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Ancient Kuzhebar / Kuzhebar Design    by Julia Surba   

Kuzhebar is in Siberia, Russia... Julia is originally from Siberia and now has
her studio in Berlin, Germany


My website:

             and myspace: www.myspace/

                          and the link to my new collaborative project:

"Kuzhebar-Design" is a creative studio based in Berlin, which is specialized in pyrography, fashion and design. The studio is working close with musicians and artists in creating stage outfits, music instruments- and banner-design, logos and CD-cover design. The founder of the studio is Julia Surba, a talented Siberian artist, whose favourite expression art became pyrography*.

Inspired by art of ancient world cultures, Julia has developed her own unique "background" pyrography technique by which carving in combination with burned pictures build expressive relief patterns. Julia Surba is a member of the International Association of Pyrographic Artists (IAPA) and a member of international e-museum of Pyrographic Art


Last time Julia is researching the culture of Ancient Kuzhebar (Siberia) that is why her objects usually represent a weird world picture of Ancient Kuzhebar.. aborigines. This culture influenced also fashion and design works of her studio.


*Pyrography or art of fire (from Greek pyros = fire) was popular by aborigines of Ancient Kuzhebar (Siberia) and also in Australia, Afrika and Amerika.



Editor Karen Bowles has long admired the work of Julia Surba… she designs under the name Ancient Kuzhebar / Kuzhebar Design, which derives its magic from a magnificent heritage in Siberia. She asked Julia a few questions so that readers can hear from the artist herself, and learn about the abundant wealth of artistic creativity and cultural history that goes into Ancient Kuzhebar / Kuzhebar Design:



1) Your bio states that you are a Siberian artist. Where do you come from in Siberia?

I guess I come from Ancient Kuzhebar... Long time ago this small tribe found its home in taiga of South Siberia close to Mongolia border. Nowadays the culture of Ancient Kuzhebar is more than half forgotten that is why I try to keep it alive and put my input into it. I feel a very deep connection with this culture.


2) Did you start creating art before you left home?



The art in my opinion is a dialog with the surrounding reality, the product of our constant perception of the reality... in the way we see or describe it for ourselves. This way can be unique or common, it depends... I started this kind of dialog very naturally, when I was a small child.



3) What medium of art were you first drawn to? Or  many things at once?



It was no separation for me into art and not art, most important and thrilling thing was to create, create in each medium I came in touch, create my own reality. By the way I was grown up in a very poor country and I am very glad about this fact, because under such circumstances you are forced to create, otherwise you have nothing, just communistic surroundings with red flags, the same pictures and statues of Lenin, uniform dressed and uniform thinking people:)

May be because of this intention to create a different world, my first serious passion became a theatre. In the age of 10 I organized my first puppet-theatre project together with same aged friends. My father helped me with puppets, I wrote the magic stories and painted with my friend the decorations for them, then we all learned our roles and went to day-care centres to present there our shows (of course for free:)


4) What is Ancient Kuzhebar? Please explain where it was, who the people were, and what the culture was.




Old Siberian tales say that long time ago near the Sayan-mountains existed a cilture which gave the beginning to the present South Siberian ethnic groups. This ancient culture became the name "Ancient Kuzhebar", because the first artefacts were found in the Siberian village Nizhny Kuzhebar (Krassnoyarsk region).Till today there is an air of mystery about Ancient Kuzhebar and I enjoy it, because studing this culture doesn't bring the answers to you but a lot of new questions.





5) Are you connected to/descended from the people of Kuzhebar?




Definitely. This culture is already so deep in me, so I can kaunt myself to the representatives of Ancient Kuzhebar. As you can see many of my art objects depict the mytology of Ancient Kuzhebar and I also try to keep their approuch to life.


Sculpture: "Genealogy of Ancient Kuzhebar"

pyrography, carving, spruce, shells, 25 x 200 cm




6) Do the descendants of Kuzhebar feel any connection/kinship to the Inuit and other Native American tribes?



I am not sure if they know about Native American tribes. Those who still has kept their culture live deep in the taiga very separated from another population.


7) Are there ancient examples of art from Kuzhebar that exist in modern times? Where are they?



Only few things, some enthusiasts including me tried to put them together and established a traveling exposition about Ancient Kuzhebar in 2003 in Tshremshanka-village. After I moved to Europe the objects are kept in a special place.

Photo of the traveling exposition. Koncert of Tuvunian group "Salgal" with Nadishana

Traditional dress of a Kuzhebar-Shaman


Gloomy Bird dance, pyrography on beechwood, carving. J. Surba, 2007

8) What brought you to Berlin, and how long have you had a studio there?


What brought me to Berlin? New possibilities... new visions and what about the studio, it was established here in 2005.


9) Please tell us about your studio. Do you take commissions for artwork?


The studio is called "Kuzhebar-Design", it is a creative studio based in Berlin, which is specialized in pyrography-design, fashion and amulets. We are working close with musicians and artists in creating stage outfits, music instruments- and banner-design, logos and designs for CD-covers. Yes, we take commissions for the artwork we do, Kuzhebar Design is a business project because I prefer to live from my art.


How long does it take you to create pieces?


It depends. I have special objects at which I worked half a year...

Sculpture: "Totem Pole"
 pyrography, carving, inlay,
25 x 200 cm

..... and I have some which took me half an hour.

Fragment of wooden sculpture "Dethless"

Tell us about your different ventures of pyrography, design and fashion.

I show you better some examples and you will see everything yourself. You know, the proof of the pudding is in the eating:)







Pullover and cap with symbols of Ancient Kuzhebar

knitting pins, crochet hook, application, cotton, acrylic

 Pyrography on a frame drum

Henna painting on Davul

10) What is involved with pyrography? How did you learn this art?



Not so many things, just a piece of wood and fire. I use a special advanced pyrotool. Sometimes I also use carving technique to bring to the patterns more vollume. I know pyrography technique from the childhood, and I learn it by doing it till now.




Pyro-engraved wooden bowl

"Moon dragons Ygyp & Shush", diameter 17,5cm;  height: 12 cm



Pyro-Skateboard "Father of the Sky"

11) What is the Karma Knot?


Do you mean one of my objects? Yes, I have one with this name. Actually karma knot means the unique combination of providential chances. The object "Karma Knot" depicts such a unique combination. It is a story written in symbols about the creation of a beautiful music album "Russian-Tuvinian Karma Knot" of multi-instrumentalist and composer Vladiswar Nadishana.

So everybody can not only listen to it but also read the story... may be in the own way...

"Karma Knot"

pyrography, carving, spruce (80 x 60 cm)

Davul Paste on drum

all copyrights belong to Julia Surba
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