Finnish Sauna -project

As you may know, as a Finnish person I loooove sauna, hehe. Here in UK it’s been a bit of a struggle to find a nice sauna. For instanc, most of the time saunas in gyms are electric heated and temperature is controlled; steam is always very less and air is too dry, that is, not at all what sauna supposed to be. Of course heat is still there and you get relaxed but if you have ever experienced sauna with a wood-burner there’s no going back to electric ones. Löyly, (=steam) in wood-burner Saunas is so gentle and moist, which gives you totally different feeling as if the whole sauna is giving you a warm and gentle hug.

After introducing Finnish sauna to my hubby during our first trip to Finland we couldn’t stop dreaming of our own one. And, as my husband is super handy and creative he suggested why don’t we build it in our shed. Obviously neither did he or I have built sauna before, but after research and consultation from my family and friends we decided to go for it. We ordered sauna kiuas (=wood burner) and stones from Finland and rest of the materials we purchased in UK.

It took us about six months to complete the work. All the credits goes to my husband, who designed and executed the project. He had always some extra energy to jump into the project in the evening after his actual work. My role was to give my approvals on designs and workmanship, and of course take care of our little one who was at that time veeeeery little <3.

Now, when it is already over one year since we started the project, I couldn’t be happier about the outcome and I’m consider us so lucky that we have this luxury to have our own sauna. It gives such a deep relaxation and revives energy levels. Also, it is amazing remedy for skin as steam opens pores and makes it feel soft. These days we have launched Sunday Day Sauna, which is all about preparing to take sauna together. That is, bringing wood inside the sauna, filling up the water bucket, light the fire in the burner and steer it while sauna is getting warm, let alone enjoying amazing fragrance, which is floating around the sauna room. It is like beautiful ritual one can experience. Then after sauna enjoying aftersauna feeling with some beverages and light food. It is amazing. On top of that, as it is handmade by my husband it has certain energy and feeling when entering to the sauna. It’s like an artwork.

The video above is made by my hubby. Please have a look and enjoy! If you have any questions regarding sauna, please do not hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to have some conversation around it.

Polar Bear in Spring

Spring is the time when nature wakes up. Sunlight becomes stronger and days are getting longer and warmer. It is a big change for all of us. It is not only time for new beginning but can also be a threat. With my work I am expressing my concern towards fragile nature by composing a Polar Bear laying on ice while strong sun rays are melting his living territories.  Evaporating organic shapes of water gives its last shimmer in bright colors. Partially violent outlines of the bear in black and orange create contrast and illustrates distressed state of nature, last moments of Polar Bear.

This animation is the very first, of which I have ever created. It’s already 3 years old but I never publish it, I guess I felt too shy. It is based on my similar painting, which you can view here. My attention was to make the artwork alive, show a little glimpse of Polar Bears last moments. The theme of this artwork is quite sad but unfortunately that is the reality of Polar bears at the moment. You can read more about them here.

Waiting for the snow

“Autumn is definitely my favourite season. What I love about it are colors of the nature and the quality of crisp air when the weather gets colder. It makes me feel calm and save.  Later, just before the first snow covers the ground, I can sense the stillness of the nature, it tells me that everything is fine and it is ready for winter.”

 

 

Watercolour, Gesso and Fibre-tip pen on 200g paper, A3

 

Nature and Lines

The first thoughts of making the below piece were to cherish the beauty of nature; point out the beautiful colors and shapes and note that eventually we all are part of it, as unfortunately we tend to forget it.  Later, working on the painting further, I noticed that the method I draw lines became equally important theme in the work. This was my first time I was working on with a fiber-tip pen on a heavy structured surface. That is, it was almost impossible to draw straight lines when using black pen. Instead of forcing the lines, this learning made me emphasise the beauty of structured surface and follow the material when forming lines; I wanted that lines can float freely. I found, it also supported the actual theme (cherish beauty of nature) as lines made the painting more lively and nature-like when I couldn’t completely control the outcome.


 

Work in Progress:

 

 

 


 

Finalised work

Watercolor, gesso and pen on 300g paper, size 68×98 cm

 

The Cardigan Bird

Recently I have worked on the Concept idea I Used to Be… where I have created a Concept Booklet vol.1 on the Cardigan Bird. Work is still on going, in fact, the Concept Booklet is the first step towards finalized concept, which I am going to develop further. So there will be more blog posts  to come on this project in future. Nevertheless, in this post I would like to share some glimpses of work in progress stages of the Cardigan Bird and my way of  handling the creative process. I want to stress that  process is never linear but it is going several rounds, validating information and ideas, and sometimes ending up at the starting point again.  In this post I  am concentrating only the character creation and leaving out the process of making the booklet since that is totally another story to share in another time.

Giving a deeper insight about my work, firstly, I want to point out that sustainable values are vital drivers in my work. I am exploring, how can I as an illustrator contribute on and increase awareness of socially and environmentally balanced way of living. Being more specific, my work raises the concern about the big amount of used, but wearable clothes that ends up in landfill every day. Thinking about my former degree in Fashion and clothing, it has given me the understanding of environmental and social impacts of fashion industry. Having mentioned that, I need to point out that not only industry but also consumers have a big role in a garment lifecycle as an end user. In my work I am particularly focusing on the consumer end; My aim is to inspire audience to see the beautiful opportunity in used garments, and encourage the viewer to reshape and produce something new out from so called fabric waste.

While looking at the possibilities, how garments can be reused I have become more and more interested in sustainable way of living. And in particularly I have looked at Slow Movement ideology as converse to fast pace consumer culture. The Slow Movement is a lifestyle, which considers aspects from environmental and social sustainability. The Movement addresses the issue of time poverty, it looks at today’s fast pace lifestyle arguing that it has caused the dis-connection between people, their family, friends, community, place and food (Slow Movement, 2016). In the other words, the Slow Movement is not only concentrating literally on the time has spend in doing things, but how time is spend; It stresses the conception of time allowing to have greater variety of speeds and selective slowness.

As an Illustrator I want to tell stories and evoke feelings with my works. Having mentioned that I started to think how I could reflect on above phenomenas; can I recognise some characteristic in different kinds of clothes, what kind of feelings clothes could evoke in us? I chose couple of  different types of garments (such as a cardigan, jeans, a t-shirt..) and analysed in what kind of occasions people are wearing them. Also I was looking at if the chosen clothes have some special features, which are standing out. By doing that I came up with the idea to create a concept I Used To Be… and tell a story of a garment by transforming it to a fairytale animal.  In the first Concept Booklet I decided to illustrate the new life of a cardigan and give an insight what slow living would be for the Cardigan Bird. For me the creative process is a lot about asking questions, that is the way I find my directions. So, I  started to doodle and alongside asked to myself what happened to a cardigan, what kind of life she had before? How the Cardigan looked like?  How she ended up to be a bird, did someone just abandoned her? How the transformed cardigan would look like? What does she do after transformation?


            

 

I wanted to get a refresher and understanding where I’m standing when I am talking about a knitted garments so i had a closer look on how a cardigan is made.  Even todays knitted clothes are mostly made by machines, there is still rich craftsmanship tradition alive, which, at least for me, is a source of inspiration giving authenticity when thinking the story, material properties and ways to illustrate the material and character.

         

        

I kept asking more questions: Is this concept only  about the a story of  a garment or could this reflect the feelings of a wearer too? If the cardigan was a real person, what kind of person she would be? Should I illustrate the owner of the cardigan as well? How to illustrate the transformation? What media I should choose and which color palette would work the best?

    

    

    

 

Thinking about the media, in general I am using watercolours and acrylics, which shapes the body of my portfolio quite clearly and that was the media used in this project as well. The Cardigan Bird got it shapes quite quickly and it needed only subtle fine-tuning while the project got further. Above illustrations are screen shots from the Booklet (background of the drawings are created by using Photoshop). I have used acrylics and pen; Cardigan Bird builds up green color blocks and blue outlines, which makes illustrations flat and static . Comparing these illustration to my previous projects, normally I use wider color palette, but here I wanted colors to be more controlled. Creating contrast to static appearance, I depicted the knitted tweed structure using quite freely yellow and pink brushstrokes & white pen on the green color blocked surfaces.  If you have had a look on the Booklet, you might have noted that I didn’t  illustrate much the world where the Cardigan Bird inhabits. Therefore, the next step is to focus on bringing bird’s living territories in life, which brings the concept to a new dimension and make charachter more real. Also, the transformation theme has become very important to me. Here the bird jumped out from the cardigan leaving behind a visible hole as a shape of bird. I see that this is a good start in illustrating transformation, though, when working on the concept further, I am aiming to explore more deeper the transformation theme.

 

              

Reference:
SLOW MOVEMENT (2016). Slow Movement: Making a Connection. [Online] Available at http://www.slowmovement.com [Accessed: 10 July 2016 ]*
*Reference content is only used for educational purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring

My cute little Orchid gave me inspiration for the below piece, which I finalised recently.  I was wondering how she looked so good since weeks had passed and I had forgotten to water her. I checked the vase and I could see little water at the bottom, but as the vase was too narrow, pot didn’t reach the bottom, and normally plant would have not survived. For my surprise, my persistent Orchid had grown a root through the small whole and now drank the leftover water. It really impressed me a lot.

With the illustration I want to cherish how amazingly nature finds its way to reach water and and sun.

Technique: Watercolor and India Ink on 300g/m2 aquarelle paper, size 50×65 cm