The Friends of Finnish Handicraft aims to document and promote typically Finnish textiles. The association was founded in 1879 by Fanny Churberg and inspired by the Swedish Friends of Handicraft association, founded five years earlier. The association has always worked closely with artists and architects and, from an early date, cooperated with, e.g. Jac Ahrenberg. The association collected and published a pattern book of traditional textile patterns in its early days.
Gunilla Jung was a glass and lighting artist and Silversmith. She designed glassware for Karhula (later Iittala) in the 1930s at the Institute of Applied Arts in Helsinki. Maybe best known for her pioneering lighting projects, such as in Helsinki’s Savoy Theatre.
Taito created her first silver designs and, later in the 1930s, others by Viri and Kultaseppät. She worked with Frans Nykänen, who at varying times was a director at both silversmithies.
The natural world and its phenomena influence Ishimoto’s works. His designs have basic forms that are coupled with vibrant exterior constructions and lavish ornamentation. Ishimoto has won the State Industrial Arts Prize, the Kaj Franck Design Prize, and Honourable Mentions at the Finland Designs show in 1983, 1989, and 1993, among other awards. He was given the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2011. His ceramics and textiles have been featured in several private and group shows. Fujiwo Ishimoto has also designed opera stage sets and costumes.
I initially went Helsinki’s Oodi Library on a whim. My friend’s son needed another Harry Potter book. And because I find visiting a location in any city I don’t live in inherently interesting, I tagged along. But walking into the boat-like building, and stepping into the airy ground-floor lobby with its high ceilings, cinema, and café, was an exercise in skirting expectations.