Finnish center hosts Taito summer workshop


FITCHBURG – If you’ve always wanted to try a traditional Finnish craft using natural materials, a guided skill or ‘taito’ workshop at the Finnish Center in Saima Park this summer could be just the ticket.

“Nowadays, many people see crafts as a hobby using plastic beads, polymers, glitter or artificial flowers,” said Marci Haneisen, member secretary of the Finnish Center in Saima Park. “Crafting is a cute hobby for making decorative and sometimes frivolous items. But traditional craftsmanship is all about skill.”

The idea of ​​making brooms or snowshoes or iron candle holders by hand is something that most people attribute to artisans.

However, for centuries craft meant the manufacture of items from local materials, and these skills were vital to a society’s existence.

Finnish Center at Saima Park Membership Secretary Marci Haneisen tests the solar dyeing process for the upcoming Taito workshop – Yarn Dyeing with Natural Materials. (COURTESY OF MARCI HANEISEN) “Homes were built and maintained using local materials and handcrafted tools,” Haneisen said. “Families were clothed in textiles made from local fibers. From wood carving and weaving to knitting and pottery, crafts allowed people to bring beauty into everyday life.”

Finland has a rich tradition of handicrafts and as a nation Finland is dedicated to the preservation and cultivation of Taito.

“Many traditional Finnish crafts were rooted in utilitarian purposes,” Haneisen said. “The rich history of Finnish knitting and crocheting meant beautiful and warm woolen clothing, from sweaters with intricately colored egg yolks to mosaic mittens with reindeer or snowflake patterns, among other designs.”

Crafts go beyond working with wool. Birch bark is cut into thin strips and woven into baskets. Twigs are bundled into brooms. Sami artisans carve birch burl into kuksa cups for drinking.

The Finnish crafts organization Taito, a national organization dedicated to supporting cultural, social and industrial policies related to crafts in Finland, was founded in 1913. The organization promotes the education and celebration of traditional Finnish crafts by promoting crafts for hobby and business.

Within the Finnish craft organization Taito, the nation of Finland is divided into 16 different Taito Sectors comprising almost 100 individual Taito shops where people come together to learn crafts.

“Shops sell handmade items made by local artisans, and Taito centers offer workshops and classes on everything from weaving and broom-making to knitting and macrame,” Haneisen said.

Each year, the Finnish craft organization Taito selects a specific craft technique of the year, which each Taito group across Finland explores with courses, workshops and occasional craft sessions.

“For 2022, the technique is to dye yarn with natural materials, and here is your opportunity to participate in that initiative right here in Fitchburg,” Haneisen said.

This summer, the Finnish Center is hosting a three-part workshop at Saima Park exploring the Taito technique of using natural materials to dye yarn.

Finnish craftsmen have been using vegetable dyes to create different colored fibers for woven Ryijy carpets, wall hangings and bedding for centuries.

“For this summer’s workshop, we will use the solar dyeing technique to dye a ball of yarn, and then each participant will use a technique of their choice — knitting, crochet, ryijy, or weaving — to create a handmade product,” Haneisen said.

Some of the items will be on display at the Tori on Saturday 18th September.

The cost is $15 per person, which includes tuition and scholarship during the project, as well as the following materials: two 220-yard skeins of stained wool, use of a large glass jar for solar dyeing, and various natural materials for dyeing.

All workshops will be held at Saima Park Function Hall, 67 Scott Road on Monday, August 15 from 9am to 11am; 29th August; and 12 September

The number of participants is limited to 12 participants and everyone must register in advance. To reserve a spot, email [email protected] with your name, phone number, and email address.


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