Nature in textile art

In her material-oriented artworks, textile artist Helena Kaikkonen (1959–) explores time, the northern nature, and the fragility but also the power of life. Change and repetition set the pace for the seasons and the everyday life of human beings. Time passes, things move on, yet nothing is ever final or complete. There is a time for remembering the past, a time for living the present moment, and a time looking into the future.

“Where I have found my materials and where they come from, the traces of time that they carry and how delicate they feel are very important to me. I have often said that I think with my hands. The textures of the materials in my fingertips guide my thoughts.”

Helena Kaikkonen studied textile art in Bergen, Norway from 1987 to 1992 (Statens høgskole for kunsthåndverk og design). Since 1992, she has participated in Finnish and international textile art exhibitions and created environmental art in Northern Finland and in Italy. She has also directed community art projects especially in Ii and has produced commissioned artworks in Oulu, Ii, Kempele, Tyrnävä, Ylläs, Levi and Imatra. Since 2016, Kaikkonen has worked at the Old Wool Factory in Pikisaari, Oulu. She is a member of Muu Artists’ Association and the Oulu Artist Association.

Artist statement

In my art I search atmospheres from different places, happenings and experiences. These atmospheres are mixed together with memories and dreams. I aim something invisible which you can sense and feel, but can’t be seen concrete. Birth, growth, life and death are themes of my art and are observed in colours, forms and materials. Sometimes there can also pop up joy and the comic of life. In my works of art I equate circulation of nature with circulation of human life.

These themes pass in the background or are the basis for my works. The working process itself is usually very slow and has many, sometimes very routine, working phases. Sometimes during the working prosess the art pieces begin to live their own lives as work of art, and the original themes and backgrounds will be only indicative.

The space is also central in my works of art – either like the intimate indoor space or as an installation where you can walk in, or art pieces reaching from the wall to the open space.