Inspiraatioita: Finnish Art and Design in Minnesota

Posted on July 20, 2023 in News

Join me in celebrating Finn Fest in Duluth with a group show at the Nordic Center

Inspiraatioita: Finnish Art and Design in Minnesota 

July 26 -30 | Opening reception: July 28th 7-9pm

she could see where she was going: Ikkuna pattern (window) / 4×12 / encaustic, mixed media on birch panel / © Natalie Salminen Rude

In this series of encaustic prints and paintings, I celebrate the inimitable Finnish textile design company, Marimekko, a 70-year-old company envisioned and actualized largely at the hands of women. Launching such inventive and forward-leaning design work was no easy task for these female creatives, considering the era; yet with much grit and determination – sisu in Finnish – they pursued design excellence and sowed seeds for the company to grow into a worldwide cultural and creative pillar.

Marimekko has long had artistic and ancestral influence in my life. Growing up, my Finnish grandparent’s home was full of Marimekko’s bright and spirited textiles. There was something compelling about the work that my little mind could not yet articulate. Later, my adult eyes would smile in reflective memory as I came to understand not only their design strength, but also the brilliant spirit of this Finnish company to which I had an ancestral connection. Marimekko’s history paints a story of artistic tenacity and beautiful innovation, characteristics I would lean on to guide me as an artist and mother. 

Using encaustic, a beeswax medium painted in layers, I’ve combined Marimekko’s iconic textile patterns as well midcentury photographs of Marimekko models to create new worlds that celebrate Finnish heritage while honoring the creative and playful spirit of these sisu women who determined to bring about a bold, creative and beautiful world through their art and design. May their iconic spirit and play continue to flourish and influence little would-be-artists worldwide. 


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