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Lola Cervantin työssä Sietokyvyn langat on mustalla pohjalla eri värisillä villalangoilla kirjottuja kaaria ja pääkalloja. Image Lola Cervant

14 people from artist, designer, and craftsman backgrounds, as well as artist-activists and artist-researchers from different parts of the world crossed their paths in Rovaniemi. They express personal and political content through the means of embroidery and revive the tradition of quilt embroidery in a contemporary context. The importance of examining one’s own cultural background and the continuous change and interaction of cultures is a visible theme.

The Embroidered Stances exhibition breathes new life into the tradition of blanket embroidery, placing it within a contemporary societal context. The exhibition delves into the aesthetics of traditional materials like botanically dyed yarn. Additionally, it reshapes the visual language of blanket embroidery, enabling personal and political themes to find expression through patterns and designs. 

Expressions by the Embroidered Stances collective serve as a form of activism. Members of the collective use embroidery to engage in societal dialogues. Our topics encompass issues like queer rights, biodiversity loss, land use conflicts, and the very essence of craftsmanship itself. Embroidery is embraced as a dialogue-driven practice, providing a platform for sharing and debating social and political issues rooted in the diverse experiences of collective members.  While each of the 14 participants met in Rovaniemi, they hail from diverse cultural backgrounds, encompassing Finland, Russia, Eastern and Southern Europe, and Latin America, thus their stances are diverse. 

Traditionally, black wool fabric and yarn were employed in blanket embroidery, with various stitches defining and filling intricate patterns. The yarn's hues were derived from plant and mushroom dyes. Wool serves as a bridge between tradition and contemporary. The collective's title in Finnish, "Kirjotut kannat," linguistically refers to embroidery as arguments and statements. This initiative is deeply rooted in activist approaches within contemporary art, encompassing both craftivism and artivism. The Finnish word "kannat" also embodies cultural origins and ancestral connections.

Artists in exhibition

Lola Cervantes, Maria Huhmarniemi, Elina Härkönen, Tenka Issakainen, Tanya Kravtsov, Alina Korotovskaia, Minna Kovero, Elina Luiro, Miia Mäkinen, Niina Oinas, Petra Raudaskoski, Misia Siennicka, Ezgi Tanriverdi and Sannu Vaarala. 


Embroidered Stances

Exhibition in the Craft Museum of Finland 13.1.–7.4.2024.

Museum is open Tue-Sun 11-18. Exceptions in opening times on holidays.

More information 

Mikko Oikari, senior curator, Craft Museum of Finland
tel. +358 50 553 3880, [email protected]