Vologda Khokhloma

Azure painting on silver was invented in Vologda and is justly called 'Northern Khokhloma'

Azure Vologda Khokhloma
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Blue Khokhloma was born very recently. This style arose at the  'Nadezhda (Hope)' Art Association in Vologda, a city and the administrative and  cultural center of Vologda Oblast of Russia, located on the Vologda River within the watershed of the Northern Dvina.

Bowl with bog blueberry
pinterest button Bowl with bog blueberry Russian Handicrafts Guide, CC BY-SA 3.0

Nadezhda association was established in 1976, and deals with all the basic styles of painting of the Russian North.

Nadezhda artists managed to study and revive the old traditions of Boretskaya, Sheksninskaya (gilded) and Mezen styles of painting, as well as Khokhloma painting on wood.

Bird's head
pinterest button Bird's head Russian Handicrafts Guide, CC BY-SA 3.0

Keeping the old they were looking for new styles. Once, there was an idea to try to paint on a silver background. It turned out beautifully. But at that times it was not easy to prove to numerous art councils that it was not a deviation from traditions, but a search for a new style based on the old.


Traditional Khokhloma painting is done as follows. On the prepared wooden workpiece they put a special layer called  in Russian 'ludka' (tinning), which, because of the tin powder content, has a silvery color.

Berries on silver
pinterest button Berries on silver Russian Handicrafts Guide, CC BY-SA 3.0

Then, 'ludka' is covered with drying oil (with linseed oil) and is placed in an oven. There, under the influence of high temperatures, drying oil is caking with 'ludka' and the background turns into gold.

pinterest button Saltcellar Russian Handicrafts Guide, CC BY-SA 3.0

In Nadezhda they did not cover 'ludka' with drying oil. They began to paint straight on the silver. It turned out very original, and, as for north, cold.

Modest flowers are intertwined with bizarre grasses, as in traditional Khokhloma, but, we see, among them scattered real northern berries: blueberries, bog blueberry and cranberries.

Where to Buy?

You may see and purchase Azure Vologda Khokhloma in the 'Russian Crafts' online store.

Useful Information

Vologda Khokhloma
Azure Khokhloma
Blue Khokhloma
Russian: Волого́дская хохлома́

Online store 

You may see and purchase Azure Vologda Khokhloma in the online store 'Russian Crafts'.

Distinguish from fakes

Forging Vologda Khokhloma is almost impossible.

Firstly, in order for the products to serve as a genuine cookware, special furnaces are needed. Although the product is not 'golden', it has to be dried in ovens.

Secondly, this kind of painting requires really artistic mastery.

Thirdly, the products are normally delivered with Association Nadezhda certificate, which, as a rule, is glued to the bottom of the product. It has all the information: the article, date, name and manufacturer.


In the style of the Vologda Khokhloma, the most varied wooden utensils are painted. These are dishes, trays, panels, cups, barrals, saltcellars, sugar bowls, spoons, mugs and much more.