Told you that I’d have news….and I do, but not about beads exactly.
It was quite the trip. A river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow (and I don’t mean Florida to Idaho!). The recharging of the spirit, the feast for the eyes and other senses was just what the muses ordered. From the gardens of the Peterhof Palace to the glory of the gold room at the Hermitage Museum and from the onion domes of St. Basil’s to the treasures of the Kremlin’s Armory, the views were amazing. And the people quite fascinating as well.
The “party line” may have changed, but the depressed economy remains the same. After seeing the opulence of the palaces of the czars, I can understand the reason the revolution succeeded. And seeing some of the summer houses — dachas — of the oligarchs, it looks as if little has changed! The have-nots are lacking a great deal; the haves are frightening well-off! The number of bmws in Moscow as surpassed only by the number of seemingly homeless people we saw! YES, they do exist.
But the beauty of the country — rough is some places, and quite elegant in others — cannot be denied. The art is remarkable; the treasures a feast for the eye. If ever I got a sense of what was and what is, it was here.
The “home visit” we had with an 88-year-old woman in the town of Uglich (a real working-class town with a watch factory, albet not too far beyond the Moscow environs) was a highlight. When asked about her memories, the saddest and most unfortunate chapter in her life was during WWII. She was a teen living in a small town in Belarus. She told how they marched everyone out into the center of town, separated the Jews, shot them, and then took all the able-bodied remaining Christian men away as conscripts in the army or for forced labor. She then told of how she survived and her road to Uglich and life in a small town, first harboring children not much younger than she during the siege of St. Petersburg and later as a teacher in the town and, finally, as a factor worker. Throughout it all, she continued to make crafts–you can see one version a doll that converts from summer to winter clothes by turning her on her head. I do wish I could have bought it from her!
Jewelry was remarkable — mostly under cover at the Kremlin’s Armory and at the Hermitage’s gold room. Amber was ubiquitous, and likely not all was real. We DID see some craftspeople — including a beader. Her work was bead crochet, and not particularly remarkable. The communication gap made conversing about stitches and bead sources a bit of a challenge — aka, impossible! But the work is universal, something we all knew. The element that distinguishes one from another is the creativity that goes into the work…..and the current beadwork I saw sadly, was not particularly inventive or even colorful. Other artists — working in watercolors, in silver and in enamel–were much more gifted and much more creative in their approach. As we’d planned, we bought a lacquer box from the artist at a gallery. It is one special, special gift to ourselves and wonderful reminder of a two-week float down rivers and lakes from St. Petersburg to Moscow!
Now to get back to the beadwork!!! I’ve been applying to shows since our return and will keep everyone up on what’s happening. Also, am working on new pix for the website, a shopping cart for the site, AND a kit or two for my beading colleagues. I’ve also got a project ongoing for a two-woman class at Artiscape next April in Ohio….we’ll see if we get picked up for the class!!!. Colleague, Roberta, doing the necklace; I’m doing the focal piece — a combo of bead embroidery and off-loom freeform work!
D’as-vedanya for now….