Growing up in Russia, I spent most of my spare time drawing. So, naturally, my parents thought it was a good idea to send me to an Art School. It was my mum who convinced me to give it a go as "that could lead me to an interesting career in the future". I was 11 at the time. I thought of all the potential jobs I could do in the future if I went to that Art School. I decided that, perhaps, I could work in a toy factory and draw pretty dolls faces. I thought many of the dolls I had could have been a lot prettier, so I could make a real difference there! And with that motivation I enrolled on the course.
Barnaul Art School was where I first learnt about Russian Crafts heritage. We learnt about Khokhloma, Dymkovo clay toys, Gorodetsky painting, Zhostovo and other crafts. We practiced those painting styles too. Aged 11-13 we didn't take those lessons seriously as our main subjects were Drawing and Painting. But I still remember our Crafts teacher telling us one time when we were messing about: "You never know, you might need it in the future". We didn't take much notice as we thought all those traditional crafts were a thing of the past. None of us really thought we could apply those skills in the future. At the time I had no idea I could ever become a Surface Pattern Designer, I didn't know that career path even existed!
Yet I remembered those words many years later when trying to enter a career in Interior Design, I ended up working for a global flooring manufacturer as a Surface Pattern Designer. It was a lucky accident that pointed me in the right direction. I learnt to work with pattern repeats and colourways, learnt about trends and how the industry worked. Always wondering how none of those beautiful Russian folk patterns had not been applied to homeware products. And that is how the idea of creating own brand dedicated to Russian craft heritage was born. And that's when I remembered my old Craft teacher. And strangely enough I came across her picture once while doing some search about Khokhloma history. The sign!
Olenka started off with a few wallpaper designs though I'm currently working on new designs and also plan to add textiles to our range. Watch this space!
Olenka is a UK based design studio and online store specialising in exclusive floral patterns for wallpaper. Our mission is to create distinctive and stylish designs that embody traditional Russian folk art with