The crank for the back roll locked interestingly on some carved wooden hooks on the side of the loom.
There was this patched and worn sweater hanging in the display. There had been a young couple who fell in love. She knit him a sweater before he went off to war. She married someone else in his absence. He never married and lived a sort of hermits existence. He died with very few possessions. He did have the precious sweater repaired by himself over and over during his life.
There were mannequins behind glass wearing tradition clothing. Some of the clothing original and some painful reproductions. The clothes were red and blue and white. Madder and indigo were available in Finland in the closing years of the 19th century.
We all got very excited to find a display with actual madder roots and a brief history of how it was used. It grew well in the short Finnish summers and thrived in the soil there. Henri was excited as his grandparents have a lot of extra land on their farm to start cultivating it.
We had plenty of laughs naming the future madder- product-design-studio with plays on English and Japanese and Finnish words. We had plenty more laughs choosing the ideal red Finnish building as we drove along through the scenic lakeside birch forests.
Back to the museum...
The temporary exhibition upstairs was informative and we each fell into our own thoughts as we walked through.
The exhibition was simple enough. It centered around a 'make-it-by-hand' craft magazine called, 'Omin Kasin' which printed it's first issue in 1938 and it's last issue in 1971.
Those dates alone started the wheels turning. Russia , their big next door country had been their enemy and the Finns took sides with the Germans. Paying war reparations for helping with the blockade of St Petersburg put stress on the country's coffers in the post war years.
This magazines contents could not but reflect this reality.
" With Our Hands exhibition brings back memories from the past centuries. It presents parts of the development of Finnish handcraft, the craft industry, and design between the 1940s and the 1970's. The name of the exhibition refers to a magazine, which lived side by side with the Finns in the post war period. With it's handcraft instructions and tips the magazine marked a way to a happy and practical everyday life in an era with major social transitions.
The models, instructions and patterns in the magazine were designed to be useful for everyone. They were suited to a traditional farm household as well as to a modern urban home. Besides crafts, hints were given to fashionable dressing and interior decoration.
During World Was II clothes and supplies for the soldiers were made according to the instructions in the Omin kasin magazine. After the war there was a shortage of raw materials, but it was no reason to give up making handcraft. Instead new ways to fix, reuse and recycle the materials were invented. However, beauty was not forgotten: the companionship of practicality and beauty were highlighted in the magazine. "
I am interested to hear my readers thoughts and recollections on these kinds of magazines.