Marianne Huotari (Finnish, b. 1986) lives and works in Helsinki. Huotari crafts delicate ceramic wall tapestries and glazed stoneware sculptures using a reimagined version of the traditional Finnish textile technique ryijy. Ryijy translates to thick cloth, and refers to a method of loom weaving tapestries, often depicting geometric shapes or florals in colors traditionally sourced from plant dyes. Through a care intensive process of craftsmanship, Huotari sculpts hundreds of oblong ceramic beads and petals by hand, before sewing them onto a metal frame with wire. The beads layer and bubble at will, similar to the woven knots in ryijy. Her color palate mimics that of the original woolen fibers: creams and light greens alongside glowing pinks and blues populate her tapestries and free-standing sculptures. The presence of nature and whimsy is a mainstay, whether referentially in titles such as Garden Plot, 2020, or representationally in the shape of small adorning flowers.
Huotari’s slow and hands on process allows her to pause the rapidity of daily life and find a meditative rhythm in the act of creating. Due to the laborious nature of each work, her stamina for a piece must carry on for weeks to months at a time. She approaches each item she creates with tenderness, whether it be a bead passing through her fingers or a wall hanging requiring countless hours of stitching. Her final forms exude a warm consciousness and feeling of delight, much like the artist herself. This year, Huotari was short listed for the Loewe Craft Prize. One of 30 finalists, her work will be on display at the Seoul Museum of Craft Arts for the month of July, 2022.
Huotari is a member of the Arabia Art Department Society. Her work has been shown widely in Finland, as well as Japan and the United States. Her latest work, Väre, was made in collaboration with the Finnish National Museum. Huotari serves as the Creative Director for Helsinki based design and rug company, Finarte.