Photographer Mari Mäntynen recently put together the photo reportage of 3 ecological fashion brands in which she also cracked their workshops doors. The following will push the Heli MG Eco Faux Furs door wide open.
My home workshop is based in Sipoo, in the rural capital area of Finland. The space, at the same time calming and inspiring like home studios are, is equipped with the modern machines, tools and fittings needed in the full creative process. Mainly I use it for turning the high-quality materials into the ready-to-tuft base items in the winter time evenings and weekends. Thanks to the traditional Rya sewing technique that is the last production stage and can be practised anywhere I don’t need to communicate “Out of office” to the people for the rest of the year when I’m constantly on-the-go between my farm and city lives. - I just bring my studio along.
Meaning: I actively bring myself and my arts to people instead of them needing to make the effort and finding my workshop. - Don’t get me wrong, this is far from door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales or force feeding/spamming the strangers with my arts out there. Rather than those it’s effective guerilla marketing. While this way of working fits my comings and goings the most perfectly my choice is also strategic based on how the human brain works. For the fact something sticks to your mind the best when you’re looking for it the least. That’s usually somewhere other than the huge shopping centres, sale expos or other pricey events. Those are places one visits only when searching for a great deal.
However, please note that the custom orders are strictly made in the professional workshop environment from start to the completion. And the practical things such as pre-order measurement taking, fittings etc. are done on my grounds - or the client’s - on appointment. In any other matter either it’s seeing my work in person or talking through the materials please drop me a line and let’s pick a place with a lovely cup of coffee and easy access for all. When you see me around either tufting or walking on the street wearing my art don’t hesitate to grab my sleeve - like so many lovely people already do! - I always have time for a chat!
At the time Mari took the 2 photos above I was having my lunch break on a loading lift at the loading bay of a busy retail area near the Helsinki airport, enjoying the first warm spring breeze and a brief creative moment.
When on the road I take my time and have as many stops as I need to proceed safely. On those breaks the coffee and sandwich go down first and then, while awaiting the caffeine to kick in I work on a couple of tuft rows. Preferably it happens out at the well maintained picnic areas. In the bad weather the car - and the coffeeshop - do fine.
The ongoing project pictured above is the reconstruction of an old coat of which colour & pattern design I personally find slightly unfinished. The coat’s lines are also a bit old-fashioned. But nothing to worry; the handy tufting technique makes the base garment alterations - even the complete tuft pattern design changes - actually quite easy to do. So the amount of work already put in the piece years back won’t go to waste. The Eco Faux Furs pieces can be further developed time after time.
My favourite place to start a work day at is my farmhouse’s sunny doorstep where the sounds and smells of the countryside summer surround me, only distraction being the gorgeous butterflies landing on my toes. One can only take a certain amount of alone-time at one go though and the day usually continues at the busy piers of the nearby waters.
On the overcast day my studio lands in my late Granny’s sewing room in the attic. Among the great sewing memories it’s home for the Singer pedal sewing machine she taught me to sew with when I was at the primary school age. I serviced it last summer and it works like new - see it in the video below. It’s handy to have it working for the possible shape altering emergencies, among others.
Depending on the duration of my trips my mobile studio fits in a small tote bag or one XL-size suitcase. At the least my tool box contains an element of ready-to-tuft Eco Faux Furs base item plus the relevant materials and hand-tools - never forgetting a couple of items ready-to-sell!
Whatever the trip I plan the contents of my kit carefully upfront. That helps me stick to the deadline and other targets I’ve set for my project.
Since I swopped my walk-in-workshop to the mobile studio some six years ago my productivity and the brand awareness have increased remarkably. Earlier I used to spend lots of time stressing about how to find and throw large enough number of people in. Now, instead, I can comfortably focus my energy on my creativity - in all terms.
- Colleagues, what do you think of mobile working? The comments are on, feel free to leave yours below.