 30, July 4 and July 7.  Included in the Open House will be a free “Try it, you’ll like it” painting class of butterflies on a tile coaster from 1-3 pm followed by a Russian fairy tale reading and book signing from 3:30-4 pm.  The painting class is for ages 10 and up.

For more information, contact Tricia or Harry Joiner at triciald@aol.com or 603-236-4166.

Waterville Valley Decorative Arts Center

Town Square, 33 Village Road

Waterville Valley, NH 03215