Mapping Via Plant Dyes

I am a Finnish-Canadian textile artist inspired by my family's immigration to Canada in the 1950s.  While honoring this moment of history, I engage with my Scandinavian heritage by bringing it to the present via ethical foraging, plant-dyeing and handweaving. While ethically foraging in the urban and rural environments of my surroundings, I use plants, trees, mushrooms, and flowers to create plant-dyes. After dyeing fibres with these plant-dyes, I stitch and weave works of art, imbuing a sense of place into my materials and fostering connections with both the land and local communities via site-specific growing, foraging, and plant-dyeing workshops. 

My work and life are centered in a rural community that has a high percentage of Finnish immigrants. In this environment, being surrounded by boreal forests and a rich cultural heritage, I’ve been inspired to incorporate traditional Finnish handweaving, Raanu, into my artistic practice. Raanu weaving (translating the landscape into woven bands of colour) was practiced extensively in Scandinavia during the mid-20th century, though it no longer is, skipping generations of practitioners.

I ignited my passion for foraged colour as an artist in residence in Iceland (2018) where I foraged locally-specific plants to dye, felt, and stitch works that visually and conceptually related to the land on which they were created. Additional artist residencies FinlandToronto (2019), and Iceland (2021) allowed me to continue researching regional plant dyes and combine them in Raanu - style weavings. In 2020 I focused the research in Northern Ontario, foraging from spring through fall and documenting the gradation of seasonal colour from Kaministiquia to St. Joseph’s Island across the north shore of the Great Lakes.