Lokal Creators / Sini Villi

Sini Villi is a textile artist living and working in Helsinki, Finland. In her work Villi uses handmade ribbon to create three-dimensional textile reliefs and sculptures. The visual language of the artworks draws its inspiration from Sini Villi’s roots in Northern Ostrobothnia, by the vast and silent natural landscape. Every autumn large fields are plowed, forming softly rhythmic grooves. The colour scheme becomes one-dimensional, but the adjacent shapes create a visually interesting and soothing view. In the spring, life fills the ground again and the colors return. We visited her Helsinki studio on a summer afternoon just after she’d set up her White Wall exhibition, Ammonites.

Lokal Creators / Sini Villi

Sini Villi is a textile artist living and working in Helsinki, Finland. In her work Villi uses handmade ribbon to create three-dimensional textile reliefs and sculptures. The visual language of the artworks draws its inspiration from Sini Villi’s roots in Northern Ostrobothnia, by the vast and silent natural landscape. Every autumn large fields are plowed, forming softly rhythmic grooves. The colour scheme becomes one-dimensional, but the adjacent shapes create a visually interesting and soothing view. In the spring, life fills the ground again and the colors return. We visited her Helsinki studio on a summer afternoon just after she’d set up her White Wall exhibition, Ammonites.

Lokal: What are some of the things that inspire your creative process?

Sini Villi: “For me, the best source of inspiration is peace. It gives the ideas buried in my subconscious the space to pop up to the surface. I often admire different textures and shades both in nature and in materials. Uneven, hand-woven and hand-dyed fabric is always an interesting starting point for a new piece. Also, for example, the systematic sowing furrow of a far-off field landscape, the worn paint surface of an old building or the spiral shell of a fossil ammonite equally inspire the creative process.”

L: What are some important principles in your work and your approach to your practice?

S.V.: “It is important for me that through my work I can just stop in front of the material, in complete serenity. I can explore its features and appreciate its existence. Even though cutting a beautiful fabric into strips sometimes seems absurd, I think it’s interesting to give it a new shape and even mislead the viewer a little. I never actually sketch, but I see the shapes and shades of the works as clear visions in my thoughts. When I start working on a piece, it often ultimately becomes completely different. The most important thing then is to trust the process and one’s intuition.”

L: What made you want to work with silk? How much does the material determine your design process?

S.V.: “I have worked with clothes for years and silk has remained in my use through that. When I was still testing the first pieces, I found a wonderful hand-woven wild silk from a craftsman I knew, and fell in love with its properties. The matte, glassy sheen of the silk emphasises the three-dimensionality of the piece in an interesting way and it reproduces even the delicate tones beautifully. I like to support artisans in purchasing materials, but for ecological reasons I have also started making works from other natural materials, such as linen and hemp. They give the works an earthy atmosphere.

The choice of material has a surprising effect on the design language of the work. I often use smooth-surfaced, lightly shimmering fabric in works with delicate and soft shapes. The rustic, hand-dyed fabric also works well for larger works, because the uneven surface and tone give the works a nuance in itself.”

Shop: Sini Villi’s Works

Explore: Lokal Creators

Lokal Creators / Benjamin Murphy

Benjamin Murphy, born in West Yorkshire, is a globally exhibiting visual artist. His current work explores themes of polarity, time, memory, and contrast – often rendered in charcoal on raw canvas. We visited his studio in Helsinki just before he set up his Lokal White Wall exhibition, Éanáir. 

Lokal Creators / Fanny Tavastila

Fanny Tavastila is a painter who lives and works in Helsinki. We visited her studio at the Cable Factory one dark November afternoon to get a closer look at her works, which posess an innate and lyrical sense of colour, rhythm, texture and composition.

Lokal Creators / Hanni Koroma

Hanni Koroma is an award-winning Finnish interior architect and furniture designer. In her work, Koroma combines functionality and aesthetics into timeless entities where her philosophic values in sustainable and playful design meet. Koroma says that space is like a poem that evolves constantly. Her new Lohkoja cabinets are centrepieces of our summer exhibition Butterflies & Seeds. 

Lokal Creators / Minna Arponen

Minna Arponen is a jewellery designer and maker from Helsinki. Recently, she’s been fascinated by the tiny glass beads that she used to play with in her childhood. We visited her studio where most of her pieces take form, if not in her lap on tram rides through the city.