The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Exhibition of War and Peace Project
June 23 - July 22, 2012
Yasnaya Polyana Art Gallery (Tula, Oktyabrskaya 12)

Exhibition of collages made of out of every page of Leo Tolstoy's novel "War and Peace". Opening of the exhibition is on 22th June at 4 pm.

«Welcome to the War and Peace Project - a collaborative project that I started in late 2009. Since early 2010, I worked with a small team of artist friends at our studio in East Boston, Massachusetts. We call ourselves "Team Tolstoy". We set out to make a collage out of every page of War and Peace. After 2 years of working together every week, we realized our goal -- to complete 749 collages.

This project has exceeded my wildest dreams. I never imagined that we would be invited to show it at The Moscow International Book Fair and Yasnaya Polyana, the epicenter of everything Tolstoy. It is such an honor. What is really special about it is the collaborative aspect. While most artists work by themselves, this project is totally different, because it involves many artists, both the core team based in Boston, and other artist friends from around the world.The inspiration came from another artist, Matt Kish, who wrote a blog called "One Drawing for Every Page of Moby Dick". He made an illustration a day, based on the classic book by Herman Melville. We contacted him, and he has become a friend. He contributed 2 collages to this project.

I studied Russian in college. I traveled to the former USSR and spent the summer of 1981 in Moscow and St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), studying Russian language. I was drawn to learn Russian in part because I love the Cyrillic letters. It took some weeks just to learn how to read and write the letters. I love the complexity of the grammar. All of my collage work involves script in various languages. I also liked the size of War and Peace. In this project we used  a 2-volume set of War and Peace that I bought in 1981. I was inspired to use the 1976 Sovier-era
edition after I read about Matt Kish's project. I also have Russian blood -- my grandfather on my mother's side was born in Russia and emigrated to the US around 1910.

On a more personal level, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2008, and wanted to work on a long-term, creative, and fun project. All of this coinceded with another one of Team Tolstoy getting diagnosed with breast cancer, too. So spending time in the studio together while she went through treatment was a kind of therapy for both of us. I value friendship and loved the idea of working together in the studio.

This project brings it all together - art, friendship, language and literature. I can't think of a better way to spend time! It has meant something different to all of us. We have all grown in so many ways, both artistically and personally as well. We love to share our love of collage making and look forward to offering workshops at Yasnaya Polyana and Tula.

Team Tolstoy includes Adrienne Wetmore, Christiane Johnson, Emma Rhodes, Lucy Arrington, Lynn Waskelis, Otto Mayr, Trish Crapo, and me. My husband Mark Natale was our photographer».

Lola Baltzell
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