TUOHI MUORI PUOTI
Marjata Flander-Airola lives in a small residential area of Lahiti, a hundred miles outside of Helsinki. With short haire, her cap slightly askew, glasses and smiling eyes, she produces objects in her workshop (a wooden shed in the garden) using birch bark.
Accessories she invents including baskets, suitcases, bowls, slippers and even cases for old Nokias that no longer exist, except in her pocket. Her father taught her the trade: tearing the bark, pulling long narrow strips and cleaning them before weaving them. Her brother harvests the raw material. Her daughter helps with the sales and management of their little shop.
Our communication is clumsy. First on the telephone with her daughter who acts as interpreter, then with gestures and in approximate English. Whilst her husband repairs the caravan parked in their garden, Marjatta shows us her workshop, the strips of bark, her technique and stages of production. She also tells us about her life, the family business and a savoir-faire to which she devotes a serious and serene respect. Before leaving, she proudly invites us to take a last detour through the shrubs and the vegetable garden where she lets us taste unknown berries before a final goodbye from a garden swing. Amused.
Thank you Júlia Balcells Roca