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"This land is a real paradise": a Kherson resident moved to Vynogradiv region and began to create bizarre products (PHOTOS)

29.02.2024 21:28 Society

A woman in Zakarpattia found refuge and even love and decided to "put down roots here".

A woman in Zakarpattia found refuge and even love and decided to

For more than a year, the artist Yana Khorunzha has been living in Transcarpathia. The woman chose a cozy corner for herself – not far from Vynogradiv. She moved here from Kherson in the first days of the war. At first, she dreamed of returning home, but later she changed her mind, because she created a new family here. He says that this region is a real paradise for creative people.

Yana is an illustrator by profession, she was engaged in the creation of images for books. She worked online, the office was located in Kharkiv. Now she has lost her job, but she has repurposed, retained her enthusiasm and creative vision of the world, so she plunged headlong into a new hobby - creating unique products from tree roots and various driftwood. So how did the Kherson woman settle down in Transcarpathia, how did she come up with the idea of doing a not quite feminine business - wood processing and what are her plans for the future? The artist told about this to the "Carpathian Lens".

After school, she studied to be a carpenter

Yana Khorunzhyi is 45 years old. She has an adult daughter who is currently studying in England. Widowed at 32, her husband died of a heart attack. Since then, I have never thought about a new relationship, but I still found a new love... in a completely unexpected place.

"When the war started, I decided to flee to Zakarpattia from constant shelling.  This region was chosen because it is the closest to the EU countries. I thought that if something happened, I would go further... But she stayed and "put down roots"... I have never been to the Carpathians before. So I had a culture shock! Europe is everywhere here! Even local time is Central European! She immediately rented a house for herself, she has never lived in social hostels. At that time, I was still working at my previous place of work and could afford not to save on myself. Then the publishing house was closed. I was stressed, depressed, then I started trying in vain to look for something new... And then I pulled myself together and mastered a new profession. Currently, I am engaged in 3D interior planning. This is the main job. I also work with various companies in an online format. But I also have a hobby – artistic work with wood. Once, in my early youth, I studied to be a carpenter. I didn't work in my specialty, because then I refocused on the art direction, but the knowledge remained. We met Petro by chance. He volunteered and brought food to people like me. He was not taken to the war due to health problems, so he decided to be useful to internally displaced persons. At first, to be honest, he annoyed me, because he persistently offered potatoes or flour, and I could buy all this myself and send it to others. He was offended, but he still left gifts. Then one day I decided to invite him to tea. It turned out that Transcarpathians do not invite people for tea, only for coffee and coffee. I didn't know that. So Petro began to adapt me to the realities of Zakarpattia. Our meetings later became regular and eventually we started dating," the woman said.

Petro Soima turned out to be not just a wonderful person, but also a good connoisseur of tourist routes. So one day, the couple went to the forest to rest.

"We had known each other for about three months. Petro didn't talk much about himself, but at one point I wondered who he was, why he was alone, and whether he ever had a family. And he didn't really ask me about himself... For a kind of mutual confession, we got out into nature. Then I found out that he is 6 years older than me, has a son who lives in the Czech Republic with his ex-wife, whom he divorced a long time ago. Wandering among the trees, I came across one interesting driftwood. I said I would take it and try to make something out of it. Then I found out that my lover was an electrician and he offered to make a lamp out of her. He also has a developed creative vision of the objects that surround us. That's how our love with him began, not only but also our cooperation," Ms. Yana admitted.

No two products are the same

From the roots of trees and old driftwood, which the artist finds by the river, in the forest or anywhere in nature, she creates not only lamps, but also tables, interesting décor elements, candlesticks, picture frames and much more...

"In my opinion, the roots of plants are the circulatory system of the earth. They are special and really inspiring. It's good that I know how to work with wood, I know its structure and properties. The best are the roots found near bodies of water. They are smooth, shorter than forest ones. Most of all I like to work with alder, oak, spruce, ash, poplar, acacia. The roots just fascinate me. I look at them and already see what can be made of them!" the woman admits.

Yana Khorunzhyi's products are really impressive, because they are interesting and suitable for any interior. As for the time spent on their production, he says, it can be different: one works for several hours, and on the other it takes several weeks.

"Some driftwood is almost a finished product, and some need to be worked on for a week or two, a month to bring it into proper condition. And this is not only grinding and varnishing, but also shaping, and thinking through where different darts will pass, and creating holes for them, and much more. It's good that Petro and I are a very good tandem. Sometimes I work on my own, when I turn the spine into, say, a flower stand. However, the man will take a look at it later and still add something of his own... candles, for example, or solar-powered eye lamps. We made the table and benches for the gazebo together. It turned out very nice! My largest product is a lamp with a height of 1.80 meters, the smallest is a floor lamp with a height of 25 centimeters. Most of all, I like to work with candlesticks. And my husband and I are both romantics and we like to spend evenings by candlelight," Ms. Yana emphasizes.

Among her products are many exclusive picture frames (in her free time, the woman also draws), and for mirrors, and feeders, and clocks, and fruit plates. 

"I don't sell works," the craftswoman admits. "I make some things for myself, some I give to my friends. For example, if someone held a charity auction and raised money for a good cause, I would even put up several products for sale as separate lots. And I'm not a businessman! Our neighbors, and now I live at Peter's, took lamps as gifts for Czechs, Hungarians, Slovaks, Romanians, and Germans. So now I am proud that I also have my "autograph" in Europe. I don't have two identical things, because each spine is different, so if I ask for a thing to be repeated, I immediately answer that it's unrealistic!"

In her work, a woman does not look for ideas either on the Internet or in magazines, inspiration comes to her spontaneously. The moment he sees the spine. 

"When I look at the root, I already see what can be made from it and what can't. But in everyone, absolutely in everyone, you can breathe life! The only exception is if the material is rotten, then it is simply not worth picking up. I rarely make sketches before getting down to business, most of all my things are impromptu. In addition, it is immediately clear what material is suitable for decorating a yard or garden, and what is suitable specifically for the house," says Yana Khorunzha.

The woman also has many plans for the future, and all of them are related to Transcarpathia and creativity.

"Since I found a mate here, I want to learn more about interesting places and people's customs. Little by little, I speak the local dialect, I know how to cook some Transcarpathian dishes, but I have not yet explored a lot of things. I really like this area, these forests and rivers, these people. Although she lived by the sea, she loved the mountains with all her heart. As for creativity, I want to get acquainted with more Transcarpathian artists, go to plein airs with them, paint more. I also dream of learning how to weave baskets from vines. Once I visited Iza in Khust district and these masters just fascinated me. In addition, I would like my daughter to stay with us, because she missed her very much! Moreover, Petro has already introduced me to my son and I have even made friends with him. I don't have any special expectations from life, but I want to spend the remaining time on earth for the benefit of both myself and people!" she assured.

Author: Marina Aldon

Read also: Found refuge in Vynogradiv region: an IDP from Kharkiv creates incredible masterpieces (PHOTOS)

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