Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tool time

We have just had an amazing book come into the house. Home-made: Contemporary Russian Folk Artifacts, by artist Vladimir Arkhipov displays the highlights of his collection of over 1000 functional objects made in the Soviet Union. As the regime slowly collapsed from the 1980s, access to manufactured goods became difficult and people improvised. Arkhipov calls his project “The People’s Museum of Home-Made Objects.” Each image is accompanied by a short description by the owners of the object, how it was made and how it is used. We were talking to John Parker (the ceramic artist and theatre designer) about this wonderful project and its connections with an exhibition we all worked on in 1990 for the then Crafts Council called Mau Mahara. Some of the objects selected by John and co-curators Cliff Whiting and Justine Olsen might have found a place in Arkhipov’s collection. John then produced the two tools in the top image. One is a soldering iron made by his grandfather and other a tool John contrived to incise deep pots. The three images below are from Home-made. From the left Vasilii Arhipov’s axe, Evgenii Vasilev’s bath plug and Andrei Smirnov’s kitchen safe.