The Kirov factory - ZAO Souvenir, according to our estimates is the single largest matryoshka factory in Russia with more than 160 employees. The city of Kirov (former name Vyatka) is located on the Vyatka river, a tributary of the Volga River. Kirov Oblast is known for its woodwork and wooden toy making due to the abundance of natural raw material (Birch and Linden) needed for producing high quality products.
The factory is located in the southern region of Kirov in the former village of Lugovaya Sloboda (слобода Луговые) and is now officially part of the city.
The factory has its own wood processing facilities, enabling it to work with the raw material from start to finished product. A process of curing is required before the wood can be worked on, which involves drying and chilling the logs. The logs are then stripped of bark and cut into squares, which are rounded on one end. These are either cured further or placed upon a large mechanical lathe for making the initial doll shaped 'blanks'.
The Kirov region is famous for its matryoshka encrusted straw designs. The straw needs to be dried and turned into flat strips, which is then cut into various shapes and sizes depending upon the required design. The shapes are then glued onto the dolls in a variety of geometric shapes and flowers.
Examples of old straw encrusted matryoshka produced by ZAO Souvenir
Traditional and Contemporary Designs
The production of matryoshka encompasses many aspects of traditional and contemporary designs. The standard production consists of over 300 varieties, yet has the capacity to produce commissioned designs according to customer specifications. This approach allows the factory to satisfy demand for traditional designs, whilst exploring new areas of potential market growth with unique contemporary pieces.
Our proud heritage of wooden craft making continues today with not only the production of matryoshka, but also with the production of chess sets and Russian lotto.