THE OUTER SIDE OF THE INNER
Raija Jokinen, Finland
Tickle, 2009, detail (62 x 86 cm, detail)
Textiles have been always in the core of everyday life and that is why I am interested in them. I focus on the relationships of the everyday issues and situations and picture them with the structures of textile materials. In structures I am fond of the inception particles,the methods of matching structural units and repetition. Textiles are built mainly through repetition, but I am particularly interested in those textile structures that do not show the self-evident regular repetition, but the structure of randomness, as well as the borderlines where the structure begins to be so irregular that it hardly holds together.
Heritage, 2010 (38 x 54cm)
Sleepy, 2006 (114 x 112cm)
Ready to Fly, 2013 (52 x 95 cm) and Fatique of Flying, 2009 (60 x 84 cm)
Beside textile structures my attention is drawn to the cutting surface of yarns and fibres. I try to look at textile from the angle at which it easily becomes unrecognizable. In addition, I want to find a way to break the decorative and precise forms often connected to textiles and embroidery. I use different techniques and materials for my art works, e.g. paper yarn and its twist, handmade paper, fibres and machine embroidery. My working method is similar to painting and drawing, though slower partly because I manufacture my “paints” by dyeing and brushing the fibres. As a material, flax provides features with a wide variety from papermaking pulp to yarns and fabrics and it is an endless source of inspiration as its qualities can vary from soft and fine to rough and hard.
Some of my works are sculptural and based on random structures, but still closely linked to textiles. They emphasize the volume instead of mass and form a messy structure that allows viewer to follow the lines in a spontaneous manner. Some pieces are flat and transparent or like paintings.
Magic Gloves, 2013 (70 x 90 cm)
Raising the Wings, 2008 (60 x 92cm)
Secrets, 2007 (53 x 98cm)
Grey Thoughts, 2013 (39 x 88cm) and Home of Strength, 2006 (51 x 89cm)
A human body appears often in my works but it represents more the soul and feelings instead of the physical substance. The idea and image are self evidently important but I think that the material and structure supports the content by integrating or referring phenomenon of life in a subconscious manner. Analogically, attitudes about the body related items are also very subconscious and ruled by culture, religion and social position. Physicality can be a taboo, a battlefield or a source of beauty and knowledge or anything in between and it is inseparable to our mind and emotions. I hope that my works are opening the routes to the emotional and physical surrounding, including our body and mind.
Do-it-yourself Blue Blooded, 2011(43 x 84cm) and Do-it-yourself Pilot, 2011 (65 x 85 cm)
Raising the Wings 2, 2013 (60 x75cm)
Beings, 2002-2006 (á 50 x 170 cm)
ABOUT THE TECHNIQUE
My art works are made of flax and the working method can be compared to painting and drawing, but the “paint” is the fiber that is normally used e.g. as a base material for oil paintings. In addition, I use stitching to form “drawn” lines. My methods and materials are also related with handmade paper techniques: A sheet of paper is formed of pulp consisting of short fibers and water. Handmade paper sheets are used e.g. to print graphic art. Beside the short fibers I also use long fibers, which are normally used for in spinning the yarn for fabrics. The technique I’ve developed could therefore be located in the meeting point of the techniques in painting, papermaking, graphic and textile. Although my works are looking fragile they are durable and light-weighted and can easily be hanged and displayed without frames.
http://www.saunalahti.fi/raijoki/raija_info.html (Follow the link to see the movie)
Ready to Fly, the prosess
Under the Green Branch, 2008 (48 x 46cm)
My works may resemble paintings or drawings, but still, they are strongly related to the textile tradition. Using techniques associated with practical and everyday artisanal methods is interesting, but at the same time they seem to be stigmatized to women’s job, even though there have been some progress in this regard. Still, many textile artists started to call themselves visual artists and textile arts is starting to be connected more to handwork and crafts, which are, despite their versatility, perceived rather unilaterally. Handwork is in a way or another included in painting, sculpting and drawing too, but speaking about its role is inappropriate. In addition, trendy participatory and community arts are briskly quoting or reproducing hand made objects, which often conceptualize and fades away the important role of handwork.
By tradition, good and skillful handwork should be clean and precise. A deliberate unfinished look can easily be perceived as poor quality or lack of skill, but it can be a necessary factor in developing the ideas, content and attitudes about art and handwork in general and as a part of our everyday life.
Rush, 2008 (60 c 85cm)
All text and images © Raija Jokinen