Made by Hand

For Varvara and Alexander

 Varvara Stepanova

Varvara Stepanova

For just a minute, early last century, it was possible to imagine a new life,  for the people, something was about to change. Then the iron fist came down and the dreamers scattered, made themselves into that which could survive, when what they really wanted was to grow and flourish, expand and explore the full potential of human creativity, a universal community. 

Now it's 2014 and despite the Gucci handbags and Hermes silks, Russia's slipping back on its heels, falling into stale stereotypes, worn out muscles, loose skin, yellow white tank tops, weak end soldiers with kalachnikovs on their shoulders and vodka on their breath roaming the streets in search of their manhood.  

I've always felt America and Russia are like sisters. The pretty manipulative one, cheerleader, class president, team captain, meanwhile hiding a sickness, bulimic or otherwise addicted to never having enough. The other sister, less golden, but skilled in sword play, bookish, linear, with a cracked a smile like she knows some cosmic joke. Both girls prone to violence.

Genetically the same. Divergent due to conditional and environmental circumstances. Watch one and learn more about the other. 

When I think of Varvara and Alexander, I think about a lot of things. Their idealism, youth and wisdom. Their smokey salons that must have lasted into the early dawn. Their love for the craft and art, for their homeland, their community. Sometimes, I think about my parents when I think of Alexander and Varvara. Their courage, the fear, the running away.  What separates us, what makes us stand apart? We are from the same soil, same blood. We are not that different. 

 Alexander Rodchenko

Alexander Rodchenko

Our things in our hands must be equals, comrades.... Rodchenko, Paris, 1925

Come back here to read diatribes about craft, politics and shop jigs and fixtures. In the meantime, make something with your hands today. Write a letter, cook your significant lover a meal, close your eyes, lick you finger and feel the direction of the wind, cut your bangs, hold your hands up to the blue sky and block out the sun... spread your fingers and let it shine through you. Peace.