The technological process of making Zhostovo trays includes following operations:
1. Tray is being created
Hammered trays are made according to the old tradition of hand smithery. Blacksmith cuts out a workpiece with hand shears. Then he beats it and stretcheds it with the help of hammer and anvil. He rolls a wire into the edge of a tray to give it additional strength. After that edge is planed on an anvil.
Standard-shaped trays have also earned a rather rich history of almost a century. A sheet of metal is cut into workpieces of a fixed size. Then a workpiece is punched out and stretched into a certain shape by electric press. After that edges of the tray get rolled. For that procedure masters use the term "board-siding", comparing the tray with a vessel. Each tray requires three different moulds.
2. Tray is being prepared for painting
Preparation phase requires masters of several different skills. Usually one master is responsible for annealing and degreasing. The other does the padding and marks the tray with two or three layers of black enamel. Each layer is to be dried and cleaned with sandpaper, which is a harsh work.
3. Tray is being painted
Zhostovo masters paint with oil artistic paint diluted by linseed-oil and turpentine. Zhostovo painting has two main phases. The first phase of painting is called "zamalyovka" which can be translated as painting it through, the second phase is called "vypravka", and the meaning of this word is close to "making it right".
Zamalyovka implies sketching a composition of a bouquet on a working surface of a tray. Zamalyovka is made with thick, a little whited paints on several trays simultaneously. Artist rotates a tray on his knees to always have the required part of surfaceunder the brush. At the same time he should look after the beautiful and expressiveness of silhouette of flowers, buds, leafs and stalks, rhythmic position of colour spots, proportions of a scale of painting and background of a tray. Once zamalyovka is completed tray is being aired during 12 hours under special temperature.
Vypravka consists of the six step by step operations: "tenezhka", "prokladka", "blikovka", "chertezhka", "posadka sementsov" and "privyazka".
4. Tray is being ornamented
Boardsides of each tray are adorned by light, tracery ornament of golden plants. Zhostovo ornamentalists fulfil a challenging task of harmonizing their work with the mood and inner message of the artpiece created by another "hand".
5. Tray is finished up to perfection
Finishing up, or "otdelka" means covering a painted tray by two or three layers of lacquer. It takes two hours to dry each layer in siccative room under fixed temperature. After that the newborn tray takes off to the department of gift wrapping .