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Mirja Marsch: Stitches, Sequins and Fragments *

30 Sep

Friday morning (September 27th)  I was heading towards my Finnish class ** when the latest exhibition to be held at Malmitalo caught my eye. The gallery is situated to the left as you enter the main entrance and right at the foot of the stairs that lead to the second floor classroom area. Impossible to miss if you need to go upstairs.

The exhibitions generally run three to four weeks and feature different art-forms – photography, painting, textiles, mixed media etc. I popped my head in as the space had been empty earlier in the week and I wanted to see what the new exhibition was all about. Imagine my surprise and joy when I saw the first picture (actually the third one in the slide show below). Buttons, paint, sequins and a subject who was just oozing so much attitude that I wanted to reach out and touch her. I snapped a quick picture thinking I would send it to my mum or my sister – they are both up to their elbows in creative ventures. Quilts, beading, scarves and mixed media, you name it, they are creating it.

Then I looked around, and immediately gasped (with joy!). All around the room were similar pieces of art. So, camera in hand (phone really) I scooted around the gallery and snapped a quick picture of everything on display. Here is the gallery, along with the names, mostly Finnish with some English. My pictures really don’t do the work justice.

If you are in Helsinki in the very near future, I highly recommend that you get out to Malmi (connections are at the end of this post) and have a look at the exhibition. I grabbed a postcard and the bio of Mirja Marsch and read with interest that she is a member of the Finnish Felting Association. I did a felting course last year, and while my output was limited, I quite enjoyed the process of making felt!

The exhibition runs 26.9.2013 – 19.10.2013 in the Malmitalo Gallery. I will definitely share more about Malmitalo in the future. There is always something interesting there! Malmitalo is a multipurpose building in Malmi, close to the railway station and the bus terminal.

Getting there: P,I,N,K (yes Pink) trains from Helsinki to Malmi station (Note the trains themselves are not pink!). Bus 69, 70, 70T, 73, 73B, 73N, 76A, 76B, 77A, 78, 79, 512, 519, 520, 522 and 522K.

* The original title of this exhibition is Mirja Marsch Pistoja, Paljetteja ja Sirpaleita
** I’m studying Finnish at the North Eastern campus of Helsinki’s Finnish Adult Education School. The campus is just one part of Malmitalo.

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Two little letters: part I

19 Sep

H and H are the two letters I’m referring to. As in Heather’s Helsinki. They popped into my head earlier this afternoon when I was in the pet shop of all places. This coming Saturday they are taking part in a street festival of sorts.

The street’s name is Hitsaajankatu (Welder’s Street). The area was formerly an oil terminal, and has been reclaimed and turned into a very nice residential / commercial district. Lots of the streets in this area have industrial related names. It’s a very common feature of the street naming process in many parts of Helsinki – the names might reflect the previous use of the area or concentrate on a theme.

The street festival that is coming on Saturday is Hitsin Hulinat. A loose translation is Hell’s Craziness or Hells’ Big Noise. The idea is that all the shops in the area will be having big sales and nice happenings as well. Hitsaajankatu has a mixture of outlets and regular shops. The pet shop falls into the later category, while further up the street is Mr. 14’s favourite shop; Outlet 6, an outlet shop that specialises in skate wear.

Participants and some of their offers!

Participants and some of their offers!
(Click to enlarge image)

The pet shop promise discounts and will have a trainer on hand to give dog training tips. Although our Perry is well-trained, there are a couple of issues that would benefit from some additional work. I’m working on reducing my wardrobe, so I’ll pass on the clothes outlets this time around. Perhaps lunch at Hanko Sushi is on the cards though. I’m pretty certain I know where Mr. 14 will want to go…

Use the picture above, and the two maps below if you are in need of some retail therapy. Have fun out there!

Open this link to a custom-made map with all the listed outlets for your convenience! https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zTLS007KwFxU.kYVrvsJBFej4

Getting there: Helsinki metro station Herttoniemi is a short 5 minute walk away.

PS: Only 27 days to go now…

… and the weather is…

5 Jul

I was reading our daily paper earlier in the week and came across some interesting numbers. For the month of June, 2013 there were … wait for it… 78,000 lightning strikes in Finland. Yes, that is correct seventy-eight thousand. That’s an awful lot of electricity.

Lightning 2013

Lightning 2013

The next interesting statistic to grab my attention was the fact that we had 17 official ‘hot’ days! You may well ask what constitutes a hot day in Finland – any day where the temperature exceeds 25 degrees centigrade. Helsinki itself only had 9 such days. Check out the little snapshot I snipped from a site called Accu Weather.com. Double click the picture to read in detail.

June weather stats

June weather stats

Taste of Helsinki 2013…

11 Jun

…is coming sooner than you think!

I missed the inaugural Taste last year. Bad timing and bad organisation. Not this year. We have tickets and I’ve been scouring the menu trying to create my ultimate night out. I think dessert will be ‘SALT-CARAMEL CAKE with pine fudge and rhubarb’ from Juuri, and starter is looking more and more like ‘ORGANIC BEEF CARPACCIO, beetroot aioli and juicy salad’ from Bistro O mat. Main course is causing me all sorts of difficulties – there are 12 really great options and while I can’t try them all, I think I should make a decision before I get there 🙂

So, what is Taste of Helsinki? I hear you ask. As per their own site it’s a gourmet food and beverage festival, a boutique picnic, a journey! Where else can you sample the best of Finnish Food and be entertained at the same time? Here is a really good guide to the Taste which as well as being informative, is also really easy to read!

As I type this, the clock is ticking. Only 1 day, 12 hours, 39 minutes and a few seconds to go! Actually for me it will be a little more as we will be heading to the dinner session on Thursday night. Either way, as I mentioned, it’s just around the corner!

The clock is still ticking

Now, if you are wondering why I insist on abbreviating the title to the Taste, well that stems from attending what is now called The Taste Festival in my home city of Hobart, Tasmania. It’s been running for 24 years already and is known just as the Taste. Old habits really do die hard.

In the meantime, I’ll be reporting back after I’ve enjoyed my own Taste of Helsinki!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

17 May

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be on the water and visiting one of Helsinki’s pearls: Kaunissaari (Beauty or Beautiful Island). It’s a very interesting island, almost in the open sea, one side covered with thick forest and the opposite side featuring wind-swept rocks. Although it’s not a big island, 2 km long and about 800 metres wide, it takes a good couple of hours to walk around and savour the nature. I took the camera along with the intent to capture any pattern that caught my eye: some are man-made, some courtesy of mother nature. Unfortunately the battery was empty before my walk was finished, so I had to fall back on plan B, my phone!

Pine-cone Starfish

Pine-cone Starfish

I didn’t get very far before sight this was on the ground in front of me. The longer I looked at it, the more convinced I was that it was starfish that had been pulled apart.

As we made our way along the path it was very quiet. The ‘summer’ season has just started and there weren’t so many people on the island. The guest harbour was emptying as everyone started heading back to their home port.

Birch Forest

Birch Forest

There is something very haunting about a birch forest that has no leaves. Although it won’t be long and this forest will have its green cover on.

Valkovuokko

Valkovuokko

The forest floor close to the path was covered with this lovely valkovuokko (wood anemone) and when I stooped over taking this particular picture a couple passing by made a comment joking that I should hurry as there weren’t many around 🙂

 The island has plenty of facilities for day visitors and campers alike. There’s a dog park, saunas to rent, a very cute little cafe, oversized board games and a meandering nature path. Before we got to the nature path there was something we had to take care of though! Coffee and pulla, the staples of Finnish social life.

Nautical Theme

Nautical Theme

Nothing says nautical quite like red, blue and sails. This was inside the cafe looking back to the large sheltering umbrella’s on the terrace. While I was fluffing around with the camera a customer came in to charge his phone. That’s one thing to remember, there’s no electricity service. Strictly candles, grills and generators.

Oversized Chess Pieces

Over-sized Chess Pieces

Remember the over-sized board games? You weren’t sure exactly what I meant were you? If chess is not your thing also on offer are darts, volley ball and the age-old favourite of chilling in a hammock with a good book!

Wood Stack Art

Wood Stack Art

There is an art to stacking wood. It takes an extra special talent to make your wood-stack look like… an Angry Bird perhaps!

Weathered wood

Weathered wood

If you are interested to visit Kaunissaari, you can catch a ferry from Vuosaari. The journey takes approximately one hour each way. Alternatively, if you have access to a boat of your own, head to the sheltered guest harbour at the end of the island.

I’ll leave you with this detail of a cabin up close.

By the way, please let me know what you think of the pictures all the way down the left and the text on the right. I thought I’d try something new and now it feels like it doesn’t quite work. I might just have to come back and do some editing later.

So if you want to see other entries from this week’s challenge, head over to here and follow the ping-backs!

Caption time!

2 Apr

Caption this photo:

I’m sure you can do better than: Somewhere in Helsinki!

My first competition of the year! Actually my first competition ever 😉

The rules are pretty simple: write a caption for this photo in the comments section below before 30th April 2013. *

Prizes & categories are:
most original: Design napkins & lid-support (Iittala);
most amusing: set of 5 vintage poster style postcards;
most accurate: futuristic Finnair playing cards

Need a hint? Ask me a yes/no question in the comments.

Thinking caps on! Your time starts NOW 🙂

* Fine print: comments received after April 30 2013 will be appreciated, just not in the running for one of the groovy prizes on offer. Judges decision is final. Bribery attempts will be acknowledged, they just won’t accept the final outcome 🙂

Here’s to 2013!

1 Jan

I’d like to wish a Happy New Year to all of my visitors, past and present!

2012 was Helsinki’s 200th birthday, and it was the year that Helsinki was the World Design Capital. For me personally, it was the year I met Tom from Yobot, only to mourn his loss a few short months later. I’m happy to say that Tom’s family are continuing the business and I’m glad to have been able to play a small part in this resurrection.

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2013 will bring! For those of you looking forward to the summer, we know that the Tall Ships will be visiting Helsinki in July this year. Winter has its attractions though, and the very first event coming our way is Lux Helsinki. I’ve missed this event in previous years (this is the fifth time the event has been run) and plan on visiting as many of these installations as possible.

The first Restaurant Day of the year (Ravintola Päivä) will be held on February 17th and while I’ll be out-of-town for this winter foodie festival, I’ll certainly be around for the next one, scheduled for May 2013. This wonderfully unique event first originated in Helsinki in 2011, and has spread around the world. Amsterdam to Zürich, Denmark to Japan and a dozen places in between, there is almost sure to be a Restaurant Day coming to a location close to you!

There is an outdoor art exhibition held in Kivinokka every summer year. It’s a very special and unique exhibition that uses the environment as the stage. The event has been organised every year since 2003, so this year being the 10th anniversary I’m hoping there is something extra special on offer. Either way, I’ll be visiting and writing about Kivinokka in the coming months. Here is a little taste of what you can expect from the 2011 exhibition.

Sisu Exhibition
(Kivinokka 2011)

Looking forward to sharing Helsinki with you in 2013!