Helsinki: Hanna-Kaisa Korolainen

12.08.2022 hrs 13:30
Behind the plain facade in the basement of a house in Kumpula, is the shared studio space of four artists bursting with creativity. One of the creatives working in the idyllic wooden house neighbourhood is the artist, designer and artisan Hanna-Kaisa Korolainen.

The multi-talent works with textile art, ceramics and glass. Besides that, Hanna-Kaisa is also a researcher and lecturer at the Aalto university’s Department of Design.

-Originally I graduated with a BA in photography from Turku University of Applied Sciences and after that I ended up in the fashion industry in Paris and Brussels for 10 years. I started as a sales person in a clothing shop and ended up designing prints for fabrics. Because of my background in photography, I knew how to use Photoshop, which wasn´t that common during this time. After I returned to Finland, I started to make fabrics for Marimekko, together with the artist Paavo Halonen, the artist tells about her background.

While designing patterns, Hanna-Kaisa felt she needed more professional skills, so she applied and got a place at the masters programme in textiles at the Aalto University. This spring she graduated with a doctorate in arts from the Department of Design at the Aalto University and her doctoral thesis, The Making of Inspiration – From Monet to Warhol and beyond (Aalto Arts Books, 2022), was published as a book.

Hanna-Kaisas process is largely based on inspiration and her process is driven by her source of inspiration. Besides her thesis, part of her doctoral studies was a series of exhibitions, where she delved deeper into the questions raised in her thesis. She focused on each subject for about a year and a half. Her working method is quite intuitive and dependent on the materials she is using. As an example Hanna-Kaisa was inspired by the iconic Liekki-rug (liekki = flame) by Akseli Gallen-Kallela and in the process the flames first became octopus tentacles and then snakes.

-In the end the snakes didn’t leave me alone, I made snakes in every form and they appeared on textiles, ceramics and glass. Even my thesis has a snake on the cover.

In her works she is pushing the limits of design. On a first glance her work often appears as design, but they are rarely objects made for everyday use. She has for example coloured silk textiles with dry pastels.
-The ideas are mad for a designer but quite tame within the visual arts. To make things by hand is important to me and in my work I’m trying to reinterpret traditional artisan techniques in a modern way, Hanna-Kaisa explains.

  Collaboration is also important for the artist. While creating her works, Hanna-Kaisa has collaborated with glass blowers and potterers. She feels that in the creative process she’s just one component among others.

-My own professionalism is growing when I work with others and I always learn something new. It’s really inspiring to collaborate!

Her studio is also communal, even though each artist working in the space has their own separate artistic career. Besides Hanna-Kaisa the artists Elina Laitinen, Sonja Tolonen and Marie-Andrée Godin are working in the studio. The latter is also taking part in Konstrundan.

-We share our worries and compete over who gets to stroke Elina’s dog, Hanna-Kaisa describes the team spirit.

This year Hanna-Kaisa is busy with several projects and exhibitions in Finland and abroad. At the moment she’s working on a pair of rugs inspired by the production of the japanese artist Ogata Korin (1658-1716). Korin is best known for his screen paintings that are registered as national treasures in Japan, but just like Hanna-Kaisa, Korin did a lot of other things, such as textiles, ceramics and lacquer work. A whole school is still following this master of empty space, but Hanna-Kaisa has made her own, soft interpretation in the form of a tufted and brushed open rug. In an exhibition held at Hvitträsk in the summer of 2020 Hanna-Kaisa studied the similarities between the golden age of Finnish art and japonism. The rug is a continuation of this process.

During Konstrundan, visitors can follow as Hanna-Kaisa works on a large-scale rug. Sketches and paintings will also be shown, as they are a huge part of the artists work:

-I study the subject over and over again through painting and drawing. Painting for me is like thinking without words.

Visitingpoint during Konstrundan 2022

133. Hanna-Kaisa Korolainen - Studio Limis

Ida Taavitsainen