This is Avgust.

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I flew into Perm, Russia yesterday, and Avgust met me.  My first question was whether he had become a hipster.  Frankly speaking, I’m not sure he knew what I was talking about.

Not long after I moved to Russia, I learned that folks who were handy were referred to as having “Golden Hands”.  And indeed, one of my favorite things about Russia is the “Golden Hands” of Russia.  These are the little known craftsman who seem to be able to perform wonders with just a pocket knife and some wood.

There was a time in my life when I had a serious addiction to buying hand carved wooden chess sets.  The work on those Russian hand carved chess sets is incredibly intricate and there was a time when they were very cheap.  Happily, the economic conditions freed me from this addiction as I was priced out of the market, but my love for handmade wooden objects is something I hope to never lose.

I remember when Avgust used to make ornate artwork with birch bark and a solder iron.  I was always impressed by that because, for comparison’s sake, one time in the 7th grade I made a cutting board out of a piece of wood.  In my defense, that particular cutting board still works.  When I told Avgust about the cutting board I made, he looked away silently.

But Avgust graduated from Academy of Artwork on Birch Bark, so to speak, and was looking forward to bigger and better things.  And while most folks were on social media discussing the imminent release of Star Wars, Avgust put together this curious wooden object :

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After that, while most of the world was completing another level of Angry Birds, he made this:

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Then, while many of my friends were discussing the future of the Cleveland Browns, Avgust put the pieces together and it looked like this:

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Yes, folks, that there is a harp.  Avgust made it for a musician in India.

And if making a harp wasn’t enough, he then had to build the harp case.  I feel I could have helped with the case, but strangely, Avgust didn’t call:

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I kind of don’t know what else to say about this whole affair.  Except to say that Avgust made a harp out of wood for a musician in India.  I thought the only harps in existence were housed inside glass cases in musical museums and made circa 1730 and earlier, but no, turns out there are folks out there who still know how to make harps.  Which I guess means that there are other folks, theoretically speaking, who know how to play them.

Before the harp, Avgust had made a guitar.  I saw lots of pictures of the guitar, but I sort of thought it would be more interesting to show Avgust playing so that you could hear it.  This was filmed with my cutting edge iPhone 4s, so the sound is perhaps not totally up to par, but I think you will get the point.  Enjoy!

If anyone out there is looking for a handmade harp or guitar, be sure to look up Golden Hands Guitar in Perm.  I think Avgust would like the sound of that.  Golden Hands Guitar.

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