It all started with Pikaland
I did a course with Amy Ng to look for my artistic voice and one of the exercises was to create a personal project. I also had to answer some questions about my identity. It made me go back to my commonplaces books and see some of my notes in a different light. I revisited my roots and this is something that comes back to me all the time in whatever I do creatively. My grandparents and folk crafts. I come from a culture that relied on what they made with their own hands. I grew up in a post soviet country where the resources were limited. I think limitations make people stronger and more imaginative and also you learn to appreciate more.
So I made this zine and it’s a mix of images from my childhood, answers to Amy’s questions and excerpts from my notes.
Some of the stories behind the images relate to my grandmother who was a spinner and a weaver and my grandfather who made baskets. They were very independent and led a really sustainable life. The way people raised their children back then was different. Children had so much more space for themselves. They would wonder around unattended, playing all day long, stealing apples from the nearby orchards, eating home made bread sprinkled with sugar and cold water from a well. This was real life.
Now, how this project evolved? It turned out to be a constant source of inspiration. I made a series of tiny rooms in matchboxes, then I took it into a ceramic workshop with Letycja Pietraszewska and made a series of small objects that can tell my story, my grandmother’s story, and they can also be amulets, something I can hold on to in rough and tough times. I also started to work on a little book made out of cloth which is going to be stitched by hand.
So, this project is still in progress. It’s fascinating to see how it changes and takes different shapes and forms. I’m very grateful I had a chance to do it.