Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks for Sveta and Her Handmade Art

Several years ago, I had the good fortune to supervise an artist residency at a museum where I was working as a teaching artist. The artist was Sveta (Svetlana) Gorbachova, an amazing artist and human being with whom I was privileged to work. Sveta was one of several artists from Borovichi, Russia whose art was part of an exhibit "Bridge to Borovichi". These dolls and clay sculptures, as well as her paintings, were part of the exhibit. Rick Marsi's photographs of Borovichi and its residents were also a major part of the exhibit and helped to place the art in context. The soft-bodied dolls, in traditional Russian clothing, are completely handmade by Sveta, even the crochet on the aprons--their hand painted facial features and expressions are exquisite. She even makes their traditional shoes! The clay animals (fish and bears mostly) are whimsical and rendered with simple patterns. It was magical watching her produce these simple beauties.
Sveta's other love is cats and simple rural scenes. She paints them mostly in gouache. I'll be posting these photos later.

Photo above is Svetlana Gorbachova and daughter Dunya From Page 196 - “Jackdaw Encounters” from Rick Marsi's, A Bridge to Borovichi: American Impressions of a Small Russian City 1990-2005...."Educated and articulate, Sveta embodies the struggle so many like her face in Russia. An art teacher, she makes less than $50 a month. I photographed her in her yard, wearing a sweater she had made, with her clothesline and garden behind her. Sveta’s house doesn’t have running water ."

Sveta makes so many beautiful things from so little...she continues to be an inspiration in my life and art...Thank you Sveta.
(To see more photos and read more about Rick's adventures go here.)

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