Spirals and bells from shores of Baltic Sea

I had long waited last weekend’s event and seminar “Spirals and bells from shores of Baltic Sea” that was held in Lieto Vanhalinna. There were nearly a hundred participants.


img_6768On Saturday we listened several very interesting stories about reconstructing Iron Age gowns, bronze spiral decorations, dyeing methods, making tablet woven trims and grave finds. It was also very nice to see people whose books or blogs I have red or to whom I have called or emailed before. There were also familiar faces from medieval markets.
I bought yarns for mittens and for making trims. Sellers had also readymade trims, jewelry, fabrics, hand craft supplies and shawls.

img_6758Evening dinner was very interesting. Most wore their Iron Age gowns. I was probably the only one in Karelian gown. There were several Mikkeli, Kaarina and Eura costumes. Raseko students made for us special Iron Age meal. It was exelent.

On Sunday we had a change to try Iron Age techniques and study clothing closely. I participated bronze spiral workshop that was taught by Jaana Ratas from Estonia. I thought that making these spiral decorations would be much easier. It seems that Iron Age dress makers made these decoration nearly nuclear war proof! They are very strong and will last longer than the dress they are attached in.

On afternoon I looked around more and visited rest of the workshops. I did spent some time in Mervis nalbinding workshop trying to learn Kekomäki stich. It was so difficult and after an hour I had just several knotted yarns in my hands. I did not give up and Eureka moment was 23.45 in Helsinki bus terminal. Then I finally found out how the stich should be made. Now I can make purse or mittens for my Iron Age gown.

Upeita Jaana Rataksen mallikuvioita Mervi Pasanen neuvoo


I am again amazed how it it possible to dye this kind of shades with plant dyes.
Indigo dyed blue fabric will be my new veil. It is hand loomed by weaving master from Savo.

Winter boots for using with Iron age Gown

You simply can’t live in Finland without proper winter shoes. Fins had to use shoes that will have similar insulating properties than Saami reindeer fur shoes have. So fur layer outside and good insulation with special good smelling grass. So far archaeologists haven’t found any Iron Age winter shoes from Finland. During the winter when these shoes were worn, you could not bury bodies deep enough for shoe preservation.

History of Finnish national costumes (Sirelius in the beginning of 1900) describes shoe types worn later 1600-1800. Elk, cow and forest reindeer fur was used for winter shoes. Usually tanning was done only for surface. Leather would then be more water resistant. The more east you go the taller boots were made.

I have tanned now a 2 sets of reindeer feet pelts. I used oak, birch, willow and spruce bark for tanning. Tanning process was successful. Unfortunately there are 2 spots that are shedding hair.

It is likely that my shoes will be hybrid between several primitive shoe styles used in Finland and West Russia. Shapes of the pelts dictate what shapes can be cut out of them.


Häme medieval market

img_4548This weekend I visited Hämeenlinna where Häme medieval market was held. I wore my Iron Age gown. This type of clothing was still used in Savo and Karelia when woman in western Finland wore already medieval kirtles.


From the market I bought leather for new shoes, belt mounts for medieval belt and silver Viking pendant that would be difficult to make. I also got mulberry silk embroidery yarns and wool yarn for shocks. Most special buy was replica of medieval drinking glass.

My Iron Age gown is nearly ready. I still need to make a ring and pair of pendants. It would also be good idea to have another dress. I do need birch bark wallet to replace fabric pouch I wear now.

On the way back I and my sister decided that next year we must wear medieval gowns…

Ähtäri Zoo Farm Animal Park

Zoo needed classrooms and farm Animal Park. I combined these to a plan of early 1900 school and farm. That time teachers had to keep farm animals. This farm will host events, school trips and visitors can join farm activities and taking care of animals.


All started from this farm sketch I made two years ago. Now farm animal park and school are ready and it is fun to compare sketch and final result. School and shed chanced their location and stable and cow house changed their position. Farm become larger and finer that was originally planned. Now there is functioning smiths forge and nearly all houses are larger.

Some smaller buildings are not ready yet and farm setting looks like this now.


Here are images from the Farm.



These paintings were used in information boards.