At two master classes conducted on July 16 and July 17 in the village of Tsevlo in Polistovsky Reserve, local residents learned how to make soap under the guidance of Elena Shirinova from Moscow and shared experience in spinning with hand spindles and spinning wheels.
The lessons were organized with support from the FLEG II Program, under which the Bezhanitsky and Loknyansky raions of Pskov Oblast have become pilot sites to engage local citizens into ecotourism development as the alternative way of forest resources use for the sake of local economic growth.
Yulia Orlova, a master class instructor and Program partner, said: “The process of the transformation of initial raw materials is incredible.” And this is indeed so – it is surprising to see how a set of ingredients, such as alkali, oils and herb water, turn into soap; and while concocting the mixture one can feel almost as an alchemist. It goes without saying, that handmade soap does not contain any harmful artificial additives and fragrances and that the natural oils and herbs provide a skin softening and moisturizing effect. Many participants in the master class have become interested in soap production and are planning to go into this trade.
If while showing the audience how to make soap, Elena Shirinova had to provide theoretical explanations and demonstrate each step of the process, the situation at the spinning class turned out to be somewhat different. Since many villagers still own spinning wheels and some even use them, the session was more like an experience sharing seminar. Instructors Elena Shirinova and Yulia Orlova brought spindles and wool and some attendees brought spinning wheels, one of which was taken from the local lore museum. Elena demonstrated different kinds of spindles – Russian, Italian and Turkish – and described various spinning techniques.
Both master classes took place in a welcoming and lively atmosphere. The administration of Polistovsky Reserve expressed its appreciation to the sponsors and participants in these events and is looking forward to future effective cooperation.