It is a well-known fact that Russia is a multinational country. So is St Petersburg – a city with more than 200 national associations. To learn more about the various people living in the city the local authorities organized an open-air fair called “World Crafts at Baron Stieglitz’s.” The aim of organizers was not only to show the wide range of handicrafts but to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Baron Alexander Stieglitz. His name is nearly forgotten among the younger generation of citizens although he played an instrumental role in the art life of 19th-century St Petersburg.
A business man and a banker he always had passion for art. That’s why in 1876 he financed the creation of The School of Technical Drawing. Students were taught drawing, carving, and embossing. The school together with the art museum opened later by Stieglitz still exist and are considered one of the main centers for art in St Petersburg. The anniversary celebration was pure self-action from a group of architects and artists not indifferent to the destiny of Stieglitz’s heritage.
The fair assembled nearly 40 masters from such countries as Latvia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Russia. During the festival you could not only see and buy pieces of art but try your hand in creating a khokhloma painting cup, for example. Hand weaving, bead embroidery or braiding – the crafts represented by masters from St Petersburg gained a great success among the women visiting the fair.
For youngsters there were workshops in ebru – traditional Turkish art, which is similar to painting on water. And, of course, a special competition for families was prepared by the organizers. Families were invited to show their hobbies to the public and one even won the main prize – a family trip! During the whole celebration different musicians and dancers were entertaining the public – from Scottish dances to Russian ballet. The fair lasted for two days – the 13th and the 14th of September – with an award ceremony for the participants of the festival at the end of the second day.