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Tetyana Protcheva, a master embroider from Kyiv


In the Ukrainian pavilion at the Expo-2005 World Exposition that was held in Japan, among the exhibits displayed were works of marvellous embroidery made by the Ukrainian embroiderer Tetyana Protcheva.


Tetyana Protcheva from Kyiv is indeed a master embroiderer. In Japan she showed, among other things, embroidered representations of netsuke (netsuke is a small figurine, an ornamental togglelike piece, usually of carved ivory, used to attach a medicine box, pipe, or tobacco pouch to the sash of a Japanese mans traditional dress; after the netsuke became obsolete, they are looked upon as collectors items). The embroiderer used threads of 15 colours and shades of colour to depict wonderful creations of traditional Japanese decorative art in her embroideries. This coming together of two cultures, so different and yet seeking common ground, impressed many a visitor to the Ukrainian pavilion. Alongside the embroidered netsuke, the visitors could see the embroidered coat of arms of Ukraine, a remarkable achievement of the art of embroidery too.

Protchevas embroidered neckties, designed both for men and women, were admired and marvelled at as well. The embroiderer managed to combine in her embroidered neckties the trends of fashion of today and age-old traditional motifs. She, for example, used some patterns and ornaments that have been discovered on the pottery, unearthed in archaeological excavations in Ukraine, which dates from about fourth millennium BC. Some of the ancient Japanese earthenware carry very similar patterns and ornaments, and this similarity could not fail to be noticed.

Embroidered pouches were traditionally used in Ukraine in the old times as oberehy, that is as a sort of protective talismans or charms; they were stuffed with fragrant dry grasses and were believed to protect against illness or misfortune. The embroidered patterns had symbolical meanings that gave the oberehy their protective power.

Interestingly enough, traditional Japanese culture also knows similar protective talismans and the embroidery on them also played its symbolic role. No wonder those visitors who discovered such similarities were duly impressed.

Tetyana Protchevas collection of embroideries includes many unusual and rare pieces. She studied all styles of Ukrainian embroidery and borrowed a lot from them for her own work. She has developed the art and technique of embroidery to new heights. Also, she adjusts some traditional styles of decorative and folk painting to her embroideries, transforming them into imaginative and ingenious creations of embroidery. The artist uses threads of various colours and old and new techniques to achieve astounding results. Her creations are admired both by the art critics and by all those who care for the beauty.

Tetyana Protcheva often exhibits her works. Among recent exhibitions of her art the ones in the Expo Centre of Ukraine, at the University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, at the Museum of Pavlo Tychyna, at the British Council in Kyiv and at Ukraines Embassy in the USA should be mentioned. Her works grace the persons and apartments of Ukrainian politicians and successful business people.

The artist says that Ukrainian embroidery is a cultural phenomenon that should be better known in the world  it will add prestige to Ukraine as a country of ancient and rich culture.

Tetyana Protcheva began doing embroideries quite some time ago, but initially it was hardly more than a hobby. With time, this hobby grew into a full-time occupation. Her husband and her son provide all the family encouragement any artist would be happy to have.

She is planning to set up an embroidery studio for teaching the art of embroidery.


Symbolic meaning of some of the images used in traditional Ukrainian embroidery:

Image of the Berehynya (Mother Protectress)  symbol of protective forces of nature, of eternal regeneration and harmony;

Oak  a sacred tree, symbol of the male energy, of development and of life in general;

Guelder rose  symbol of the Ukrainian nation;

Rose  symbol of the Universe;

Grapevine  symbol of the joy of forming a family;

Peacock  symbol of family happiness;

Bird  symbol of the human soul.


Based on an article provided


Photos are from

Tetyana PROTCHEVAs archive


Halya Carrying Water. Embroidery. 40 x 50 cm.


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