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About me

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Masha Shibaeva
My sweet leisurely free childhood
About family
About school
My Universities
My teachers
About work in the theater
About creative work
About Sketches
My photos

My sweet leisurely free childhood

SUMMER: sky, air, sun, forest, river flowing between the hills; a house with mezzanine on the shore. Dearest granny. Many brothers and sisters, friends, games, the Big village.

There are several kids in every yard: to play "Ali Baba" – the whole field is our, for "Potato" – we make a circle of twenty people; and hide-and-seek is for a whole day – it takes at least an hour to find everyone …

Forest ... tall light pine forest. We used tansy to protect ourselves from attacks of mosquitoes. I still do not understand why is it hassle (“moroka”) to pick cloudberry (in Russian “moroshka”). Every single ripe berry found is a splinter of the sun hidden in the marsh moss. And mushrooms were so abundant that we did not take any of them besides cepes.

And... the first love, and the first silly mistakes, and ... by the way, also the first glass of champagne - all on the shore of river Msta.

And WINTER: it is skiing that was as long as I can remember me. The "Skiing Arrows”, Pavlovsk, ski tracks close to the station “Kupchino". I wonder how my parents managed to follow such rhythm of life – all the weekends on skis. As for me, I cant be such a selfless mother ...

And at what age I started to paint? Even my mother doesn’t remember. Parents encouraged my craving for painting, because it was a way to make our home quiet for some time...

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About family

Speaking about the origin of the desire for creativity, it is worth mentioning about my grandfather Moses Filshtinsky. He was a personal tailor of the governor of St. Petersburg and had his own clothing shop near Suvorovsky Avenue.

Another great-grandfather was barge hauler. He remained in the memory of the descendants in the picture Repin "Barge Haulers on Volga" (the one with a huge mane of hair, at the very edge of water). Grandmothers told me about him - a mighty man he was.

My grandfather M.M.Filshtinsky was a neurosurgeon, one of the first ones. At the Second World War, he saved many wounded peoples whom he operated in field hospitals. Once my grandfather came out to have some rest after surgery, and a shell hit the hospital tent killing all nurses and the just operated soldier. He was an amazing doctor in many ways. When in school we wrote the essay "A person to whom I want to be like " I wrote about my grandfather.

My grandmother E.S. Trifonova was storyteller. She published several collections of fairy tales under the pseudonym of Helen Trinova. Also she was editor and writer at Lennauchfilm film studio. "Lace Tales" were written when my sister was born, even the heroines in the tales were Seven Catherine. But "Dozhdinkiny Tales" (“the tales of rain drop”) were made on my request. The first story in the collection was "Drop-Dewdrop", ironically the railway station where we had summer house was called "Dewdrop".

By a good luck I had three grandmothers.

Granny Mary (after which I was named) - a farmer with a surprisingly wise soul. I always had summer holidays in a village on the bank of Msta river.

Another granny was Vera - a teacher of Russian language. She loved to retell my old movies. Here stories were so exciting that later it was not interesting to watch the movies.

My mom grows the germs, she is microbiologist. Recently my mother found a magnet saying “I am the Queen of Microbes” in a package of a popular lactic acid product. Apparently her social status was raised.

Dad worked as a senior machinist of shunting locomotives. Unfortunately he was about to get the title of "Honorary railroader” one of his subordinates made a crash. So he never received the title and remained an ordinary railway worker.

My husband is diver-rescuer. I am sincerely happy when he is idle at work – it means that trouble passed by.

I have a son and a daughter – my "treasure" and my best and most important crations.

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About school

Even though I was a good student, the life after school always seemed more interesting to me. It would be deadly boring without the game "Zarnitsa", out-of-class activities, editorial board, and then the Young Communist League, the summer work camps, hikes, trips to Moscow, Tallinn, Riga, etc. Essentially, I warmly remember my school teachers. All of them, even those who were not that kind to me. School is school in all senses, including formation of character...

Two pictures:

1977 - thin blonde braids, huge bows, white apron, .. did not have the pair,.. walked by the hand with the teacher Larisa Anatolievna, .. on school parade in front of the whole school I sited with ringing voice: "... draw blackboards - for whom? - for me! Bind exercise books - for whom? - for me!"

May 1987 - new blue uniform, big bows .. head full of knowledge, fear of upcoming exams, heart broken by first love...

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My Universities

Frankly speaking, I have two uncompleted university higher educations. That's what happened. I used to be worried about that, but now accept this fact philosophically.

Parents persuaded me not to go to the Mukhin arts college. So I got enrolled at Herzen Pedagogical Institute, chemistry department. It was much fun to study there until the first winter session. It was supposed to be only one exam on inorganic chemistry, but that exam became a real baptism of fire for me... I went the first one, as usual - and … it took the professor one and a half hour to make decision about the mark I deserve for my knowledge. She was asking questions throughout the program. For all my sufferings I got "good" and left exam with shaking hands and horror in my eyes ... and horrifying with my appearance those waiting for their. In spring nothing could scare me any more.... And, perhaps, I could become a teacher, if there were no exhibition "Yves Saint Laurent and Theatre" in Saint Petersburg ... I never came back to the Institute... (For me the decision was natural but for my parents it wasn’t that easy. The impact on my father was the greatest - he was taken to hospital.)

... For some time I knocked about trying to study in the workshops and took some lessons from masters, and finally I got enrolled at Institute of Arts and Crafts.... I had to pay for studies which was quite abnormal at those times. Although many people were surprised, I chose that institute deliberately and paid for the study myself. It’s funny to remember how I paid for the studies. The first year I cooperated with a private school as a graphical designer. The second year I was selling Indian shawls, and sewing at home wedding gowns and other interesting things. But approximately from the third year my husband started helping me to pay the cost. But... I had to take academic leave because of allergy to graphite dust, and during that period I happily gave birth to my dear daughter. So the of issue studies was closed.

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My teachers

The first person who was serious about my paintings was Marina Nikolaevna Bartemieva - the teacher of drawing group in "House of pioneers and students" of Moscow District in St.Petersburg. If anyone could provide me her contact details, I would say thanks to her for her kindness. She gave me diploma "FOR DILIGENCE" because from the end of April, when other students abandoned the classes, I always appeared in the classroom in time. All alone!!! And she worked with me for two academic hours, inventing new and new tasks.

The next step was art school № 13 of Moscow District. When my grandmother and I were about to go for the entering exams, an underground pipe in front of my windows burst with a fountain of hot water. It was so strong that water flew over the five-storey house and poured on the front door visor. We were wondering if it was for good or bad. A fountain in dream is the symbol of inspiration, but in reality – who knows…

In the arts school I was in a very funny and noisy group. Teachers treated us with care because of our violent disposition. We enjoyed the classes on history of arts, probably because the teacher loved us.

I also enjoyed painting. And my love to sculpture remained unrealized. The teachers often changed, and unfortunately the time sponged their names out of my memory.

Painter Yuriy Mudrenov was the one who undertook to prepare me for entry exams to the Institute. Member of the Artists’ Union, he appeared celestial and philosopher to me. In his studio on Podrezova I discovered some verities which I think should form a corner stone for any artistic training: "Why do I paint after all?", "what is the meaning of my creative activities?", "why do I make composition on this topic and in this color?". Because your finished creation does not belong to you any more – it is for many people to see. Georgiy Vladimirovich was the first to ask me if I was sure that I wanted to be a fashion designer, not a theater artist. So that is how I found myself in a theater.

Having built up on other people's designs and mastered performance skills, I wanted to paint again.

Natalia Anatolievna Talavira helped me to get prepared for Institute of Arts and Crafts. After her drawing classes, I surprised tailors in the studio who stopped amazed watching me drawing without need to clean off... Some believe that the decorative composition is primitive but for me it was useful to became able to design a medieval ornate lettering, or modern, or a pattern for Santa Claus suite. Natalia Analovievna liked to repeat - your creativity is not what you are doing in the institute together with the teacher, but what you create in studio, by yourself.

Our institute has "grown up" now. It has many departments and a new building. And in 1990's we were its first students, we were very free and easy…

Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev was my teacher of fashion. In 1993 we were the first audience for his lectures on the history of costume and practical sessions on trends in modern fashion. Now it is hard to believe, but after the first day of classes Sasha decided not to take a taxi. Instead he walked with us - large crowd of students - through Petrogradskaya Storona to the metro station. We tortured him with so many questions that on the second day he quickly escaped after classes by car. There was a democratic environment. During breaks we drank tomato juice from 3-liter jars.

Sasha gave us tasks - we were doing sketches. The most successful were hung on the wall. (If a see traces of scotch tape on my old sketches, I know: Sasha liked it). For example, one task was to create a costume for a lady who is going to court for her own divorce process. In recent days, we painted and demonstrate collection for public debate. Those who gathered the biggest score were allowed to attend the next seminar free of charge. I won the second seminar. It’s a pity that there was no third one... BUT ... for my Denim collection of drafts "Healthy mind in beautiful body" Alexander Vasiliev wrote a reference letter for me, and it helped me later.

And also it seems to me that all my customers are my teachers. We are walking together, from one costume to another, by invisible creative stairs ...

We are climbing the stairs, I hope…

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About work in the theater

I started to work in theater in the smallest position - as a stage fitter I was in charge of current repair of stage sceneries. If the scenery changes, this "very special creative process" lasts until the end of the last interval, or you can go home after the third call, if there is no change. This work rarely keeps people for a long time. After half a year a had enough of it. But ... I teetered on swings of Tatyana Larina and was surrounded by an air of fairy tale during set-up of lights for the coming performance. And I survived by miracle when aincient stairs as high as the stage arc fell down on me. And also managed to surprise the director of Maly Theatre when I stood loughing in his office for 10 minutes and could not stop when all other people had grave faces. In return director saluted me every time he saw me during half a year after that event...

From the position of stage fitter I moved to the position of the property maker, and later property maker/decorator, and even property artist. A lot of things were made, but I want to point out the work with artist Anatoly Nezhny on "Diaghilev Seasons" of Andris Liepa, the Swan Lake with Galya Solovieva, and always amazing sketches fromVyacheslav Okunev.

Nowadays I work with children's musical theater Cantabile. Costumes for "Teremok", " Shoo", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Snow Queen", "Bremen Town Musicians", "Pinocchio" were made on my sketches.

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About creative work

"Creativity is a spontaneous self-extracting impulse, the spark from God" (I apologize that I do not know the author of this phrase).

Inspiration does not come from inside – it originates from outside. Those who forget that they are flesh and blood of the earth may lose their support. Creativity from the word Creator - it is the very top level, and we, the peccant, can only get the crumbs. I just bag one thing – do not forget to give some crumbs for me.

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About Sketches

Of course it is always pleasant when people take a draft with delight and say: "This is what we dreamed about". But it can be different. If after 3 sketches the choice was not made, I usually take time to think, to find the right way. Some customers can help, others just watch, but active interference is the worst. People are so different and there is a world inside every person. I need to grasp the harmony of this world, and than my sketch will match the person, and it will be appreciated. But if I feel disharmony, then sometimes I can refuse from cooperation. It’s always important that customer will say - its mine, what I was dreaming, or even could dare to dream about it. Even if someone dislike, it does not matter. The trouble is when the thing is finished but there is no wish to wear it.

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