Russian Academy of Crafts was founded in 2006, when Nickolay Matvienko published the announcement about classes on the design, cleaning chimneys, construction of fireplaces and stoves, working with metal in his book "New Russian Style». At that moment he had not had the idea of establishment the school yet. «There were just several classes and visitors were not supposed to be well prepared for them», - remembers Nickolay Matvienko the chancellor of Russian Academy of Crafts - «But in the end the visitors wanted to study the subjects more deeply, to get the certificates and to be licensed to continue working in this area». Then the idea of establishment the institute came to his mind. At that time, there were schools, where workers and artisans were taught. But many schools for artisans had been closed in Russia. The reason for that was the decline of prestige of manual labor and craftsmanship, due to negative state television and radio commercials. There was shortage of training the manual labor and workmanship.
Getting into a master program in grafts was not difficult.
It took several years to establish the Academy. To register it as the institution, educational programmes had to be created and coordinated with Moscow Department of Education and then it was needed to obtain a license. It was necessary to choose qualified teachers, trainers and establish relations with federal educational institutions.
In November 2008, the first group of students was formed – masonry masters. The group consisted of 12 people. They had studies four times a week in the evening from 18.00 to 21.00. The room was small.
But founders were happy to start the educational process. Then they decided that the birthday of the Academy would be celebrated annually on the 25th of December on day when everything started. In January 2009, the group gained diplomas of the Russian School of the Masters. During 2009 they trained students of the Russian School of the Masters. Graduates got the diploma signed by Leonid Koshelev - the President of the Moscow Chamber of Crafts.
The registration of the Academy took place in 2010, it began to develop and new courses for gunsmiths, restorers, jewelers appeared. Then it expanded its media and started offering innovative classes.
The main advantage of training at the Academy is the group of teachers. Also it is worth to mention that its courses are unique.
Union of Blacksmiths of Russia, stove-makers Guild of Russia, Guild of jewelers, Architects Union and Designers Union, the Chamber of Crafts and Chamber of Russian weapons - all of them sent their best masters to teach at the Academy of Arts and Crafts. Russian Academy of Crafts quickly filled with highly qualified teachers. Semenov Oleg, Baranov Yuri, Danilin Alexander, Lyakhov Vladimir, Rozenshtock Michael, Prosvirina Eugene - these are the best of the best teachers and artists nowadays and they work at the Academy.
From January to December 2010, the Russian Academy of Crafts trainees prepared: potters, blacksmiths art forging, blacksmiths - gunsmiths, furniture restorers, jewelers graduates; However, in 2012 the Russian Academy of Crafts established new courses of arts, crafts and handicraft:
- Estimate work of restoration;
- Decorative textured plaster (Venetian plaster);
- Historical reconstruction;
- Artistic stained-glass windows;
- Roofer roofing steel;
- Glass blowers.
The Academy participates in many art and craft exhibitions, receives certificates and diplomas. Arts Foundation of student`s creations is regularly filled with new extraordinary works. Students come from the Stroganov School of Architecture and Glazunov Academy and other schools and colleges, to improve their skills. In a short time the listener gets the necessary knowledge and skills. Here there are no limits for fantasy and inspiration. There is everything you need in academy`s workshops.
If we ask the audience what had made them to come, we get one answer: to become stove maker, gunsmith, a jeweler, a restorer was a childhood dream. After three months of theory and 1 month of practice the student learns, acquires the necessary skills. The low price is not the only advantage - courses cost less than the stove-maker, gunsmith, restorer services, moreover just a person can as accurately as possible implement his or her own idea.
Many students do not stop at short-term courses and then come back to the Academy for further trainings, - says Nickolay Matvienko.
In 2013 - 2015 new specialties appeared at the Academy:
Estimator in restoration;
Restorer civil construction;
Welder collector on the jig;
Stoker household stoves on solid fuel;
Artistic stained glass windows;
We do not have discrimination of age and gender. We teach people from 18 to 65 years. There are many nationalities: Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Chechens, Arabs, Serbs, Slovaks. Girls study in all our groups. Despite the fact that a blacksmith or a stove maker are not female professions, there are a lot of women in our groups. Here is what one of the students stove-makers, Dubinina Oksana says: «Before I decided to study for courses Make Stoves, I had phoned the Moscow firms and stove-makers with a request to build me two ovens and a fireplace. But when they announced the price, I got discouraged and despair: the sum of half a million rubles, I could not afford, and I calculated and decided that It would be more profitable to go in-depth course stove-maker for fifty-five thousand rubles. Knowledge I have got here is quite enough. So, designed it on my own . The teachers help me. This summer, I will start to build ovens with my brother and nephew . Naturally, it is cheaper than hiring an unknown master "puddle-solder-put" and pay for an unknown result. Economical benefits are obvious.”
Despite the course of stove making, Russian Academy of Crafts provides the opportunity of retraining the specialists with high education. There are various courses: «Blacksmith», «Blacksmith-Armorer», «Restorer of antique furniture», «Jeweller designer», «Bathhouse attendant», «Sculptor - pattern maker» and other rare handicraft professions. Against the backdrop of crisis retraining and career-guidance of population are basic premises for the social stability and satisfaction of demand at the labour market and among citizens who need services and wares in handicraft area.
Our academy always develops and expands. At the beginning of 2013 manufactories appeared. Here jewelers, blacksmiths, armorers, stove makers, glass-artists, plasterers do practice.
It is also a place of science work. Currently Matvienko Nickolay and Latkov Vladimir are on their way of science degree. Publishing and writing students books are a part of our work. At the beginning of 2012 the first warden of THOM faculty - Navrotskiy Alexander wrote the book «Forging and casting», in the same year the students book «Technology of stove making» for professional education by Nickolay Matvienko was published.
The research border of the Academy developed and confirmed the industry educational standard «Blacksmith of decorative ironwork».
Furthermore the Academy started to develop the new one «Chimney pipes for bathhouse stoves». Graduates have started uncommercial partnership «The union of stoves and bathhouses specialists». Some of our students opened their own workshops and run the business successfully.
Against the backdrop of crisis the Academy gives a chance to young men and women to get a new profession, which can become a new source of prosperity and business of they life.
After finishing theoretical course our students are given the chance to try themselves in Moscow companies. Many of students get the job after finishing practice. «Further development and career of our graduates are very important for us» - says Nickolay Matvienko - «There is a survey which shows the success of our graduates. According the statistics 30 percent of the craftsmen continue working at the place they have had their practice, 20 percent apply on their own, the biggest part are self-employed. To my mind the results are great. In order to apply easily, there is a special course of art-management. The participants play their roles of employers and employes, sell and buy items. It helps them to be quite good at prices and present themselves at labour market».
«The reason of success is annual advanced training of our teachers. Upon entry into employment, new employes are asked to prove their knowledge, show articles or published books, student books, diplomas. We are into new standards and educational programs of state departments».
Graduates of Russian Academy of Craft have an opportunity of constant development, even after finishing the course. After the practice they write a graduation thesis, which they must defend. Then they gain a diploma and professional license. In order to upgrade their skills, additional courses were established.
Nowadays you can find blacksmith workshop, jewelry workshop, stovemaker`s workshop, restorer workshop, glass artist workshop, cabinetmaker`s pottery and ceramic workshops in our academy. There students do their practical courses and receive tool and material working skills. In lecture halls they have seminars, webinars, lecturers, tests etc. Many famous people are the graduators of our academy. Among our students you can find different people, for example an actor, who has a part of a stove maker and wants to know more about his character, a ballet dancer, a hairdresser, a vice-president of a bank and many others.
The traditions of Russian handicraft, technology and management knowledge help students to gain perfect professional education and sometimes it gives an opportunity to find their real place in life.
In future the Russian Academy of Crafts plans to open branches in different cities all over the country. It also has intention to become an international school. Since 2006 the Academy has become one of the leading craft academies in Russia. There are the best academic and programs, workshops. Our slogan is: «We are proud of our students and they are proud of the place they study».