I have loved Sanna Annukka's work for so long, so I am very overdue to add her to our Art Obsession series. Her work is greatly influenced by the childhood summers she spent in her mother's home village of Paltaniemi in Northern Finland. From camping in Lapland, to staying in her Grandmother's old wooden house, she came to call this part of Finland her spiritual home.
Themes in her work, such as pattern and mythology, are influenced by the Northern Finnish landscape and traditional cultures like that of the Sami, the indigenous people of Scandinavia. Since prehistoric times, the Sami people of Arctic Europe have lived and worked in an area that stretches over the regions now known as Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula.
|Photo by Erika Larsen|
|Photo by Lola Akinmade|
|Photographer unknown: please let me know|
Sanna describes the story behind the "Soul Bird", above: “In Karelia there was an ancient belief in the Sielulintu or Soul bird. The Sielulintu was thought to deliver the soul to newborn babies and also to transport the soul to the afterlife at the moment of death. It was believed the Sielulintu protected a persons soul at it’s most vulnerable; when dreaming, and it was tradition to keep a carved wooden bird by the bedside to keep the soul safe during sleep.”
Below, her illustrations for the new print of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Fir Tree":
You may be even more familiar with Sanna Annukka's work through her collaborations with Marimekko. The "Kanteleen Kutsu" print below depicts a scene from the Finnish classic, The Kalevala, in which animals gather to hear Väinämöinen play his stringed instrument.
Below, "Raanu" patterns from the 2012 Holiday Collection:
Below, "Taikamylly" fabric from Spring/Summer 2008: