Another important aspect of Rural Living for me is my childhood. I have always been a city girl but every summer my parents took me to my grandmother's house in the south of Russia where life just seemed to slow down.
That house was a time capsule with linens from the 50s, vintage perfumes, vinyl records and vintage wallpaper. All those things fascinated me. I helped in the garden and did lots of household work including sewing, cooking and cleaning. It wasn't all fun and glamour - oh not at all! Forget the dishwasher and other modern day wonders. But it made me appreciate things done from scratch, the old fashioned way.
Plus, being with family and sharing home cooked food, outings to the river and fresh flowers and vegetables from the garden. We also paid regular visits to multiple relatives and I absolutely adored their colorful, moderately wild cottage flower gardens. Zinnias, dahlias, delphiniums - these are still some of my favorite flowers.
Here's me the last time I visited my grandparents in 2003. The cat is clearly trying to escape! This dress was custom made for me by my sister's friend who was a fashion designer and a great seamstress - I drew the peasant neck and sleeves design and picked the fabric - simple muslin with a brown flower toss.
I can't remember who picked the wildflower bouquet, possibly me on a fishing trip with my Dad. I always accompanied him and grandpa to the local rivers and ponds, sometimes joined by more family and friends, always senior men very surprised to see the only girl there. But I was Daddy's girl and followed along! He taught me to admire the nature around. We shared many stunning countryside sunrises close to meadows and fields (fishing's best at 6 am) and I truly believe it played a big part in my being a nature lover.
My mom always loved this ceramic jug very much and I think her fascination with rustic vases rubbed on me. To the right of the bouquet is samovar, a traditional Russian "teapot". This one is electric - modernized from the original charcoal version. Some specimens of vintage textiles and wallpaper are present in this photo, too. Nothing was staged here. That's what fascinates me the most here - I already loved all these things back then and 20 years later I'm making art inspired by this whole experience, totally subconsciously.