Bird of Happiness

At this year’s bumper December Makers Market with more than forty amazingly varied stalls, we are pleased to give you the wonderful opportunity to meet Anatole Ageev of ‘Bird of Happiness’ a traditional Russian woodcarver!

He began woodcarving at age 6, taught by his father, an engineer, to make small wooden gift boxes and simple toys, and this led to a lifetime love of working with wood. Woodcarving is a very old tradition in his home village of Novocherkask in the North Caucasus, not far from the Black Sea, where the people walk into the mountains to collect branches to take home for carving.

Anatole has travelled widely learning from many styles and cultures to become a real master craftsman. He has trained in French Baroque style and makes very ornate frames for pictures and mirrors, some even with gold leaf, on commission for many customers in France, Germany and Russia. His travels also took him to Asia, learning wood sculpture techniques in Cambodia where he made masks and Buddha’s.

However at Fakenham Makers Market he is selling something very close to his heart – intricately carved wooden birds that you suspend from the ceiling to bring good fortune and well being to your home. This tradition, dating back to the 16th century is from the Arkhangelsk region in Northern Russia, famous for all its carved wooden houses and churches. Legend tells of a woodcutter whose son fell very ill in midwinter and none of the doctors could cure him, and then one more doctor arrived and said that he would be well again when the birds came back in the spring. As it was many months to wait until the spring the woodcutter heard this, and decided to make carved birds and hang them from the ceiling above the boy’s sickbed, and miraculously he was cured!

Santa will also be attending the bumper Christmas Fakenham Makers Market which takes place on Saturday 9 December at Fakenham Parish Church. It is open between 10am – 2pm with a large range of makers, crafters and artists. Great for finding some really original cards and presents, the markets also offers delicious cakes and light lunches, as well as live music to enjoy. More information on the market can be found at www.fakenhammakersmarket.co.uk.