Conclusion to the artwork ‘Secret places’

At the beginning of this summer’s artist residency program at Kuusisto Art Manor, I came up with the idea of creating ‘Secret places’ around the manor gardens and the nearby nature reserve area. These places would have to be found, because there is real joy in the surprise of discovering new things. I wanted visitors to spend some time in unique natural places and perhaps remember some memories associated with that place or similar places. Perhaps also to be fully present in that one moment. These spots also had an activity to try; weaving.

I built earth looms to suit each place using linen thread for warp and the natural forms of trees and bushes as the frame needed for weaving. They were very simple, so no previous experience in weaving was needed. Everyone would have the skills to build something out of the materials found in the nature around them. I also included little notebooks near each loom to record ideas and thoughts in. I made three ‘Secret places’ and two of them were successful. These were located in the nature reserve area, quite near the main path. They were easy to find and built in such way, that they would not permanently change their surroundings. The one located in the manor garden was perhaps too difficult to find, as people did not weave much on the loom there. The weavings that resulted in the other spots were very interesting. Although they were not perhaps aesthetic to every eye and certainly not usable, they were unique and had the marks made by many people who took a moment in the flow of time and spent it without hurry or stress. The thoughts written in the notebooks were wonderful reading and made me feel like this project has potential to be developed further to reflect different natural surroundings and express the thoughts, memories and stories associated with them.

Where are all the ravens?…Someone is cutting the grass. The sound of summer. Reminds me of childhood home and summer days. Taste of new potatoes in my mouth…This artwork looks like a harp…Surrounded by the trees, it is good to rest and listen to bird songs. A blackbird is telling stories…Here the air is fresh and wonderful…This place reminds me of sacrifices and beliefs…We saw white tailed deer…I heard the grasshoppers…

 

Conclusion to the artwork ‘Secret places’

Wonky edges

Last weekend I officially opened my studio during the local village festival, ‘Koroisten kyläjuhlat’. In my open studio the visitors could try weaving on a traditional floor loom. I didn’t have any preconceived ideas on how it would go, because the surroundings were quite different to those in Kuusisto, where I held my summer workshops.

It turned out that a lot of people, especially kids, were interested in weaving. When they had their parents with them, it was much easier to approach the big loom and have the courage to say hello to me. The thing about floor looms is that they have not been designed for very short people (ie. children) or people with certain disabilities (you have to be able to use your arms and legs). However this was not a problem, as the children discovered that by working together with their parents, they were able to enjoy weaving. In practice this was done with the mother using the pedals and helping to throw the shuttle, which gave the child (who was too short to reach the pedals – very cute) the opportunity to just have fun with building the actual rug structure by moving the beam and choosing materials. I had trouble getting them to leave at the end of the day.

Clearly weaving could be used as a way for parents to spend some quality time with their children. The one negative thing I noticed was that many parents feel that they have to control the weaving process by insisting on making a rug that is actually ‘correct’ and usable. In other words it would have to have specific matching colours and straight edges. What’s with the perfectionism? It’s the child’s vision and it doesn’t matter if the edges are wonky. The end result is still functional, beautiful and unique, not to mention the importance of the experience.

I will definitely develop this concept further. The weekend’s end result was happy kids and one small rug made by many hands.

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Wonky edges

Productive times

I’ve been at the art residency in the Kuusisto Art Manor for about 3 weeks and so far made two rugs, a brooch, Saori scarf, a wall hanging and a Saori inspired woven necklace. I think my mind is slowly gearing towards making art jewellery, despite having been pretty exhausted by it in the spring. I find myself getting inspired by the forgotten things I find on the ground.

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I’m also hosting weaving and knitting workshops in July and building light earth looms in the surrounding area. I hope many people feel inspired to do some crafts.

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Productive times

Getting started at the artist residency

It’s been a while and much has happened. I graduated and got a top grade for my Saori inspired thesis, which I’ve almost translated into English. Once it’s done I will publish both language versions on my new website for anyone to download for free.

The summer is finally here and I am relocating to the artist residency of Kuusisto Art Manor. For the last week I’ve just cleaned and set up two floor looms (I have two now!!). One of them has a 30m long warp for making rugs and I am hoping to provide this and other weaving and craft related opportunities for the visitors of the manor. Right now I am thinking also of knitting picnics for sunny days. This summer has the potential to be really great.

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Getting started at the artist residency

Process of accepting one’s own work

I finished it! The dreaded BA thesis is done! What amazes me is that despite having done two other degrees before (although on a totally different topic), I still feel like I’ve completed a marathon.

Although the actual work is done, the creative process still continues. Despite the euphoria of finishing the report, I’m unsure about the finished art piece. This melancholy about the work is quite normal for me, although still an unpleasant part of the process. However it has never been an indicator of the quality of my work and I try to focus on this. Perhaps the confidence will come as I gain more experience. When I spend a long time looking at the work in progress, it becomes difficult to see past any mistakes in technique or content. But give it a month or two and I might feel differently about it all then.

Here is a little peek at the finished, Saori inspired art jewellery piece, ‘Corrosion’:

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My brother is a blacksmith and helped me out with the metal pieces. It’s great to have other artisan resources at hand, so I can combine my skills with somebody else’s.

I will be translating my thesis to English during this summer (or hopefully even sooner) so that anyone who is interested in reading about Saori inspired art jewellery can do so. Particularly I’m thinking about those of you who participated in my Saori survey few months ago. The results were interesting!

 

Process of accepting one’s own work