Kings and ghosts

Large artworks look good only in equally large surroundings. 

I finished these pieces in last October/November but it's only now that I got the opportunity to photograph them properly. It's surprisingly difficult to find anywhere with rooms that are high enough.. The scale of the surroundings also really affects the art. The large paper weaving looks kind of majestic and the others look like wraiths, which I suppose is appropriate given that I was thinking about old, abandoned buildings and forgotten places when I made these.

Next I have to get started with a large collection of woven panels for a textile art exhibition in August. It's been a little while since I last exhibited so this one is going to be big.

2018 resolutions

Sometimes life gets so busy, that there is no time to reflect. It has been so for the past couple of months. With the new year I decided to take better care of my finances and plan my projects with more detail by setting specific timetables and goals. For example, right now I'm getting started with the biggest weaving project yet and in order to keep the progress and stay motivated I'm setting myself milestones on the way. This woven series will have many parts and I want to finish the first one by the end of the month. Therefore my goal is to weave about 75 cm/week. That means dedicating time and focus for this project approximately three times a week. Now that I’m writing this down I realize that this series is probably going to have a large impact on my life in 2018.

Graphic design has suddenly become quite a big thing that I'm actively pursuing. I finished a large digital flip book project and made some logo designs for a friend’s company. I also taught myself to code responsive HTML and CSS over the Christmas holidays! All of this on top of having a part time job. In 2018 I'm making an active effort to do more graphic and web/UI/UX design projects, because I think I would like to do that for a living, along with art and environmental projects. So my life looks a bit like this:

 

Where is sleep and free time?! I guess I can have those when I’m dead…It’s a good thing I enjoy the work that I do.

On finishing a project

EDIT 10.1.2018

Previously I wrote: "Usually my tactic for getting work shown is to apply for group exhibitions, funding and/or solo spaces and afterwards forget that I applied." 

Turns out that the writer David Mitchell sort of does the same thing! I'm reading a book called Being a writer by Travis Elborough and Helen Gordon, that is full of useful advice from famous writers. Recently I have discovered that it doesn't matter what your creative métier is, because the advice given to writers still applies. This is great, because I find more books on how to write than on how to be a better visual artist. 


Oh man, I’ve just done a thing that I try to never do to myself. I have become emotionally invested in an art project.

Usually my tactic for getting work shown is to apply for group exhibitions, funding and/or solo spaces and afterwards forget that I applied. This way the rejections are fairly easy to get over and any successes will feel like lottery wins. Very high highs without the soul crushing lows. However, the trick to achieving this perfect balance is not to spend too much time ruminating over each artwork. In practice this means that once it’s off the loom, then the finishings must be done and good quality photos must be taken quickly and the applications sent asap. Then I put away the work, pack it up so I'm not constantly looking at it. Otherwise I end up spending too much time with each baby and it gets harder to see if they are ugly.

So now I've become obsessed with the woven three piece series, that I have been busting out for the past month. Because I don’t have photography studio, a decent camera or lights (and it’s the season of perpetual darkness here in Finland), it has been a real struggle to get decent pictures of my work. This is a problem, because selections for exhibitions are made based on the photos. I’ve now spent about 3 days trying to get these shots and I’m starting to think there is nothing more I can do. I’ve spent too much time on this project and it is difficult to let go and just send the damn application. I keep worrying if I’ve done everything in my power to make this as much of a success as possible and this is a paralyzing thought.

On a positive note, this process has given me an idea for an even bigger series of woven panels, so the work doesn’t end here. I want to continue exploring the sense of place in old buildings and their layered histories. This work will also be tied to a particular location that is very important to me.

Autumn/spring

I'm a huge fan of Ria Sharon, who is an artist with amazingly motivating art videos on Skillshare. I think she once said that creativity comes in cycles like the seasons. There is spring when one is super productive and full of ideas. After that is the summer when all these ideas are made into reality. Then things start to slow down in the autumn and you reap the benefits of your work. Finally comes winter, which is slow and it seems like nothing is happening, except somewhere deep, deep down in the subconscious. These creative seasons don't necessarily follow real seasons of nature. For example, autumn has always been my spring. Like right now, I'm bursting with ideas and making stuff everyday. It's like an itch that doesn't go away, no matter how much you scratch.

So I'm working every free moment to finish a woven art piece that consists of three large panels. Luckily I developed the idea for this series during the last couple of months so the approaching deadline is not too terrifying (beginning of December). Although I am trying to stay super focused on this one project, working with something that forces me to evaluate everything around me in some respect leads to also noticing such things as all of my fabrics that I need to make clothes out of and my messy home... So I gave in and sewed a simple top, cleaned the flat and I'm writing, which I haven't had time for during the last couple of weeks. 

Few sneak peeks at the weaving:

Scary linen warp..must be a bit of a masochist to choose coarse linen. It has been fighting me the whole way through, but it is also very pretty.

Scary linen warp..must be a bit of a masochist to choose coarse linen. It has been fighting me the whole way through, but it is also very pretty.

The pattern changes, warps and stretches becoming more like an organic surface. I'm particularly happy with the ombre detail. It made me think of a record stuck in a groove or layers of sediment.

The pattern changes, warps and stretches becoming more like an organic surface. I'm particularly happy with the ombre detail. It made me think of a record stuck in a groove or layers of sediment.

A little detail. For some reason my mind goes back to the old manor where I've worked at for the past 4 summers and I am remembering all the scraps of opulent, but faded and ancient wallpaper that were stuffed in forgotten cupboards and found on layers of plaster board. 

A little detail. For some reason my mind goes back to the old manor where I've worked at for the past 4 summers and I am remembering all the scraps of opulent, but faded and ancient wallpaper that were stuffed in forgotten cupboards and found on layers of plaster board. 

Study of voice

Legendary artists who have died long before I was born
often feel distant and imagined, like characters in a book.
I was reading Frances Spalding’s biography of Virginia Woolf
and during my reading
discovered that there is one surviving record
of a BBC radio broadcast where Woolf speaks about writing.
This is very cool.
What a strange sensation. Like a ghost becoming real. I felt for the first time,
that this person really existed
(of course I knew, but it’s different to be told and to experience)
and this made her work seem even better. Weirdly,
I think her voice and the way she looks kind of match.
It’s an odd thing to think about.


(What’s with the weird line breaks? I’m trying to listen to how my own inner voice takes pauses and see what it does to the text).

Making marks with found objects

I'm participating in Sketchbook Project this year with the theme of 'This is not what it seems'. My plan is to make layered images by combining monotype printing, sketching and painting. I want to keep surprising myself, so the surface textures are made with random found objects. 

The Art Project

Couple months ago I tentatively started a large, experimental weaving project. I didn't really have any ideas about what would become of it, but I wanted to make something with the paper material that was left over from the collective's installation that was shown in 2015. We have quite a lot of this unprinted, crumbled newspaper material just taking up space, but nobody wants to throw it out. I want to find out what kind of surface textures can be woven with it. 

Usually I need my projects to have potential for becoming a product, an art piece that will be displayed somewhere, or then they are small enough not to cause too much emotional damage if they fail. With this particular project, I’m not sue what to expect of the end-result and that feels very scary. If nothing comes out of it and I fail, I will end up with very large, time consuming and in many ways obvious pieces that will be around to silently mock me until I am able to let go and chuck them away.

It’s the same situation as with my earlier knitting projects when I was still learning the technique. If I wasn’t able to finish a project or it didn’t fit (so many sweaters with super tight arm holes…) I had wasted lots of money on yarn (not cheap in this country..), my time and hopes. Then the unfinished project would languish in the back of a cupboard until enough time had passed and I felt able to unravel the work and use the material for something else. Humiliation is the worst feeling that comes with failure, even if nobody else sees the work. That's why it takes sometimes years to deal with those failed projects.

So now I’m hoping I don’t screw up, because this art project wont be hidden away. I’ve got 4 bin liners full of scrap paper and I intend to weave 4-5 large panels from them. I've already made the first one and it's 3,4 meters long. I’m creating organic shapes on the surface and so far they remind me of fungi a little. In addition I'm planning to weave 3-4 intricate textile pieces with really coarse linen (sucker for punishment..). They will be a test of my skill level, which should be interesting, since I'm largely self taught in weaving.

pintaa.jpg
Source: https://www.google.fi/_/chrome/newtab?rlz=...

Autumn colour palettes

Couple weeks ago I took a little break from city life and went on a hiking trip with my mum. We explored some national parks in mid-Finland. I had no plans to apply the things I see in my projects, but I did end up picking some really nice colour palettes from a ton of photographs I took.

Photos were taken at Seitseminen national park, Isojärvi national park and at Helvetinjärvi (literally translates as Hell's lake - it's a very pretty place).

It turns out nature is full of purplish grays during autumn, which is not what I expected. Maybe the camera affected the end results by changing the light somehow. Since a lot of the colours were similar, I also made a combination palette. 

My autumn colours

My autumn colours

Btw, I use an app called Real colors to generate the palettes. It's really easy to use and not too cluttered with ads. Maybe I can use these colour palettes in print designs. I am really attracted by the deep, velvety 2017 trend colours and jewel tones, but they are tricky to use without seeming too bold, or in my case, too 80’s.

Kaarnatar - the knit graffiti turned into an outfit

Yesterday I went with the collective to Helsinki to see our knit graffiti (or yarnbomb as Americans call it) take part in a fashion show. It was really wonderful to see it displayed on a model and also to see it together with the other knitwear pieces. The FinVillage 2017 show celebrated the centennial of Finland by displaying a wide variety of modern takes on traditional knitting and crochet techniques. 

Our knitwear piece has a long story, because it has served many purposes. It started out as knitted wool socks and after years of use was re-purposed by us into a knit graffiti art piece that decorated the riverside in Turku, Finland. We named her Kaarnatar (hard to translate the name, but it has to do with tree bark). She also spent a summer near castle ruins in Kuusisto. Finally she was modified into a wearable outfit. I knitted some hotpants and socks to go with it. Seriously considering making some for myself too.

Source: http://finvillage.metropolia.fi/

Journal addiction

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my reasons for keeping journals and writing a blog. I write irregularly, which annoys me, because I have this deeply rooted feeling that it should be a productive thing. However, I don’t always have a lot to say and sometime what I want to say can be written in a form of a To-do -list or a doodle. Then again sometimes it requires a whole blog post to figure out what needs to be said. A place for everything.

I'm crazy about journals btw. I have a journal for keeping schedules, two sketchbooks for hand writing and doodling thoughts related to my projects, a dietary journal (mostly to keep the amount of coffee I drink in human proportions), one for sketching out weaving projects, one for Sketchbook Project, where I will make markings with found objects, my Instagram account for visual documenting and finally this blog for when I feel like sharing (if you’re interested, the old texts are still in Wordpress).

I’ve always been fascinated by people’s creative processes. Some people are also really good at writing down the stuff they do to get to the extraordinary. One such person that I have discovered this week is Austin Kleon. I’ve read through most of his blog and watched his TEDx talk. Maybe soon I'll get around to reading his books. I think he has some good ideas about how to live with the creative process and journals are a big part of that. 

I wish I could write like that, or draw, or weave, or whatever in such a way that it pushes away all the annoying things which have hurt my feelings or are taking up my time. 

Recently I managed to negotiate my day job into a part time job, so starting from today I will be able to spend half of my time focusing on art. I also want to be able to blog regularly, because it really helps with processing thoughts and finding what’s important and then letting go of the rest. Hopefully it will also help me write better.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/tundrakuikka/