Master gets down to work with pleasure

Villagers of Zhorovka, in Lyuban District, know how to build cathedral in a week
By Vladimir Ievenkov

Nikolay Starikovich’s house often receives visitors needing something mended, as he likes to help. The villagers admire his unusual candlesticks and other items made from everyday items. They wonder how a simple farmer, who graduated from construction college, has such a gift.

Nikolay smiles and says that it is a blessing in disguise. He was ill for a long time and couldn’t work but was tired of idleness, which inspired him to try his neighbour’s hobby of making a small house from the matches. Over the past three decades, he’s perfected his skill at creating wonderful things from ‘rubbish’. He’s proud of his tiny models of churches, made of ordinary matches, paper and multi-coloured telephone cable. Some have found their way to Moscow, Poland and, even, Holland.

I look in surprise at a tiny model of Kiev’s St. Sophia’s Cathedral, asking, “What’s needed to create this beauty?” He replies, “Inspiration, a hundred boxes of matches and a week of hard work. I’ve made a special mechanism for making crosses from wire. Cutting and fitting matches is the most time-consuming process. At first, my hands ached a lot but I became used to it…”

Inspiration is his major talent. Young people sometimes ask for lessons and Nikolay is happy to oblige but few stay the course, lacking patience. Pensioner Starikovich loves his work though, finding that it raises his spirits. He comes home, picks up a knife and matches and whatever is troubling him gives way to creativity and fine work. It’s restful to the soul. His tiny churches seem to inspire his soul with faith, grace, inspiration and peace.

Not long ago, Nikolay Starikovich’s work found appreciation from residents of the district centre, at an exhibition-contest entitled Veteran’s Hands Can Do Anything. Nikolay returned with a diploma and prize and with a powerful incentive for new work: subtle and spiritual. 
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