Course information
Name: Remebering the Future
Lecturer: Marjatta Nissinen
Fashion and Clothing Design/Textile Art and Design
School of Design

In search of Finnish roots/Creativity in handicrafts

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Creativity in handicrafts

The piled rug

Copy of a rug from round town Pori, LX. The Friends of Finnish Handicraft, FFH.

The rug is firstly a bed cover. Weaving technique is similar to oriental carpet. In the Finnish rug there is more weaving in between the pile rows, there are much less piles and piles are longer. In Finland the rug has been a nationally popular and admired textile product in the whole country. Nearly everywhere it belonged to the dowry of the bride, and has been widely marked in the estate inventory of the widow after the husband’s death. These beautiful textiles decorated the house when there were celebrations.
The oldest dated rugs from Finland are from the year 1695 but according to the researches of U. T. Sirelius, there are notes of the first rugs in Finnish castles from 1524 and Danish and Swedish scientists have found even older pieces of piled garments in Denmark.

Decoration dressed on the hips

An apron dressed onto the back. Mordovians. SU 2396:448. NBA.
Four belts of leather. Gulf of Bothnia. FBdbs.
Sewing bag. Mansi, Siberia. SU 3904:66, NBA

Besides the belts with knives, fishing tools and amulets there are many other accessories carried round the body. Mordovians wear a very colorful, narrow apron in the front and an apron also behind. In many cultures the decoration on the back is sheltering the person from the bad eye.
Decorative belts with lots of pieces of metal could be collected little by little as a sign of richness. Many motives used in metalwork come from Iron Age.
The fascination of the tiny sewing bags often comes from their origin; in most cultures it was the first handicraft a little girl had to make for herself. According to the tradition it was decorated with colorful woolen fabric and was made with beading techniques or with intarsia like in the picture above.

Creativity in using materials

An over coat of an Udmurt woman. SU 5075:6. NBA.
A fur coat of a Selkup woman. Siberia. SU 4899:6, NBA.

The commonly used materials in outside clothing were leather and fur. By selling products or changing furs, fish and other handmade goods people got money to bye fabric. The first of these examples is made of woven material and the other one is a combination of fur and woolen thin material. If the material was precious it was used only for decoration or it was added with another material. The tradition of using fur material, which is always in pieces, had formed the way to shape garments following the material. The forms and the decorative look of both these examples are growing from the same origin of using pieces of material. At the base of all handicrafts is the learned tradition to make things in a certain way. The creative and skillful person made own decisions in always using changing natural materials and this is how, with time, the tradition slowly grew.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[back] [return to top] [print]
UNIVERSITY OF ART AND DESIGN HELSINKI | Virtual University | Hämeentie 135 C, 00560 Helsinki |