Viacheslav Deriabin from Poltava is 60 years old. For the last five years, he has devoted himself to wood carving. It is a story of a person who got over an extremely difficult and thorny path but managed to find his own inspiring pursuit. At a young age, Viacheslav got into jail, went through alcohol addiction and illness which confined him to a wheelchair. However, even the most difficult life situations could not suppress creativity and the love of wood which Viacheslav developed when he was supposed to plan his retirement.
In the craftsman’s works, wood looks as natural as possible. Viacheslav believes that such simplicity and naturalness make up the true beauty. For a long time, Viacheslav Deriabin worked as a landscape designer. He has always liked to create and invent something:
— I have worked in design for my whole life. I studied in a cooperative technical college and picked up gigs as a construction worker for my entire life. You know, construction side works is not the same as working on a construction site. If you do gigs, you do everything – a bathroom, a house, and a veneer at the same time. The job is very diversified.
Viacheslav believes that having an activity is crucial for a man:
— A man has to do something. He shouldn’t stay at home, constantly arguing with his wife and creating some problems. A man has to be involved in work. If he is, everything will be fine for us. We won’t pay attention to the government – everyone will do their own job, and we will change.
For example, I will make a chair for someone, and they will grow a cabbage for me. Everyone has to do their work, the one they like, and we will have a great life.
Viacheslav and his son turned their old barn into a workshop. Viacheslav can now easily move around there using his wheelchair. All around the workshop, there are wood, details of future workpieces, and paintings. For Viacheslav, his workshop is a place where he can work all day long without feeling tired.
I enjoy it. Wood is pleasant to breathe in, it’s soft when you touch it. Some people polish and polish wood until it doesn’t really look like wood. But it has to be alive, it has to breathe.
Each wood species needs a different approach, which is also an important aspect:
— When we work with wood, the material itself can tell us what to do with it. You see, this shelf, it’s not whittled, but its quality is high. It isn’t polished, but it has a soul. Put it somewhere, and you can’t help but look at it. You will look at it in the morning when you drink coffee; you will look at it during lunch and in the evening because it catches your eye. This wood is alive, it’s irregularly shaped, and it’s natural.
Viacheslav compares wood’s natural beauty with people. People are interesting only when they are real, he thinks.
Viacheslav Deriabin doesn’t believe in inspiration. He believes that creating something new is an exciting job when you just do it:
There was a saying from some film: “If you want something, just make a step ahead.” If you want to do something, just step out of a house, sweep the yard with a broom, and you have already done something. The same is here: all details are “born” somewhere, the main thing is to find a direction. You take all these directions and just work.
Every Viacheslav’s work is unique because most of his masterpieces are experiments. To begin with, the craftsman figures out what he wants to do and which tree he will use. Then he starts working:
— Designing is a constant process. It’s like a chain. For example, you’ve made something, hanged it on the wall, and then you see that something is lacking from the general picture. So, you start polishing: a stick here, a line there. What do you get? You get a composition.
Viacheslav treats his orders very responsibly. He sometimes spends a lot of time thinking about the task he has received. The craftsman says that the best time for thinking is night because nothing distracts you from your thoughts. However, clients often fully trust the author’s taste and don’t give specific instructions:
— I start feeling that I am responsible for it because I have to create something unique so that my client would come and have no questions.
In his works, Viacheslav often depicts nature. Apart from creating frames for paintings, he sometimes paints something he has never seen in his real life. Some paintings have English titles. For instance, a painted application “North Sea”. Viacheslav has not seen this sea in his own eyes, but he decided that he should use such paints to show what it can look like:
— For some reason, the Ukrainians always think that English-language titles make a product better, more attractive and high-quality. It’s just that we are the Soviet people in the third generation, and the superiority of everything in English is written in our memory. Unfortunately, we forgot that at the times of the Russian Empire, people from England, Germany, and Italy used to come to us in search of a job.
Viacheslav admits that he has always been interested in working with hands. The most important part for him is the process itself, whereas the material can be different – stone, metal, wood.
He thinks that talent by itself is not enough when a person wants to accomplish something.
— Even when a person is talented, it’s not everything. For example, a friend of mine, a very talented musician. He can play any musical instrument, even empty bottles. But when I ask him, “So, play me something”, he wouldn’t do it. I tell him, “Just be yourself, and you will play naturally.” And what does he say? No again. And he doesn’t have any job now. So, what of this talent? It’s nothing. If you don’t show yourself, if no one can appreciate you, you are working in the wrong direction. I, for example, get orders from my neighbors. I made a living room for one person, something else for another one. They “shove” me money, and I take it because I know that this work costs money.
It was the dramatic decline in Viacheslav’s health that motivated him to act:
— When I ended up with only one leg, I became very concentrated on work. In such cases, a person develops a self-preservation instinct, and all senses and reflexes are set to win. I became more focused on work because I cannot hang out anywhere, idle around, and talk about useless things.
I am fully engaged in work. It fascinates me. So, my disability made me act even more. I started thinking about work even more. As they say, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.”
For warm meetings in Poltava, the tower of the movie “Queen of the Gas Station”, and our visit to Viacheslav Deriabin’s workshop, watch our recent video blog.