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Portrait of Vuokko by Juliana Harkki.
for Marimekko is what is best known by most. In 1953, the year she joined the company, she designed the stripe “Piccolo.” The print is comprised of one or two passes of stripes that can overlap to form a third color. This approach takes brilliant advantage of large-scale silkscreen printing, which she helped Marimekko to develop (and we now do, too). Smart minimalism and flexibility of design have been at the center of her work since.
Vuokko’s stripes were an immediate sensation. In 1956, Marimekko introduced the iconic Jokapoika (“Everyboy”) shirt as their first garment for men. Over the years, Vuokko has designed more than 300 colorways for “Piccolo” to be used for the shirts, from her original Mediterranean-inspired palette to black on white and everything in between.
On the right here is Armi Ratia, the founder of Marimekko, in the late 1960s, out playing the model in one of the zillions of Jokapoika striped shirts she made. She, like many ladies, had no trouble borrowing from the men’s department. Though ”Piccolo” was also used for garments intended for women, such as the Kivijalkamekko dress, designed by Vuokko and shown here with Ilmari Tapiovaara’s egg sculpture in 1957.
Bouffanted visitors to scorched mediterranean locales who still always pack an umbrella, grumpy teenagers also expecting rain, kiddos–everybody!–got a great striped something.
Here is Vuokko completing an installation of Marimekko goods at a gallery in Stockholm, in heels, in 1958. Bang story!
Vuokko designed other patterns and shapes for Marimekko as well, including–I was surprised to learn–Iloinen takki, that dress with patch pockets that Marimekko first made in 1960 and still makes and adult women still wear. Vuokko intended the wee pockets to hold surprise gifts for the wearer’s beau, and that’s about the extent of adult sexiness I can imagine associated with this garment.
However, her signature spare, geometric style were evident from the beginning, as you can see in her split color wool blouse of 1956 and her Ritsa apron with “Raituli” stripes of 1959. And now, these are questionably sexy body obsfucating garments I can stand behind, absolutely.
In 1964, Vuokko left Marimekko to found her own company, Vuokko Oy, which she ran until 1988 and still runs a version of today. Left to her own devices, the body obliteration + spare geometry were turned up to full force and the vibe got super hot!
and office/studio in Helsinki was designed from top to bottom in 1970 by her late husband Antii Nurmesniemi (who also designed, for example, the Wärtsilä coffee pot for Arabia). It is open except for the bedroom with big views of the sea. Four mezzanines, including the swimming pool level which I have not seen a picture of but would love to see a picture of, stacks of Vuokko’s floor pillows and a heated floor = heavenplace.
Portrait with plants by Anna Huovinen.
-We stock the Marimekko book at the shop, and it includes a bunch of images and information about Vuokko and Marimekko overall. It is, hands-down, the book we consult most when trying to forge through a new design.
-Apartamento ran a wonderful profile of Vuokko in Issue #07, featuring an interview with her and shots from her home, including the first two I posted in the series, and “I got rid of most of the seams and pleats. The Japanese say ‘Vuokko set women free.’ See, my design always starts from the fabric. I want to give the patterns a lot of solid surface, which often affects the shape of the final dress, loosening it up” and other gems. Track it down!
Yellow and Grey Sculpture on Wood, 2011
Green Sculpture with Painting, 2011
Orange and Tan Wall Sculpture, 2011
Familiar Places, 2013
Dag, Stacy Fisher! Doin’ it! Check out: stacyfisher.net
We’re hiring a part time sales associate!
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Excellent exercises and attitude available from Deborah Rozman, Meditating with Children, also 1975.
Wake Up to Yoga by Lyn Marshall, 1975. And you know it really is Lyn Marshall by the strong LM patch she’s got on all of her rainbow leotards.
Blessings on Tom & Deborah, Tomra’s parents, who are renewing their vows after 35 years of marriage! Let us enjoy 35 tracks in their honor.
I am grateful to Leigh Patterson for inviting me to share 5 THINGS I’m into right now on Alldayevery. Please enjoy!
Yeah yeah yeah! Travis and his wife Iris and their boy Louis are back in the Bay and we are hosting a TRAVIS BLANKET SHOW this Thursday, July 17th. Please come check it out! In the meantime, here are some shots of all of them at home, seeming to make blankets in the way he does actually make blankets.
Travis inherited his big loom from his grandma, who took it over from her best friend. It’s a 1920′s model from the Reed Loom Company. On it here is a blanket that Travis is working on for the show–it has a cotton warp that was dyed in Tessa Watson‘s indigo vat at the Berkeley Art Museum during The Possible show and Sally Fox’s wool that Travis works into homespun.
The homespun is spun on this spinner. Louis knows what to do. That top shot is really just a floss for that Bauhaus Archive poster that’s so great (they’re offering a similar one now, not as great but still really nice).
The other loom that Travis is working on these days is one of four of the collapsible models he made for The Possible, much like the ones he’s made and worked on publicly for years. AND YOU CAN TOO!!! Rigged up here is another plain weave blanket that will be part of the show at the shop.
And here is a look at Thursday’s showstopper, which is also an extension of the work Travis made at the big Berkeley show. Thousands of visitors to The Possible worked on the floor looms he set up there. Their weavings were stitched together to produce reams of fabric, which Travis cut up so that swatches could be included in an edition of artists books. Here is the husk of the original, stitched on a backing fabric to make yet another blanket.
Travis will be working on one of his collapsible floor looms at the opening, and he’ll be coming by to keep working over the course of the show. Please come by yourself, meet Travis, and enjoy the show!