*The rushnyk shown in the photo is a MODERN work made in the tradition of the Obukhiv "stitched" rushnyk and is not a traditional example.

Project "GNIZDO x Obukhiv rushnyk"

The goal of the project is to introduce, modernize and popularize one of the most interesting types of Ukrainian rushnyks among a wider audience, draw attention to the uniqueness of this type of ceremonial textile, get to know the craftsmen and their works, digitize modern examples.
The starting impulse for our project was getting to know the representatives of the NGO "Union of Masters "Creative Heritage" and their inspired work over many years on the popularization of the Obukhiv "stitched" rushnyk.
We decided to tell what is unique, to show the traditions of embroidery and the work of talented craftsmen who continue to study and preserve this art form.

Traditional Obukhiv rushnyk

Obukhiv rushnyk

It is kept in the Obukhiv Yury Domotenko Museum of Local Lore 

Features of the ornament

The main symbol of Ukrainian embroidery is the basis of the ornament of the Obukhiv towel - the Tree of Life (Tree of Family), which grows from a flower pot - a vase.

It is depicted as a lush flowering plant with generalized flowers-leaves of large size, which have rounded or elongated wavy shapes.


The Tree of Life on the Obukhiv "stitched" towel has several tiers of flowers-leaves.
The lower tier is inclined downwards, the following ones stretch upwards. There is a flower in the middle of the trunk.

Above, the Tree of Life is decorated with a large King flower. It is found in the form of a lily, a flower with petals, it can be round or oval.

There are not many small details. These are mainly "seeds" and "leaves", which fill the space between large flower-leaves.


  The Obukhov Tree of Life rests with a vase on a base, which is always separated from the main composition by a thin infinity. The entire perimeter of the towel is surrounded by a similar infinity. Elements of the ornament, which are placed at the base of the towel, are not repeated in the main composition.

The compositions of the opposite ends of the rushnyk are connected by broken branches.
There may be a combination of broken branches with large evergreens. It should be noted that the distance between the paths of broken branches and large infinites is small.

The background of the rushnyk is completely covered with embroidery. This applies both to the central part, where you will embroider the Tree of Life, and to the field on which the connecting lines (broken branches and infinity) are embroidered.

On individual rushnyk, there are birds located in pairs to the left and right of the trunk and with their heads turned to each other. Pairs of birds can be in any part of the Tree.
The width of the rushnyk is decorated with three or five tassels.

Features of embroidery

The name "sewn" rushnyk was introduced into scientific circulation by Ivan HONCHAR.
Probably, Obukhiv rushnyks are called "stitched" because they are made with expressive relief embroidery that tightly covers the fabric and creates the impression of a completely sewn fabric.

The creation process has three main stages:

1 – drawing the contours of the ornament on the canvas using a marker on the fabric (or in another way);
2 – tracing the contours of the ornament with a thread (“forward needle” seam);
3 – filling the circled elements of the ornament with rushnyk seams.

  At the request of the master, the execution order can be changed: first, the element of the ornament is filled with towel seams, only then the contour is traced with a thread.

Elements of the ornament filled with rushnyk seams are called fillings.

On the Obukhiv rushnyk, large fillings are mostly sewn with smooth rollers (rollers), which alternate with other double-sided rushnyk seams. Small elements are filled with smoothness along the contour.

The smooth roller (rocker) is a solid line, 5 mm to 20 mm thick, which is made with a straight,
double-sided smooth and covers the fabric with embroidery thread on both sides. Within the limits of one filling, the surface rollers are located parallel to each other. In addition to the decorative function, they perform the function of "hiding" for the tips of embroidery threads.


Rushnyk seams, which fill the filling space between the smooth rollers, are made by combined combinations of double-sided seams so that the front and back of the rushnyk filling reproduce the pattern. For this, embroidery techniques are used: "forward needle", straight two-sided stitch, oblique two-sided stitch, contour stitch, counting stitch, double-sided stitch, double-sided cross.

Obukhiv "stitched" rushnyk is embroidered with twisted red woolen or cotton threads. Other colors are sometimes added, viz., blue, green, ochre, etc.

We have the great honor to present to you the works of modern craftsmen, which are created in the traditions of the Obukhiv "stitched" rushnyk.
All craftswomen constantly participate in exhibitions of masters of folk art and national-level exhibitions, demonstrating their rushnyks not only in Ukraine, but also abroad, including in Bulgaria and Turkey. They are also participants in the "Best Work of the Year" exhibitions of the National Union of Folk Art Masters of Ukraine.
In this way, you will be able to support craftsmen who continue the ancient craft and become the owner of part of the cultural heritage.
All works are completely unique, in a single copy, made by hand.
It takes 6 months of work for a craftswoman to make one rushnyk.

All descriptions and information are provided directly by the craftsmen and remain unchanged.

Please note that all photos and videos taken within the project are images of MODERN works made in the tradition of the Obukhiv "stitched" rushnyk and are not examples of a completely traditional rushnyk.

Rushnyk "Svarga Rodu Nebesnogo"

A charm to protect the family and well-being

Factory linen fabric, cotton twisted threads, double-sided towel seams
Size: 294 x 46 cm
Price: 450$


Nadia POLISHCHUK, member of the Union of Masters
folk art of Ukraine


Fantasy Rushnyk in the style of Obukhivskyi

Factory linen fabric, cotton twisted threads,
double-sided rushnyk seams
Size: 220 x 35 cm
Price: 370$


Ms. Iryna embroidered this rushnyk in the year her grandson was born. She repeated the ornament itself from an ancient rushnyk from another region, but made the filling of the elements close to the Obukhov tradition.

Iryna Onishchuk, member of the Union of Masters of Folk Art of Ukraine, 2016


"Geometry of the Universe" Rushnyk

A charm of family well-being, prosperity and harmony

Factory linen fabric, cotton twisted threads, double-sided towel seams
Size: 240 x 35 cm
Price: 425$


Veronika Polishchuk


Rushnyk "God's Blessing"

A charm for a happy fate, for health and the joy of being

Factory linen fabric, cotton twisted threads, double-sided towel seams
Size: 302 x 47 cm
Price: 500$


Nadia Polishchuk, member of the Union of Masters of Folk Art of Ukraine


All rights reserved. Any use of elements or the entire photo, video, text is prohibited by copyright without agreement with the authors.
All the works shown in the photo are modern and made in the tradition of the Obukhiv Rushnyk.
All descriptions of the works were provided by the craftsmen and used without changes. All descriptions about the tradition of the rushnyk were provided by members of the Association of Masters "Creative Heritage" NGO and have been left unchanged.
The project is not of a commercial nature, all the indicated prices are direct from the craftsmen and will be transferred to them in full.
Obukhiv Rushnyk in Instagram - obukhivskiishitii
Photographer: Mari Gubachova

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