Those Finnish gals

One of the things I loved about my recent stay in Finland at the Arteles Creative Center in rural Finland was the culture of second-hand stores and the recycling of material that seems to be a nice part of what I felt was a Finnish collectivism; a sense that if something is not useful to you, it may be useful to someone else and so one should give it away.

In Hameenkyro, and also in Tampere and Helsinki, it is very common to find large and well-stocked stores selling secondhand goods often of very high quality and certainly of very cool calibre. In general, I feel the often extreme climate in the country engenders an “outsider” mentality and I think this finds manifestation in the often eccentric clothes people wear and a general sense that you can be just as you wish to be, within the boundaries of course of a culture that seems conservative on one level, and yet wholly “out there” on another.

Anyway … In my desire to make a physical artwork that spoke to that sense of slightly askew eccentricity, I found an old magazine in what we called the “free store” in Hameenkyro (where most of the items were free… See This magazine, from the late 1970s, featured some great Finnish knitwear designs, and some even greater photos of some very pretty models wearing those designs. Initially I wasn’t sure what to do with those images, but knew I would do something with them.

And so it came to pass that two days later, in another second-hand store, this one a massive emporium called “LA” on the road south a bit in the direction of Helsinki three hours away, I found what I believe are the wooden ticketing address tags for some item of, perhaps, Finnish farm machinery. These were about 20cm by 10cm and sold for 50 euro cents each. I bought 20 of them. 10 euros in total. Again, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with these, but knew I would do something.

When I returned on the icy roads to Arteles and looked at the two items sitting on my workbench there, it suddenly struck me… These two essentially “Finnish” items needed to go together. They belonged to one and other.

And so I then set about creating a work which combined the two, the Finnish magazine gals and the Finnish farm machinery wooden tickets. Using a lacquer/resin-like substance I bought in a store in Tampere, I fixed the gals to the tickets, the two became one, and, in my mind, I created a work that spoke to the appealing sense of oddity that I really enjoyed in Finland.

Here are some examples of the result (I made 20 but felt these were a nice totem representation of my time in Finland and thus gave several away in both Finland and when I subsequently toured around Europe).


The wooden “ticket” (above).


Three of my ladies.


A hand in the picture for an idea of scale.


Front and back.


What a great sort!


I’d surely marry this cutie.


WHAT an outfit!

Two more beauties, in sensational outfits.

Hot stuff!

Looking cool whilst keeping warm.

18 Comments on “Those Finnish gals”

  1. If any Finnish person can translate what the “ticket” says, please do so.
    – Adam

    • Jonna says:

      lähetyksen kolliluku (package quantity)
      yhteensä (total)……kpl (pcs)
      jälkivaatimus (cash on delivery)
      lähettäjä (sender)
      Osoite (address)
      läh as. (senders station (railway?))
      vastaanottaja (receiver)
      Lähempi osoite (closer address)
      Määräasema (destination (station))

      Something like that

  2. Rootdown graphics says:

    Lähetyksen kolliluku= Box amount of shipment
    Jälkivaatimus=Sum to be paid afterwards
    Lähempi osoite=Excact address
    Määräasema=End station

    There you go. Nice work.
    And yes we do have the prettiest women in the world

    -K from Helsinki-

  3. Minna says:

    Lähetyksen kolliluku = transmission number of packages
    Yhteensä = in total
    Jälkivaatimus = cash on delivery
    Vastaanottaja = recipient
    Lähempi osoite = closer address
    Määräasema = destination
    Lähettäjä = sender
    Osoite = address

    Something like that. mk is abbreviation for finnish mark (markka) and kpl = pcs.

  4. Jenna says:

    Lähetyksen kolliluku= the number of transmission packets
    yhteensä…kpl= altogether…pcs
    jälkivaatimus…mk=cash on delivery…Finnish mark (we had Finnish mark before Euro)
    lähempi osoite= closer address (I don’t really know what that means so maybe the translation isn’t good)

    I hope this helps and that I didn’t make too many mistakes 🙂

  5. T. says:

    A rough translation, seems to be some sort of freight card:
    Left column:
    Package amount of the send.
    Total …. pcs
    Value … mk (marks)
    Right column: Sender …. & Address & Sending station (abbreviated)
    Last 3:
    Street Address (exactly “nearer” address” 😉
    Target station

  6. For Adam says:

    I used Google translator because I’ve learned english just 4 years so I don’t know is this right…

    Transmissions the number of packages / Sender___________
    In total………pc / Address__________
    Cash on delivery…………..marks / Source pocition

    Closer address___________________

    I’ts a postcard or something like that. 🙂

  7. Much appreciated everyone, thanks very much for your translations! Great work.

    – Adam

  8. Liisa says:

    Here you go, as requested!

    Lähetyksen kolliluku: Number of parcels in shipment
    Yhteensä… kpl: Altogether… pcs.
    Jälkivaatimus, on-line dictionary says: Cash on delivery
    mk: Finnish money (mark)
    Lähettäjä: Sender
    Osoite: Address
    LÄH. AS.: Delivery station (delivered from)
    Vastaanottaja: Receiver
    Lähempi osoite: Closer address
    Määräasema: Destination station

    They are pretty correct, I think, although the language used is a bit old. Nice artwork you´ve done, and I really love the ladies outfits 😀 as a sort of a modern hippie I would definitely use something like that 😉 but sadly most of our clothes nowadays is just H&M…

    Keep up the good work and it was nice to read you enjoyed yor stay in Finland 🙂


    • Liisa says:

      Hah, I didn´t see the earlier responses! Well now you have plenty of translations so the idea should be pretty clear 😀

      • Thanks for that Liisa, great. I love/loved Finland and want to come back soon! Hopefully when it’s a bit warmer than what it was in February! I will post some more of the work I did there soon.


  9. Liisa says:

    It´s quite warm already, at least here in Tampere 🙂 summer is nearly here now, thank the gods.

    • All I recall is Finnish snow and ice – I can’t imagine what it’s like being warm there. But I’m guessing the countryside is very beautiful … one day i will see it.

      • Liisa says:

        Even in cities it´s warm, very green, birds are singing and people are smiling 🙂 a totally different world from winter.

      • Well, ONE DAY I will manage to get there when the birds are singing and the people are smiling! I found people in Finland very friendly but yes, walking the streets in February people were more concerned with keeping their faces from freezing rather than smiling~~


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