Crafting Abroad: Aniko
Remember that we had a periodically alternation in this series? Europ (me) – Asia (Rukmini) – Europe (Karin) – Asia (Onellyantie) … and yes. Today, we’re back in Europe. And again in Nortern Europe, in Finland to be exact.
(May I just mention that this order wasn’t planned but was totally random depending only on the order of answers sent to me ;))
Today I’d like to introduce you to Aniko. “She is Hungarian, did a lot of stop-and-starting in her 30 odd years, and right now is settling down in a country in Northern Europe, getting used to long dark winters and summers of the midnight sun”, as she describes herself on her blog.
Please meet her:
In your own words, who are you and what do you do? I’m Aniko and I write my blog Idle Needle about life in a small Finnish town, my vintage finds and the crafty stuff I get up to while being a new mom.
Where are you from? Originally I’m Hungarian but have been living away from my country for a long time. Currently I live in the South of Finland; my partner and I moved to his hometown there a couple of years ago.
What is the nearest “big” city or district to you? There are no real big cities in Finland, but the capital Helsinki – I’m sure everyone has heard of that one – is only a few hours’ drive from here.
What crafts do you like to do? I’m best with a needle and a thread, be it hand stitching or machine sewing, so I mainly do sewing-related crafts. However, it’s among my plans to pick up on crafts that I used to do but haven’t touched for a while, like knitting and lino-cutting. It also would be nice to learn something new if opportunity came, like bookbinding or rug making.
What craft supplies do you have a difficult time finding in your area? Are the costs reasonable or is crafting very expensive in your area? I will answer these two questions in the same time. I tend to try and find all my craft supplies from thrift shops, flea markets or from other second-hand sources. It’s partly because Finland is an expensive country, but also because I really enjoy the challenge of hunting down things I need or want from the thrifts, while keeping to a small budget. Resourcefulness and the limitations of thrifty living are essential to my creative process – it sparks ideas in a way that the abundance and immediacy of a retail store would never do.
Do you use the internet or mail order products from other areas for hard to find items? Rarely. If something really essential is missing to my project and the thrifts won’t yield it, I might go online for it. However, before that, I have a look if I can get it locally from a small business – as much as I can, I try to support small local enterprise before turning to big chains.
They say that with recent popularity, crafting is a revolution of sorts. Is crafting huge where you’re from? Or is it the movement gaining momentum? I reckon crafting has always been very popular with the Finns, judging by what I see on offer in the flea markets. It’s also true that it has a new wave of revival here too. Tuunaus or in English, upcycling is a recent word added to the modern vocabulary – it comes from the English word (car-)tuning, and it means turning something useless or not very good into something cool.
Regionally, what type of crafts are popular? Every single woman from young to old seems to know how to knit a pair of woolly socks, or a hat. The long cold winters are definitely an inspiration and motivating factor. Needle felting is also quite popular, but maybe more so with the older generations. A lot of young people are into furnishing their homes with hand-made and vintage, so related home-decorating crafts and doing up old furniture are widely practiced too.
Are there any projects or genres that are specific to your region? There is a region nearby with a tradition of making beautiful bobbin lace. Have a peek here at a young man’s awesome bobbin lace related work.
Crafting with birch bark is also very typical to this area, as is making himmeli.
Anything you’d care to add about crafting in your area? A lot of people think that Finland is part of Scandinavia – it’s not so. Finland is part of the Nordic countries, which is Finland, Iceland and the three Scandinavian countries together: Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Scandinavia’s ancient culture and native tongues go back to the Vikings and the Germanic language group, while Finland doesn’t share these same roots – hence the partition.
But of course the traditions, the crafts and many other things have been influenced by the Scandinavian neighbourhood. A particular vintage local craft product I love finding in the thrifts is the ryijy or otherwise known as the rya rug – I collect them as much as luck and budget lets me. I also have a secret dream that maybe I’ll start making my own rya rugs in the near future…
Share with us your three favorite crafts/projects you’ve created! My current favourite is the kaleidoscope baby quilt I’ve made while I was pregnant. It was my first ever quilting project, so I’m very proud of how it turned out.
The zombie doll I made for a swap also deserves a mention. It included a lot of spontaneous ideas and lots of delicate hand stitching.
And last but not least, my sewing chair makeover made me feel like I can do anything with a needle and a thread if I really put my mind to it.
Where can we find you? Pop over to idleneedle.blogspot.com! I post something new every week.