Duck Duck Book


65 – home-made
05.31.2010, 7:07 pm
Filed under: technology

Home-made : contemporary Russian folk artifacts / [compiled by] Vladimir Arkhipov.
London : Fuel Publishing, 2006.
[MCL call number: 621.9 H765 2006; one copy, no holds]

Everyone makes things, even people who don’t think of themselves as practical or creative or skilled.  It’s natural for us human tool-builders to force the material of the world around us to give service in aid of whatever project we are engaged in.  Sometimes we do this in style, and then we’re likely to call it art.  But mostly, we just make do with manipulating whatever is lying around to do the job we need done now, whether or not the resulting tool or shortcut is sharp or elegant or lovely.  And when objects themselves are scarce, why then we really get busy making do.

Home-Made is a catalog of objects making do, created by everyday Russians during the twilight of the Soviet Union.  I can’t begin to characterize the entire collection, but I’ll mention a few items that charmed me:

  • a flowered china teapot, its broken handle replaced with a utilitarian stainless steel affair held on with a bolt (page 82)
  • a doormat/boot scraper made from discarded beer caps (page 24)
  • a corner basin made from a galvanized wash tub (page 272)
  • a basket with a handle, fashioned from a punctured rubber ball (page 219)

Each object’s photograph is accompanied by the story of how it came to be made, and a picture of the artisan, or of the person who explained the artifact’s provenance.  All of the items are part of Russian artist Vladimir Arkhipov’s collection of home-made things.

[thanks, Matthew]

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