Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: artsy afternoon

artsy afternoon

Whenever I have to take the car over town somewhere, I usually try to do several things on that journey, to maximize pleasure over pain, for I dislike driving in Vancouver's crazy traffic, and then there's the cost of gas. So it was that I had arranged a date with my husband for yesterday afternoon. After a visit with my wonderful naturopath, I headed over to nearby Granville Island. I wandered for about an hour around some wonderful shops like Maiwa, highly tempted by their lovely artistic clothing and Asian fabric arts. Thinking about sewing, I checked out their craft supply store but did not find what I'd hoped for... maybe next time. Then my husband arrived, having cycled from work. As always when we meet after work somewhere in town, he finds our van in a designated area, loads the bike inside and changes from cycling gear to regular clothes that he's left in the car the night before, then comes find me. It's such a delight to meet like this, makes me feel like twenty-something, almost.


Together we went into the Circle Craft Gallery to see our Finnish-Canadian friend Kaija Rautianen's exhibition of Jacquard tapestry weavings, entitled Natural Images: Bear Encounters. Lovely work as always, and a very interesting process. Kaija's images of bears were taken on a sailing trip up the coast of BC, where the bear is considered sacred by the First Nations. I thought of how the bear was also sacred to some of the ancient people in Finland as well. Check out this excellent review.

Next stop was Emily Carr University of Art and Design (formerly Institute) to see the Emily Carr Grad Show 2008. Read about it on daughter Erika's blog. We saw the website she assisted in creating, like she did last year when she was a grad. I didn't have the energy to go through the entire massive show, but what we did see was impressive.

By this time we were hungry and headed over for an always wonderful meal in a favourite restaurant on this Island, overlooking all the boats in False Creek, with the city's highrises glowing in the sunshine on the other shore. Nice date, don't you think? I only wish I'd remembered the camera.

Marja-Leena | 08/05/2008 | 7 comments
themes: Art Exhibitions, Being an Artist, Other artists


Wow, your Finnish-Canadian friend does beautiful work! Yes, sounds like you had a nice date. :-)

Beautiful tapestry weavings. I've never seen anything quite like that.
Sounds like a wonderful date — you are lucky!

Leslee and mb - Yes, Kaija's work is beautiful. Much of it is not available online and does not do justice to the fineness and detail. I like how she has developed her weaving into a real art form.

And thanks, it was a lovely date, and I know I'm very lucky that he likes to spend time together looking at art and going out for dinner now and then! I love the break from cooking, too :-)

Sounds like a wonderful time. I too try to have several things to do before I get in the car to drive. And I love that your husband cycles to work and uses the van to change and store the bike!! What fun and very green!!

Joan, yes, we've always been like this about driving. He used to put the bike on a bike carrier, but then it was stolen (chain locks cut) while we were attending an event downtown. We shouldn't have parked near the worst part of the city. Now we have a stand for it to put inside the van for times like this.

Thank you ML for introducing me to Kaija R's weaving work. Wow. On the bear, Kaarina Kailo has written extensively on the bear and its links with Finnish women. I wonder why Virutal Finland has King Bear. Of course, Otso, is male but Finnish bear roots are very much linked to female power. Finnish women had love affairs with bears, as bears were not just beast but between realms. That's why Otso is found in the sky. Look for the Polar Star. Artikos. Also, that is why women are feared. They are lovers of bear. Kaarina came to TBay once and spoke on the stories of bear and Finnish women. That was when Katja and I began our hunt for pre-Christian Finnish knowledge.

Thank you, Taina, for this fascinating information and the link! I had a vague inkling about this but no exposure or knowledge about all this. I'd love to learn more and wish you were nearby for me to learn from you and your sister!

Oh, I just remembered... my favourite Kalevala Koru jewelry (a pendant/pin and a bracelet) consist of brass bears, given to me by one of my cousins and his wife. Now these has even more meaning for me! (Non-Finn readers will be interested to know that Kalevala Koru is a well-known contemporary Finnish jewelry brand based on ancient designs used by the early Finns.)