Folklore and Fantasy

14 January 2009 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

I’ve always loved fairy tales and was fortunate enough to have discovered the wonderfully strange and surprising adult world of the true Brothers Grimm while still fairly young, thanks to a collection of books passed down from my great-grandmother. Those stories lead me in turn to Greek, Roman, Norse and Irish myths and mangled pronunciations aside, I could still tell you many of those stories today.

But I had never before heard of the Kalevala, the ancient Finnish origin story cycle until I read about Marimekko’s Spring 2009 introductions. While there is awhole wonderful collection of new fabrics, my favorites are those by Sanna Annukka, who was inspired by the interlocking stories of Väinämöminen, the shamanistic hero of the Kalevala, whose adventures (and misadventures) gave shape to both the Finnish landscape and its peoples character.


Kanteleen kutsu

Kanteleen kutsu


Kanteleen kutsu (Call of the kantele) show the enchanted forest animals who have gathered to hear Väinämöminen play music on the kantele, the instrument he created from the jawbone of a giant pike. In addition to the fabric, Marimekko has developed an entire series of products—mugs, tea towels, potholders, etc.—featuring many of the individual animals from Kanteleen kutsu.

Even Väinämöminen himself was so moved by the music he played on his new instrument that he cried Onnen helmet (Pearls of happiness) giant tears that flowed into the sea and changed into precious gems. 

Several of the stories focus on various character’s interactions with the Taikamylly (Magic mill), which, instead of churning out grain, produces tools, coins, jewels, and more.

Kaleva is the Land of Heroes and Ihmemaa (Wonderland) illustrates that magical realm including Lake Alue where, hidden in the depths, a whitefish has swallowed fire fallen from the skies above.


Onnen helmet (Pearls of happiness), Taikamylly (Magic mill) and Ihmemaa (Wonderland)

Onnen helmet (Pearls of happiness), Taikamylly (Magic mill) and Ihmemaa (Wonderland)


You can see more Marimekko’s Spring 2009 collection here.

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January 2009

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