Home-Made: Contemporary Russian Folk Artifacts is a brilliant book about the ingenious creations of Soviet and post-Soviet inventors in Russia who improvised the industrial rubbish around them into a startling variety of useful and gorgeous items. Part Make Magazine, part Prisoners' Inventions, Home-Made showcases a brand of uniquely Russian invention. Where other developing nations are thin on industrial equipment and expertise, Soviet Russia brimmed with factories and tools and trained labor, but was crippled by political ideology and corruption. The resulting tools are the creation of people who seem to be refugees from a lost civilization -- people who know much, have much, but are in steady decline. Each artifact is photographed, with notes from its creator on the process of its creation:
We prepared this aerial according to the dimensions published in Radio magazine. But, you know, resonators are everything. THey were made form forks so that the reception would be better. In my opinion it all worked out very well. The effect was noticeable from the very start. Everyone particularly wanted to watch the programmes from Petersburg. My mother had the forks in her cupboard. She bought them when everything was collpasing around us. There wasn't anything else but forks to buy in the shops then. They werent' even very good forks, in the practical sense. But they went well with that aerial.