Monday, 20 May 2019

Lisbon Streets: Colours, Fonts and Patterns

Perfection is difficult to put in words. Lisbon has it's own kind of character that roots back in country's multicultural history and fearless attitude in mixing influences from different eras of time. The city is not a museum that would preserve it's old buildings from modern day life. It was enlightening to see a mural or finely finished graffiti on an old wall or spot these colourful pieces of art in a scenery that's profile has been the same for centuries. 

When I visited in modern and contemporary art museums the same way of thinking was present in the philosophy of curating exhibitions. Discussion was the key of interpreting these exhibitions that offered a way of seeing and thinking that connects different time layers. Old objects offered a background to understand what we have today and how they connect to art of the last decades. Old and new works were mixed together so that it was possible to dive into a stream of thoughts where people with same kind of visual world interact without the boundaries that result from short human lives that don't meet. I think to preserve what is dear through taking it as a part of everyday life and new phenomenons is the most fruitful way. 

Colours that are present everywhere in Lisbon were one of the main reasons to travel to the city. The whole city was full of combinations one bolder the other. Might not be a surprise that I am totally in love with strong colours that do not apologize or try to be neutral. Might be a good idea to take watercolours, fabrics and embroidery yarns from the storage once a again and begin to go through what combinations would work in quilts. There was such an overload of colour I felt like I was bathing both in sunlight and colours. One night I couldn't sleep and I came up with a new pattern idea I draw instantly to my sketch book. The trip was inspiring in many ways and it will take time to unravel all that has been stored inside my head during those two weeks in Lisbon.

My souvenirs from the trip were mainly untangible; ideas and inspiration. When I dragged my luggage from railway station to home I passed my neighbour. After telling him where I had been he asked me what I had learned on my trip. I said that mainly it was all about colours that I brought with me. When I pondered more about the question at home I came up with plenty of things that I had not known before I traveled to Lisbon. 

Learning is one of the leading thoughts about travel if we look back history and for example grand tours. Nowadays we do walk through places and museums that are meant to teach us something. Now that I had the privilege to stay a bit longer than just few days I had the possibility to stop and think through what I heard and saw. Because I live here in Finland and Northern Europe the issues that are up in the news and daily discussions are mainly concentrated on topics that relate this area or that are brought up as internationally meaningful. The perspective is very narrow and leaves out many topics. In Lisbon I got to look Europe from other perspective and it was good to hear what are current issues in Portugal. Also IndieLisboa film festival took place in the same weeks I was in the city and I got a chance to see movies that I might not otherwise see. 

Even if we are living in globalized world still what is around us is local in a way, algorithms see where we live and who with and use that knowledge to optimize content to us so that it is not possible to see outside the box. When I made searches what to see and experience in Lisbon I got the same lists of sights, museums and places. I could have visited those key places virtually; Find out more about Belem Tower for example. But without the ground knowledge that can be gained in a place by following the discussions, seeing what is on in culture and political environment, it is not even possible to ask the questions and use Google to find out more. Maybe the era of grand tours is not behind us after all. 

Museu Colecao Berardo.


Monday, 15 April 2019

2D - Väripintoja kankailla

I have been talking about putting my quilts on show some day. That day came this very Monday! It took courage to take this step but I think it is necessary in order to move forward in my creative work. Now these works from years 2016 to 2018 are there on the wall for everyone to see at the Rovaniemi Town Hall. At the same time this exhibition is a closure with these quilts and a beginning for yet unknown new directions that I will take with this technique I am so passionate about. Hope that my quilts could bring smile on people's lips as they pass by and that they could feel the colours. Maybe someone gets inspired to begin creating works of their own. It gives so much in life to have a form of self expression, a place of one's own that knows no limits. 

My exhibition 2D - V√§ripintoja kankailla At the Rovaniemi Town Hall 15.-26.4.2019. Open mon-fri 8-16. Closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Holiday Photos As a Source of Inspiration

MoMa 2018, New York
Wall in Turku 2016

Do you agree with me that holiday pictures come in masses? In the era of digital camera and smart phones taking one or two extra photos is easy. Scary to even think about that one would miss a moment just by thinking if it is worth the film. Photographing is an obsession, more evidence the better. As a result one trip to nearby town can lead to hundreds of photographs. At least I am very lazy in sorting out the shaky pictures from the good quality and thus my personal archives are full of both messy catches and something that would be nice to get in a paper album for future generations. As this will likely never happen, if someone doesn't do it for me, the archives get to be what they are.

One reason why I take so many photographs is that I want to gather all things that I find exciting, new and inspiring. Colours, forms,  curiosities. I enjoy architectural details like curvy old buildings and modern polished structures. Edgy streets and urban city space are equally fascinating. In a traditional photo album a collection of windows would seem a personal option.

Few days ago I started going through my archives with a different thought. Maybe a pile of old photos could become a quilt. Instead of feeling sorry for all these old pictures that will likely disappear one day when some digital format changes, those could turn into works that survive from time. There would be no photo album but an artistic interpretation of a certain trip that would make the essence of the holiday memorable. 

To get the creative juices flowing with new quilt projects I took a notebook and pencil and began sketching. The technique is simple. First I went through pictures from 2016 when I visited in southern Finland. I went through all the material very quickly. Every now and then I concentrated on a photo, chose one detail and sketched it to my notebook. I got few pages full of small drawings. In the process some forms began to live and I studied those further after the sketching session. 

The technique was easy to practice and the photos I had taken served as a source of inspiration as I had once intended. Now I shall go through more recent archives as it was fun to go back to those moments and memories that the original pictures hold. I showed these new sketches on my Instagram stories some days ago and asked if you recognize the real thing behind the processed and more abstract sketch. Here I put the original picture under the sketch so you get a clue what I am meaning with this technique.

Ship masts at Turku 2016

Street lights in Helsinki 2016
Could I find a detail that would turn into a pattern in these photos. We will see.

Staten Island Ferry 2018, New York

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Crafting is a Philosophy of Solutions

Happy Valentine's Day to you all! It has been long since I have been posting something DIY related to my blog. In November I decided that I need to take a short break in the making and creating. The year had been hectic and I had done many quilt works as well as some DIY projects among work and studying. Dear time is limited to 24 hours per day for each and everyone of us even though it would be nice to bend the limit and do more. 

Last weekend I got my knitted scarf finished and I am looking forward to give you a picture of that soon. Relatively small knitting projects have been all that I have done during the break. My knitting projects haven't been that artistic, legwarmers, beret, and scarf become to a need. I should still knit one pair of woolen socks. I actually began that project an year ago. Knitting is not my media for self expression and I am not that fond of it. I do love knits and admire people who create and make beautiful works.

Crafter without a project is a ticking time bomb. Suddenly issues that were manageable before become huge, odd behavior and anxiety occur. At least for me all those are sings that information is not moving between the two halves of my brain. I had the papers and sequins on my table for two weeks and I had no lust to begin anything. After spending few days in a weird state were world consisted mainly on barriers and everything felt scary there was no other way out than to sit down, take the scissors and papers and craft the anxiety out. I don't remember ever in my life spending more than a month in a row without doing any craft at all. Sounds pompous but crafting is like breathing, eating and sleeping for me. It gives a concrete result that is tangible. The process of making makes the whole body work as one, hands do their task in co-operation with the brain. Problems get solved with one stitch and glue drop at a time. Afterwards the issues that caused anxiety turn out be similar in nature, possible to handle and fix if necessary.

World of concepts is endless like space. I believe it is not just me who needs concrete projects at times. Can it be that some day we people evolve into species that only lives inside of our minds, processing concepts and emotions? Or is our consciousness bound in to the physical and tangible so deeply that if the tie breaks we start to come up with problems? I have been reading a lot lately and I love bingeing books. Yet it began to feel that that surfing in the world of concepts made reality seem unrecognizable and difficult to handle. It is about balance, both reading & philosophy and creating & crafting in good doses without forgetting the other. 

Now that Valentine's Day cards have been made it is a good start to begin crafting year 2019 stitch by stitch. Today mail got me a Valentine's card from my friend who must have sensed my moods behind the 1000 kilometers. She knew to write exactly right words to the moment and I am ever grateful receiving her card. Most of the time when we ponder our problems, we don't concentrate on the visible and easy solutions. Instead of that we come up with imagined nonsense that bounds us by making things even more complicated. Maybe it is paper and scissors that help to see what is real and what is imagined.


I guess you will be able to make these cards just looking at the picture but I will share short instructions so you can get your hands to the reality as well.

Valentine's Cards

-cardboard boxes (from oatmeal, cereals..)
-colorful paper (from old calendar, magazine, or craft stacks)
-paper glue

Make a model for the heart and cut three hearts from the cardboard, and three from the colorful paper. Apply glue to the patterned side of the cardboard, place the ribbon to the middle and put the colorful paper on top. Place the second heart similarly to the row. With the third heart turn the end of the ribbon so that you get a loop and then place the colorful paper on top. Decorate hearts with sequins and write lovely Valentine's wishes behind the hearts.