Friday, April 18, 2014

No remorse

Finally four days of idleness without a sign of the frequent visitor, a guilty conscience.

With these tiny flowers – the best our neglected Nordic garden can offer this time of the year – I wish you a happy Easter if you are celebrating it or a lovely weekend if you are not.

I am testing my cameras, especially as to how they reproduce violet hues: Sony digital (photos 1-4), Sony Cyber-shot compact (photos 5-7), Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone (photos 8-10). Just trying to prove myself I should replace the first one, a bulky apparatus he handed over to me when he bought a better one, in the not too distant future.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

He did it again

Talking about humane, I’m afraid any beast however tamed just can’t help its nature.

We are in the middle of another migrating season, which is sadly keeping our old gentleman alert and busy. Yesterday Jack brought us a bird, this time a robin (Erithacus rubecula) (punarinta), poor creature.

I find it hard to comprehend where the lazy spoon-fed darling of ours can still find such springtime energy and zest. He could easily lend some of that to me or to the other old gentleman living in this household. You could never guess my men are now exactly the same age in human years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Out of jackets and shirts

'Sometimes Life is Beautiful'; men's jacket and shirts.

Textile enthusiast as I am, some time ago I made the 45-min drive to Helsinki for the sole purpose of seeing some pieces of art created out of second-hand garments. Well, there were some errands to run but they could have waited unlike the exhibition of the Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen that was closing soon at the Galerie Forsblom.

'Night Hawkmoth'; men's jacket and a hook.
'As a Birch I was Calm'; a series of seven works out of men's shirts.
During her 30-year career, Kaikkonen has grown into one of brightest stars in the Finnish art world. Her impressive and thought-provoking site-specific works installed outdoors or in other large public places most often using hundreds of recycled pieces of clothing have brought her wide international acclaim.

'Whereabouts'; men's jackets.

Probably the most beloved of her works has been the ‘Way’, a powerful installation of 3000 men’s jackets on the stairs to the Helsinki Cathedral she made in 2000 (photo here).

'Time for the Last Waltz'; men's shirts.

The latest one of Kaikkonen’s public projects, a couple of dozen long colourful ‘clothes lines’ with all kinds of shirts hanging on them, was installed in the hall of the CentroCentro exhibition space at the Palacio de Cibeles, the current city hall of Madrid, in connection with the ARCO Madrid International Contemporary Art Fair in February. The work entitled ‘Touching the Sky’ will stay there until August (some photos here).

Six works of the 'Time to Sprout' series of seven sculptures each made of a men's jacket and shirts.

Last October when we spent a few days in Arezzo in Tuscany (I must post about that one day) we had no idea two clothing installations by Kaarina Kaikkonen had been adorning the old town centre there through the summer. She was one of the 40 female artists invited to the first ICASTICA international art exhibition held in Arezzo where she was awarded the first prize (photo here).

The seventh piece of the 'Time to Sprout' series,
The sculptures and installations on show at the Helsinki exhibition were naturally more modest. Nevertheless, to me most of them were similarly multi-dimensional and philosophical as Kaikkonen’s monumental environmental art projects.

'Special Personality'; pressed jacket in frames.
There were sprouting garments, flowering garments, framed garments and packed garments, each one relating to the spectrum of human life in one way or another. There were also a few pieces with clothes of a little girl. By the look of it, the artist (born in 1952) is grandmother now. 

'Don't Leave me'; a girl's dress rotating on air.

'Snow White'.

I felt she was saying it is time for us all to grow, even if it were difficult and painful. I felt this exhibition expressed, in addition to her respect for those that have already gone, her hope in the coming generations. Out of our jackets and shirts could sprout something more reasonable and just, something more humane. I do hope so.

Apologies for the quality of the photos. When away from home, I am still at the mercy of my point-and-shoot camera.

Detail of 'Hope', made of a men's jacket, shirts and a dress.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The sewing one

I have been busy with a thing or two, most recently with a project for a friend. You see, among my friends I am known as the one who sews although I haven’t been sewing much in at least a decade or so. Nevertheless, five years ago when I popped in at a friend to congratulate her on her birthday I left her place with two bags full of fabrics she thought she would no longer have any use for. Now that she had an even more important anniversary I made her a simple quilt using some of those fabrics.

She is the brown-and-orange sort of a person so I chose her four browns and a yellow as the main colours for the quilt. Her colours are very far from those of mine. I had to consult the colour palette of her Autumn personality to check whether it would include any tones I might find in my huge fabric stash. I did have a rather nice vintage fabric by Sanderson with a floral stripe I felt would match very well with the browns and the yellow. The piece called ‘Pheasant moon’ from the 1970s is a flea market find that once served someone as a curtain.

I also recovered some leftovers of a Marimekko fabric called ‘Rekiretki’ (which translates Sleigh ride) designed in 1957. So I decided to accent the turquoise and purple-shifting hues of the Sanderson piece with some sea blue and violet from that one. However, no matter how I tried the turquoise and violet nuances just didn’t turn right in my photos.

The quilt became a modest striped one with a floral border but I am rather pleased with it. Anything multi-coloured and bright will warm my heart. Hopefully this one will delight that of hers also. There is one regret though. Completing this project was no different from most of my other doings. It was completed at the last minute, i.e. in the middle of the night before the morning meeting with the friend. Moreover, the morning was a rainy one and I was in a hurry anyway. I didn’t have a chance to shoot it properly.

You couldn’t imagine how long I’ve been planning to start some serious quilting. I am convinced one day I will be completely crazy about this craft and will continue recording every finished project, however amateurish, with pride.

PS. Dear R, if you would like to have a full-sized bedspread out of these fabrics just let me know. There is much left of the browns and the yellow.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fashion with character

On Sunday afternoon, I had the opportunity to see and feel some great fashion. It was a charity show by Jukka Rintala, one of the best-known fashion designers in Finland. He is probably the household name in fashion-related design here thanks to the fabulous one-off evening gowns he has created over several decades for many a public figure we keep seeing on TV and  in the magazines but also thanks to his versatility.

In addition to designing fashion and accessories under his own label and for domestic brands such as Friitala and Marimekko as well as for several French fashion houses, etc, Rintala has been active in many other fields, too. In home textiles, ceramics, glass, jewellery, carpets, wallpapers, interior design and who knows what else. He is also famous for his delicate watercolours (see the print on the dress above and on the two below right).

The show of the spring and summer 2014 collection paraded with items I would love to wear. Refined, feminine, full of elegant character. Even the black-and-whites with a flared hem looked most desirable. I’ve never felt comfortable in black or white or black-and-white. Yet I believe Rintala’s black-and-whites spiced with bright-coloured accessories, such as a bold hat or a wide satin belt – resembling the cummerbund, the fabric belt gentlemen wear with tuxedos – would feel just right even on me.

And the fabrics, they were exquisite with wonderful textures, especially the ones of the coats and jackets. The blue with the white flowers above and below, and the dress and coat in the very first photo of this post are my favourites. When I was fingering the fabrics at the pop-up shop during the intermission between the acts of the show wondering whether they were from Italy or France or both, the designer confirmed they did originate from both. What’s more, all the pieces are made domestically, which ensures excellent sewing quality.

We also saw some gorgeous evening gowns but to see photos of those you’d have to search the Internet. Once again, I must thank my sister-in-law for inviting me to an inspiring event arranged by her Lions Club together with another Club in Järvenpää. By the way, all the models but one were members of the Clubs and members daughters. They performed the task beautifully. (Sorry, my few photos of the actual show are not presentable.) It was great to see Rintala’s fashion look fabulous on ordinary people. Very well done!

Have a look also at an earlier post of mine on another great event arranged by my sister-in-law’s Lions Club a few months ago here.