Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday is my day: Maari

I hope you are wearing enough warm clothes because today we will travel up above the Artic Circle, to beautiful and peaceful Northern Finland and meet Maari from
She is a ceramic artist who loves nature and raku.
Please visit and ♥ her lovely shop after the trip!

Wholesale Lot - Set of 10 OOAK Koivu Raku Birch Eggs - Assorted Colors - Shipping Included to USA, Canada and Europe
by: Maari

My Day Is Friday
I usually wake up at 6 A.M. I eat my breakfast and enjoy my coffee in a leisurely way while reading the paper. After reading the paper, I get on the computer and check my e-mails, etc. I leave for work around 8:30 A.M.
My transportation to work!
Just kidding!
I wanted to show you one unusual mode of transportation we use here in Lapland; the kicksled! It is an ecological way to get around without pollution or noise and a great exercise. It is made out of Finnish birch, of course! I do use mine occasionally, but not often enough. Today, I actually drove, because it was quite cold and crispy outside. The temperature was -22 Celsius (about -7.5 Fahrenheit). I live in Sodankylä, Finland, which is located in the region of Lapland 130 km (80 miles) north of the Arctic Circle. The house in the background is my home and the trees in the yard are my "home birches" that are an endless source of inspiration for my raku art.
Kicksled up close.
Closer shot of the wintry birch trees in my yard.
I pass the Kitinen River on my way to work. The frozen river is a shortcut for many pedestrians. School children have their cross-country skiing gym classes on the river this time of year. There are several snowmobile paths there as well. I have even seen cars drive on the frozen river!
If I’m kicksledding, bicycling or walking I pass the Old Church on my way to work. It is a wooden church built in 1689.
If I’m driving I pass the New Church, built in 1859. Both churches are very close to my workshop, which is located in the "Church Park" area.
My workshop is located in the old fire station of Sodankylä. Hence, the big tower. The building will soon be demolished and I will need to find a new location for my workshop.
The front door of my workshop.
Inside my workshop where I have my workspace and a little shop.
Today, I’m glazing raku eggs that are part of my Koivu Collection inspired by birch trees, which we have everywhere in Finland. The eggs have already been ceramic fired and are getting their "Koivu" glaze now. "Koivu" means birch in Finnish.
Tiles, vases, owls and bells ready to be glazed and raku fired. I do my raku firing outside in my yard at home. I have a raku firing day just about every two weeks. It is always a very LONG and tiring day, because I have to make sure that everything that I have ceramic fired and glazed up to that point gets raku fired. I love the raku technique, because you can’t control the outcome of the final product.
Raku is multi-stage and laborious, where ceramics are fired outside in flames and the smoke of the kiln gives a captivating finish. After quickly reaching a temperature of about 1000 degrees Celsius (1800 Fahrenheit) the item is then placed in a tin container filled with wood chips, pine twigs or sawdust that catch on fire. The thermal shock causes cracklings that become black with the smoke. The item is then dipped in cool water or snow (we have a lot of that on hand in Lapland!), which sets the final design for the network of cracklings characteristic to raku, making each item a one of a kind piece. My favorite part of raku is the surprise at the end!
My Raku tile depicting the "Old Church" of Sodankylä.
Koivu Vases ready to ship. After the raku firing I sand any rough parts of the piece so it is smooth to the touch. The Koivu vase is my best seller. It is an especially popular wedding gift.
Today I'm getting a shipment of clay. That just about wraps it up for the work today. I need to go home and get ready for a trip to the cabin, which is about 40 km (25 miles) away in the middle of the woods with no accessible roads so we need to go there with the snowmobile.
On a snowmobile ready to go to the cabin for some rest and relaxation.
I took this picture on my previous trip to the cabin, but wanted to show you what it looks like in daylight. It is a one-room cabin with a loft sleeping area and a sauna. It has no electricity or running water and an outhouse for a bathroom. My husband built the cabin with his brothers. This is where we like to go to get away from it all to unwind. No need for a lot of room inside the cabin, because the nature that surrounds it is the only "living room" we need.
My "TV watching" for the night. Perfect way to end a long week. Thanks for coming for a visit to Lapland. Please come again!


  1. Oh! Little did I know about Finnland I see. Birches! Amazing! Beautiful work Maari! And I enjoyed visiting this beautiful snowy surrounding (though I'm happy we have finally spring here :)

  2. Wow! I really, really enjoyed meeting Maari & seeing the amazing photos of her day. What a beautiful place, but I think I would rather visit in the summer when it's not so cold! I'm off to visit her Etsy shop!

  3. What a fantastic day! I love the deep of winter, with crunchy snow and the absolute silence of evrything else. All poised for a new year. Off to visit Maari's shop, love raku fired ceramics.

  4. I enjoyed reading this day of yours Maari ! I have never been to so high up in the north; Trondheim was the highest place I visited. But hubby has been in Lapland once.

  5. Oh gosh that snow!!! I just found her shop too heli, what a beautiful work she does:) Thank you for sharing Maari:)

  6. Thank you for sharing. Wow, it all looks so magical with all that snow! Your pieces fit perfectly that wonderland!

  7. Enjoyable story of a wonderful day - it was lovely to meet you and your beautiful creation, Maari. Thanks for sharing ladies... Btw, I do have this weird transportation - kick-sled in our country house and we also use it when it is slippery...

  8. Thank you for making me discover her, Heli. Her work looks very beautiful and elegant.

  9. absolutely absolutely fabulous .... I adore these fridays !!!! Maari what an amazing life beautiful and full of natural inspiration

  10. Heli, thank you so much for including my Mom in your blog. I have been reading about all the different artists through your blog now and love how I can learn about each artist and their country and city/town they live in all at once. By the way, my Mom's Koivu vase is on the Etsy voter and she sure would appreciate your votes!

  11. Beautiful work and an interesting feature! Need to get to Sodankylä one of these days:)

  12. Hi Maari, thanks for sharing your day :)
    I really like your Koivu Vases.
    I used to have a Kicksled when I was a kid.It was a lot of fun to use and fast going downhills.

  13. Thank you Heli for including me in your blog. I too have discovered such wonderful artists around the world through this blog, which I have been reading ever since you contacted me. Thank you all for your kind and encouraging comments. Maari

  14. a wonderful friday! the commute to work looks positively glorious. enjoyed getting to know you, maari.