How did this adventure begin?
In 1985, I went to a folk costume exhibition at the History Museum in Moscow, and the subject immediately sparked a huge interest. I started reading, participating in folk ensembles, and at some point, I saw an advertisement for a gold embroidery course at the Decorative Art Museum, and I enrolled!
What was your first piece of gold embroidery?
My friends brought me a fabulous historic Belgorod region wedding dress, and to complete the look I needed an embroidered headdress, Soroka style. I could not afford to order one, so I tried to make one myself, using an old photograph as an inspiration.
Dmitry Ternovoy © Michelangelo Foundation
What appeals about this craft?
With gold embroidery, I can roll back centuries and connect with the rich history of Russia. I really enjoy these explorations. I create replicas of historical headwear from different Russian regions, from Moscow to Arkhangelsk to Belgorod. The immense diversity is very inspiring.
What advice would you give to a young person wanting to do this work?
It is beautiful but hard work. I work for three hours a day, rarely more, since this craft demands such concentration, painstaking precision and manual effort. Reviving a long-lost tradition is like filling a huge void, making something that once flourished blossom once again. It feels fantastic.