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Aino Kajaniemi
Please, wait for the image to be loaded! Aino Kajaniemi
20. Aino Kajaniemi Finland

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I studied at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki in the early 1980s and sat my final examinations there. First, I made sketches and showed them to my tutor Lea Eskola. She said: ‘The only way to weave these is with tapestry-weaving.’ So I started making tapestries for a very practical reason.

      In all art, you need your senses: your sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. The sense of touch is especially rich for textile art. It is said that the sense of touch is a human being’s most emotional sense. Textile brings us memories through our skin. We can find happiness by touching materials. In this way also, my textiles become intimate. The sense of touch teaches us to be present in the moment. Textile as a material brings softness and optimism to my pictures.

      Weaving is about making decisions. How thick or thin should the threads be? Should I combine threads to form different tones or use single colours? Should the surface be shiny or rough? Should I use create structure and effects using thicker materials? Should the weave be dense so that it obscures the warp threads or should the texture of the tapestry stand out and the fabric become almost transparent?

      Weaving is finding; even though I have practised this technique for over thirty years, I’m not in complete control of the threads. Chance has its role; e.g., when I weave a face, the threads may position themselves in such a way that a smile turns into sorrow or anger becomes joy. The execution demands relaxation and trust in the threads and in the technique. The materials and my handloom are not a challenge, but a work partner. Sometimes I decide and every now and then the threads and technique set the limits; then you just have to see the opportunities and the different solutions the new situation brings. That is the reason why nobody else can weave my sketches for me.

      The tapestry Mercury Hands over the Infant Bacchus to the Nymphs means for me taking care of each other. I think one of the most important concerns in the world and in Europe at the present moment is the condition of nature. I use symbols in my tapestries and in this case classical antiquity man is a metaphor for European culture and the monkey represents nature. Nature is also present in the old Brussels tapestry, so it was instinctive for me to choose it for the major role in my tapestry; I just moved the monkey from the bordure to the centre.