My friend lives in America. She left after defending her bachelor’s thesis on economic science, in working towards her master’s degree. She received her master’s degree there, but she also got married and stayed, living far away from me, across the ocean. Since then, many years have passed. During this time we met, but, of course, not too often...
Every time I went to visit her in America, I wanted to bring her a little symbol of Latvia. At first it was easy, as traditional souvenirs helped a lot. I gave her almost everything possible! Jewelry with amber, handmade by Latvian craftsmen, flax linen, wool sweaters, mittens and socks, made by our needlewomen, a set of wooden spoons and even a ceramic pitcher with St. Peter’s church on the front. As a rule, these gifts were accompanied by “Riga Black Balzam” and “Laima” chocolates.
Preparing to go to visit my friend again, I was walking around Riga and was wondering what to bring her that she doesn’t have yet. A lucky accident came to the rescue. Not far from the Powder Tower, I came across a small shop at the “Jekaba Kazarmas” (Jacobs Barracks) with the loud name “Figaro Art Gallery.” Show windows of the shop impressed me with the variety of souvenirs. A large selection of original designer toys: bears, dolls, horses of various sizes, a variety of leather accessories, brooches, bracelets, necklaces, silk painting, and even handmade soap.
While I was looking through this entire splendor, I was approached by a girl who introduced herself as Anna Uvarova. “Would you like to make something with your own hands?” she asked. “And how do I do that?” I wondered. “It’s very simple,” she smiled. “I’ll help you!” “That’s exactly what I need!” I thought to myself. “I’ll bring a souvenir to America which I made myself!”
In order to create what I had imagined, we chose a red rose. Anna provided me with paper, scissors, and all the necessary work accessories. For an hour I sat and painstakingly carved flower petals and stems, tied them to a wire, decorated, adorned them. Finally, the masterpiece was ready. Anna and I neatly packed my gift.
“What else can you do here?” I wondered. “Oh, a lot of things,” Anna said. “You can make a simple accessory, a toy, a postcard, you can even sign up for a weekly or two-month course of painting on silk. Then you will be able to make an original doll, or a panel for yourself, or as a present.”
I returned home in a good mood. Frankly, I enjoyed the process itself. It’s been a long time since I had experienced such satisfaction and I thought that I will visit “Figaro Art gallery” again, for sure. And if anyone comes to visit me, I will bring them there, so that they can feel the taste and joy of artistic creation.