I was born in 1975 in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, and I spent there my childhood and my 20's. As a child I thought I'd be a vet when I grew up, but instead of that I ended up making animal dolls.
I was very happy and lucky too when I was accepted to the University of Art and Design Helsinki. I learned some weaving, knitting and fabric printing and most of all embroidering. Embroidery has always been my favourite.The school years were quite hard for me, I wasn't a good student at all, but I managed to get a BA degree in Textile art.
About three years ago I got a chance to move to the countryside, and now I live in a little village with my husband and our cat. Before soft sculptures I made animal dolls for many years. They were more like human beings with animal faces. Actually I was quite frustrated before I found Etsy. I couldn't find a place to sell my work, I still don't sell anything locally.
At the moment I don't work another job. I try to sew my animals full-time and really try to be more productive, but I am slow. That was a problem for me in the school too. I often missed the deadline and I just couldn't make my work ready in the given time. Also I was, and still am very shy and speaking about my work in the front of the group and teachers was a nightmare.
I find many of my ideas from animals and stories and news about animals. Our neighbour has horses and ponies and I can see them from my window when I work. Last summer a moose mother and her two children came to our garden nearly every evening and ate apples from our apple trees.
The process of making my animals often starts from a fabric that feels interesting. I have collected materials, old lace and buttons. Usually when I start, I don't have a clear image what the new animal is going to be like. Doing a lot hand stitching gives me time to figure that out.
When I look back to the animals I have made, one recurring thing is that they often carry something on their backs. They carry stones, snow, clouds and shadows. That burden, something heavy or light, they carry with themselves is part of their identity and not something they could put down if they wanted. For me, it’s symbolizing anxiety or lasting melancholy, not only in a negative way. I put my animals in capes to protect them and to offer them shelter from cold. The war horse and your rabbit need their white capes to stay invisible in snow and to hide from their enemies, They would be very vulnerable without their capes.I do feel some affinity with my animals, their quietness and their inward character. At the moment I only make these animals and some embroidery, but I hope I’ll find some time soon to take up weaving again.