Photo by Maxwell Tielman
This vintage inspiration is actually a new object based on a vintage technique: poppana. I had never heard of the technique before I stumbled upon the weavings in the market in Helsinki last September. I had one of those moments of crisis when you are faced with a purchasing decision while traveling, knowing that you will, in all likelihood, never be at this place again. My usual purchasing style is of the dithering variety, asking for every opinion and Googling for a better price before I pull the trigger. Even in the market, I think I came back to the weaving booth three times before I realized that I should bring one home with me. Then there was the color decision. I’ll spare you my agony, but I finally chose the one that reminded me of the colors of my favorite Finnish glasses designed by Kaj Franck in the colors of the sea.
Poppana was a weaving technique based on recycling, and it originated in Karelia (a region that I also visited), along eastern Finland and sharing a border with Russia. The technique was relatively simple: Recycled pieces of cloth were cut into narrow strips and were then incorporated into a nubby, newly woven cloth. The strips would serve as the weft and provide color and pattern. Originally, the finished poppana was used as a protective cover for household cushions, but because it was so durable and inexpensive, it quickly became the cloth of choice for bedspreads, floor coverings, door curtains and horse blankets. As Finland modernized, the technique and the cloth it produced were seen as old fashioned, but during the 1960s when many countries, Finland included, felt a nostalgia for their cultural past, the technique became recognized and respected as one of Finland’s indigenous art forms. — Amy Azzarito
If you want to see what others have brought home from vacations, check out Sneak Peek: Best of Bringing Travel Home.
Image above: 1. Mix Set of Servers, $120 | 2. Cubicus, $180 | 3. Triple Wrap Bracelet, $50 | 4. Kartio Tumbler, Sea Blue, $20 | 5. Vitriniini, $45 | 6. Emerald Studs, $75 | 7. Slicing Knife, Green, $30 | 8. Earrings with Oval-faceted Calcite, $615 | 9. Dashing to Bootie in Deep Teal, $34.99 | 10. Michael Kors Pendant Necklace, $95 | 11. Geo Thermos, $90
More vintage inspiration after the jump . . .
Image above: A snapshot of the weaver, Marjatta Laaksonen, at her Helsinki market booth. (My photography skills leave a little something to be desired!)
Image above: 1. Peace Treaty, $150 | 2. Toe the Line Idiom Bangle, $58 | 3. Tart Server, $18 | 4. Trapeze Task Light, $350 | 5. Chrysoprase Earrings, $88 | 6. Fernando Fish Clock, $150 | 7. Kartio Tumbler, Water Green, $20 | 8. Decorative Green Glass, $195 | 9. Graces Necklace, $84 | 10. Arden Chair by Jonathan Adler, $1,595
Image above: Alexander Wang Classic Pocket Tee in Vine, $94