The Magic hands of “Varpet” (Master) Mels
Recently Abovyan.com discovered another talented artist living in Abovyan. Master Mels works with wood or as he says, gives life to wood by curving it since 1978. We visited him and were so much impressed seeing so beautiful jewelry boxes, plates, crosses and much more.
– How did you start working with wood?
– Earlier I used to paint and also created some pictures by using the colorful stones I picked from my village river. In fact, one of them got award from Soviet House of National Artists in Moscow after being exhibited there. Something about wood attracted me, I am not sure what. I just liked it. And the way I learned working with it is mainly through self-education.
– Wasnt it hard to learn that way?
– If you are attracted with something, things appear much easier than may be they are. Every time you see how lively ornaments come out of your effort you get additional stimulus. My creatures deserved apprasing opinions from well-known artists such as Grigor Khanjian or Naghashian who was among the first few in Armenia who started to decorate wood the way I do. Vazgen I Catholicos of All Armenians used to keep my hand-made clock in his office in Etchmiadzin.
– So I see you are an accomplished artist. Now lets talk about the material: what kind of wood do you use?
– So many types. But mostly these are walnut, pear and cherry trees. Each of them is unique by texture and also shades.
– Isnt it pity to cut trees?
– It is, I agree. But a tree gets cut before I get it. In fact, I am saving trees life because otherwise theyd be fired. As you see my handworks have small size which actually doesnt require much material.
– How different is today from how it was, say, 10-15 years ago? When you felt better as an artist?
– Before I had more feeling that my works are appreciated as an artistic work. I was feeling myself as part of some artistic (more virtual) community. I used to have my works in a store that agreed to accept them only after being evaluated and getting the approval of a special committee composed of distinguished artists.
– How about today?
– Today there are many souvenir shops but these are more commercial-oriented and dont care much about quality. Now so many people curve wood and often they are not professionals. Also, there is no such thing in Armenia as intellectual property rights. This means that often I find out in Vernissage copies of my work.
– Where you get your ornaments from?
– From what we inherited from Armenian culture. What you can see on the stones of churches, khachqars, manuscriptsBut often I add my own trait there. My shapes and material are different and require certain creativity. I must say that someone who wants to create nice things over wood has to be a good painter first of all.
– Thank you, Master Mels for sharing your time with us. We had very enjoyable time here and I wish you good health and a lot of creativity.
– Thank you.
For immidiatly contact with Mr. Mels Please call to the phone: (+374-222)-25330 or E-mail by: firstname.lastname@example.org