Saturday, 22 February 2014

Hooked on Lace

The Craft Museum of Finland is currently having a lace exhibition in its foyer gallery. Hooked on Lace presents an array of lace doilies crocheted by Silja Eränen from Pieksämäki.
Photo: Craft Museum of Finland / Mikko Oikari
In the exhibition film, she tells it all started when she inherited a huge lot of her mother's crocheting threads. Here you can see her working. She finds doily models from magazines, friends and the internet. She isn't using an actual crocheting pattern, but a photograph of a finished piece as her guideline.
All her doilies are unique, as she likes to explore new models. During the last 6 years, she has crocheted over 350 different lace doilies!
All these elaborate white doilies look so good on the purple wall, don't you think? (What a great idea for your home - if you don't mind them getting dusty, of course!)
Love all these shapes.
The exhibition area isn't very large, but there are LOTS of them. You really don't know where to fix your eyes. They are all so beautiful!
Photo: Craft Museum of Finland / Anneli Hemmilä-Nurmi
If you became interested and you are around, you better hurry, as the exhibition will end on the 2nd of March. Still a week to go! Don't forget the entrace is free on each Friday. I also found the blog of Silja Eränen. If she continues updating it, you might see more of her work online too.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Trees in Love - Happy Valentine!

During our recent inspiration trip to the snowy Tourujoenlaakso, we encountered these trees in love. They greeted us by the lake Tuomiojärvi (literally The Doom Lake). This is truly love until death, as those red marks are most likely execution plans for these poor birches, lightened up by a romantic passer-by. I immediately thought I would like to share this view with you and saved it to until this special day.
Red Rhinestone Earrings by Arx Rosarum (Finland); Red Heart Brooches by Sweetkeetle (Russia); Valentine's Day Card by Avenir Cards (Sweden); Amigurumi Bunny by Sobeide Creatures (Finland).
But of course I couldn't stay with just that. Those hearts got me so inspired I wanted to share more. So in the memory of our late Friday game, I gathered here a collection of red hearts, all from the hands of Northern European artisans.
The Prey by Hidden Eloise (United Kingdom).
As a cherry on the cake, enjoy this charming picture by one of my favorite fairy tale artists, Hidden Eloise. Happy Valentine!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Happy Holidays!

An illustration from Eliza F. Manning's book The Coming of Father Christmas (1894).
It's time to rejoice! The breaking news of the month was that British Library has published one million public domain images on their Flickr account. What a splendid Christmas present for all us history enthusiasts! Coming from 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and covering all kind of themes, the pictures offer an endless treasure trove for studying, crafting and graphic design. The museum is also planning to launch a crowdsourcing application at the beginning of next year to gather more knowledge about the images. Next year you will also hear of me again. Merry Christmas and My Best Wishes for 2014!

Monday, 2 December 2013

A Cavalcade of Sculpted Lions

A lion roaring in Musei Capitolini.
The shimmering white landscape - what does it make you think about? Well, lions of course! More precisely, Aslan, the son of the Emperor-Over-the-Sea, the lord of Narnia, the great Lion himself. C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) was one of my beloved childhood books and it inevitably belonged to the winter season. I'm not sure which came first: was Aslan fascinating because he is a lion, or are lions fascinating because of Aslan? In any case, I'm always spotting lions everywhere, along with other intriguing beasts such as dragons and gryphons. You may remember my previous posts about the study trip to Rome last spring. Indeed, I did take around 5,000 photos during those two hectic weeks, so not surprisingly I was able to capture a whole pride of lions while there. In this post I concentrate on the most presentable shots of sculptural art. A cavalcade of one-dimensional lions will follow soon.
A lion guarding the courtyard of Lateran cloister.
A black lion on the top of Corinthian column in the Lateran cloister yard.
Here is an interesting composition I don't recall seeing before. A lion holding Baby Jesus? The pair on the right (not shown in the photo) holds a lamb. The lion here could refer to the Lion of Judah, the symbol of the tribe Jesus originated from. The statues guard the entrance of Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura.
A nicely tarnished lion head on the lid of an antique sarcophagus, close to the entrance of  Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura.
A lion attending the holy Mass, Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura.
A lion relief in the staircase of Palazzo Barberini.
A lion relief outside Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere.
A clumb of lions in Musei Capitolini.
A great lion lying in Musei Capitolini.
A hook-nosed lion on an antique sarcophagus, Musei Capitolini.
A majestic lion in black marble, Musei Vaticani.
A lion with very conscious eyes. Note also the lion shaped table feet on the back. Musei Vaticani.
An intricate lion head on an antique sarcophagus, Musei Vaticani.
A lion attacking a wild boar. A fragment of sarcophagus (AD end of the 3rd century), Musei Vaticani.
Daniel in the lions' den. On the left you see Habakkuk bringing him food. The lions look rather obedient. A detail of so called Sarcophagus of Two Brothers (AD 325-350), Musei Vaticani.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Winter Fanfare

Blue Rhinestone Earrings by Arx Rosarum; Sapphire Engagement Ring and Diamond Snowflake Pendant by CaiSanni; Blue Kanzashi Flower Crown by Norda Brilo; Blue Fabric Christmas Ornaments by hennihennidesign. For the other elements, see the original collage in Polyvore.
It is snowing - and I am back! Not sure which is more surprising or long-awaited. The last months have been quite occupied, but I have been looking forward to start posting here again. I have got a lot of news.... and I haven't even told about Roman mosaics, relics and skull sculptures yet! Today, as a blogging comeback, I made my very first post to the blog of Finland Handcrafters Team. I asssembled some creations of our team's artisans into Polyvore sets. This collage is a tribute to the Snow Queen. Hurray for the arrival of white!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Friday Outfit: Casual Romantic

Organic Cotton Bolero by Joik (Finland); Organic Cotton Bloomers by eleven44 (Indonesia); Leather Tote Bag by Cita D'Elle (Romania); Floral Filigree Earrings by Arx Rosarum (Finland).
I had to skip the game last week, but today I'm playing again! So here are my picks for mid-July My Friday Night Outfit. This time I chose handmade items both casual and special: a cream white crocheted bolero, chocolate brown ruffled pants, a pinkish light beige tote bag and Victorian inspired earrings with filigree and candy pink glass. You can admire all entries in the blog of our team captain Star of the East.

Friday, 5 July 2013

The Wooden Poorboys of Western Finland

Do you know what is vaivaisukko, a wooden poorboy? I have always been intrigued by those human-shaped sculptures silently waiting for your handouts in the shadows of a church. Created by local craftsmen in Western Finland, they replaced the ordinary coffers for donating money to the poor. Who first came with this creative idea, is unknown, but about 180 poorboys are traced, a couple as far as to 17th century. There are about 145 poorboys still existing, one of them being a poorgirl. Recently, I visited an exhibition presenting around 40 poorboys from the churches of Western Finland. The fellow above was sculpted in 1853 in Saloinen. Before going into a more detail, let me say first a few words about the exhibition location itself.
The exhibition takes place in the wooden heart of Eastern Finland. Built in 1847, the Kerimäki Church is no less than the biggest Christian wooden church in the world. The architect was Anders Granstedt and the master builder Axel Magnus Tolpo, followed by his son Theodor Tolpo.
There have been speculations that the imposing size was a result of a measuring error. In truth, the original plan was extended so that half of the current parish residents could fit in. There is seating for over 3,000 persons; for 5,000 if some are standing. Despite its size, the interior looks delicate and harmonious.
Outside the summer, the church is closed - with one exception. On Christmas morning, there's a Mass here. These stoves have not been used since 1940's, and during the winter it's freezing inside. The people are dressed in their warmest and wrapped in blankets. The church is lit up with an array of real candles. Needless to say, it's really beautiful, really cold - and the fire service is keeping a tight watch.
Now back to the poorboys! (The poorgirl of Soini was also here, but she returned home before Midsummer.) Among the poorboys still existing, many of them were created in style of the veterans of the Finnish War (1808-1809). They have peg legs and canes and they were used to collect money especially for war invalids. This poorboy from Evijärvi was made in 1842.
Many poorboys are accompanied with a short text, like a citation from Psalms (41:1): Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble; or a fragment from Proverbs (19:17): He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord.
Some one had placed coins in the begging hand of this poorboy. Actually, the coins should be dropped into the hole like filling a piggy bank.
This beautiful young man looks so innocent, fragile and frightened. Coming from 19th century Jurva, he resembles midshipman Wellard, played by Terence Corrigan in Hornblower movies. There is no evident physical injury, but his pale face tells about the terrors of war.
The oldest still existing Finnish poorboy is this Blind Bartimeus of Hauho which was created in the end of 17th century. Looking like a pilgrim, he resembles renaissance and baroque sculptures. His body has expressive movement, whereas the other poorboys are rigid as Finnish folk dancers. In 1710's, during the Greater Wrath, when Russia occupied Finland, a Cossack stroke Bartimeus in the head with a sword. Doesn't the scar just emphasize his calm devoutness?

This elegant blue gentleman is from 1870's Kurikka. For some reason he reminds me of Marc Chagall's painting Above the Town, of which a printed copy used to hang on the walls of my childhood home. There's something Slavic and surrealistic in this man. Isn't he like dropped from a dream? I'm convinced his cane is actually an umbrella; some day he will open it and fly back to the skies.
Well here's a healthy looking chap! Coming from 19th century Rautio, he is wearing a black frock coat, white pantaloons and an imposing top hat.
This tortured uncle from 19th century Haapavesi made me think of captured Hannibal Lecter. The poorboy was moved to the open-air museum Seurasaari already in 1930's. Long years outside took their toll, the fellow is quite weathered. I even heard birds nested in his coin box hole!
What a charmer! This mustached chap from 1860's Alaveteli must be my favorite. His broken chest makes him look a bit like an instrument or a mechanical doll. His eyes are quite mesmerizing; I'm sure he is a magician.
This old man looks poor indeed. There is something very genuine in his expression.
Would you give your money to this man? This fellow from Ylistaro looks quite confident that you would - or at least should!

The exhibition is open daily until 31.8.2013. In addition to the poorboys, there are also artist Antti Ojala's naivistic and charming portraits of them. More info (in Finnish) about poorboys on the website of Pelastakaa vaivaisukot ry.