Monday, August 13, 2012


Olympics are over and there is more time for blogging. It was the first time I could watch sport with my children and that was so much fun!

My creation
London has been in my mind in other ways as well. I'm reading Virginia Woolf's Night and Day and found the following description in it very amusing :

"...and then Mary left them in order to see that the great pitcher of coffee was properly handled, for beneath all her education she preserved the anxieties of one who owns china."

So that is my china that you see in the above picture. During our vacation I took one day "off" and when to Helsinki all by myself! My program for the day was to eat lunch in some nice cafe and visit one museum or gallery. I had never been to the Design Museum, so there I went. You are not allowed to take pictures there, which was a shame, so I took photos for you of my own collection of Finnish design. If you are Finnish and I guess especially if you live abroad you will have some of this stuff at your home. And as it turns out, I have plenty. Most of it are, very appreciated,  presents.

I also visited three handmade shops. I really need a cover for my phone so I thought it would be nice to support the handmade and buy one from those shops. It was very disappointing. All of the covers I found did fit my phone, but where not particularly well made, had all the same simple Velcro closing and where not firm enough to give proper protection. No innovation what so ever and at least for my taste, nothing that gave me the impulse to pay the extra money for the handmade-factor. When there is no additional design element added to the product (which of course is a matter of taste), I start to think that I'm paying for the fact that it is handmade by western hands.

That is something that I have been thinking for a long time - how we talk about handmade like the rest of the sewn stuff would have been made with big factory machines when in my understanding most of it is done by people sitting behind sewing machines. Just like us. Of course if it is done here in Europe I know that the working conditions are good. It is also a local product and supports the local economy. But I can't help thinking that I kind of want the people in Asia to be able to keep their jobs as well and be able to support their families. As you can see - shopping is not easy for me.

Back home I added a new item to my china collection.
My cup
(photo from instagram. I'm piecesoffab there if you feel like following)
I have always been a mug person and have been drinking my coffee from a Iittala Teema mug as long as I can remember (see the top right photo on the photo-mosaic). But when I saw Carolina's coffee cup I started to long for my own special coffee cup with a saucer. I saw this one in a regular boring suburban department store close to our house and loved it, but I thought I want to buy the cup in some place special. When we came back from the vacation I saw it again and though, what could be more special in this time of my life than a coffee cup bought from a store which excellent cafe I visit regularly with my children?

You could only buy it as a set of four cups in four different colours. The whole set cost me seven euros. Especially after visiting the Design Museum I have a whole back story for my Teema mugs, but nothing for this made in china -cup. I wanted to see if I could find something on the internet and I did! The collection is called Veronica's Garden, which was not mentioned anywhere on the packaging. What I could not find was how the design came about and who design it. Since I don't know I choose to believe that it was made by someone who's dream came true when she got the chance to work for Topchoice and design this cup. I also found out that it is actually not a coffee cup, but a tea cup.

So what did I buy? A story (my special cup from a special place), a functional/quality cup (can be washed in a dishwasher, my suburban definition of quality;) and design that for some reason appeal to me. What it comes to the phone cover I had the story but the functionality/quality and the design elements where missing.


The Muse of The Day said...

Welcome home, Mari!
I have read, and reread this post more than a couple of times, i have been trying to figure out how to best respond without rambling on for ever an d ever as there is so much I want to participate in. I think you put a lot of effort in to writing this post, so let me just dive into it and hope that my responsive is complete, if not cohesive.
The first thing I want to add is the next time you are in Helsinki, email me. I have a blog friend in Helsinki that I think would have enjoyed joining you at the cafe and museum. Her blog is: her name is Eva and I think you would like her. She has been a bit busy lately and hasn't come on her blog in a few weeks, but she is young, married, and has a full time job that keeps her busy. She does a lot of sewing, mostly quilting at the moment, but studied fashion design and has a lot of cute children's clothing designs that I love. She grew up in Germany, but lives full time in Helsinki with her husband. I tried to put her blog in as a link, above, but Blogspot just froze on me. I hate that about blogspot. It happens to me with a blog from France as well.

Teje Karjalainen said...

Hi Mari! You have it so right! We miss Finnish things when living abroad. I have only that blue-white Moomin mug and my sister in England has the curtain down in the middle. Wishes from Greece!