Grants and residencies

Research and art

Taiteen maisteri Martikainen Outi and working group (Life among looms)

40000 €

Life among looms – a life time made public through a private collection

Tieteellinen tutkimus ja taiteellinen työ / niihin pohjautuva työ | Kaksivuotinen

For centuries textiles for interiors and clothing have been produced by hand in most homes in Finland. Even with industrialization, urbanization and increasing economic wealth the access to looms remains and the possibility to create textiles by hand has been a desired activity. Today centrally located hand-weaving spaces can still be found in the largest Finnish cities. The fact that the interest in making has not stopped, when people did not have to weave out of economic need anymore, implies that the weaving process may mean more to people in Finland than solely the making of an object. We wish to communicate this side of Finnish textile history by publishing the story of Finnish weaving teacher Kaija Mälkki. Kaija taught weaving between 1965–1993 and has been part of the lives of thousands of Helsinki citizens: her students. Their stories are taking place during Finland’s historical development from rural to urban society, they all have their starting point in leisure time hand-weaving, but also touch on family structures, urbanisation, education, gender equality and are extensively documented by Kaija through her diaries, guest books, photographs, textile samples and clothing a.o. Kaija Mälkki´s material offers a micro history of the development of the Finnish society during a period of great change. By documenting and publishing this material, we wish to put focus on hand making in the privates sphere and discuss its relevance in today’s digitalized society.