It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Arts and Archives 2013: Day in the glass country

(Oiva Toikka birds at Nuutajärvi glass factory and craft school)

The glass village of Nuutajärvi with its picturesque buildings is home to Finland’s oldest glassworks and largest community of independent glass designers, glassblowers and a glass school. The oldest factory of Nuutajärvi Glass was founded in 1793, and it is the oldest glass factory in Finland that is still in function. Today Nuutajärvi factory site is still one of the most well-preserved industrial milieus in Finland representing the solid Neo-renaissance architecture style. The oldest buildings are the bell tower from the 18th century and the empire style manor house built in 1822. Worker huts have been built between 1860s and 1940s. Nowadays the factory produces famous Finnish art glass. For instance, the birds of OivaToikka are made here.
 (Visavuori, Emil Wickström´s home and studio)

Visavuori, the museum of the life and works of sculptor Emil Wikström (1864-1942) and his grandson, cartoonist KariSuomalainen (1920-1999) was our second stop after a short drive from Nuutajärvi. This place is said to be the most beautiful museum in Finland. Wikström designed the buildings himself, beginning in 1894 with a combined studio and home. It was destroyed by fire in 1896 and rebuilt in 1902 in the national romantic style with many art nouveau details, and is the finest example of Karelian architecture in existence. 
(Orchid by Timo Sarpaneva, crystal, air bubble made with a wet wooden stick, cut and polished, Triennale di Milano1954, named for the most beautiful object of the year 1954)

After Visavuori we visited and got an excellent tour of the Iittala Glass factory which was opened after the Senate of Imperial Finland granted a permit for a glass factory in April 1881. We saw the famous designs of Alvar Aalto, Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva, and Kaj Frank. The heart of Iittala’s design philosophy is formulated along Kaj Franck’s early thinking. According to Franck, “objects should always be appropriate, durable and functional.” This is why one of the most important functions of design is to make sure that objects designed for everyday use should be universally usable. We spent a long time in the actual factory studying how the production and quality control operated at Iittala.
(Interior from Hvitträsk)

Hvitträsk museum which was the last stop for the day before our hotel Kalastajatorppa in Helsinki. Finnish architects Eliel Saarinen, Herman Gesellius, and Armas Lindgren created this artistic, lakeside retreat for themselves between 1901 and 1904.  The three men had established their partnership a few years earlier and built Hvitträsk to consolidate their practice and to escape the congestion and noise of city life.  The main building, designed in National Romantic style, built of logs and natural stone, was both a common studio and a home for Eliel Saarinen. 
Even though we were late and arrived after closing time, we got a very informative tour of the museum and were also given some time to explore the building and environment on our own.
(Sunset at Hilton Kalastajatorppa, Helsinki)
Please view more pictures by clicking here (coming soon)

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