Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric

island hopping, day 3 Sointula

After our Quadra Island visit on day 2, we returned to Campbell River and headed north about 250 km. along a very good highway lined with forests, mountains, glimpses of lakes and ocean inlets but with very little population.... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 12/10/2013 | 14 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History, Travel


happy solstice

Hauskaa Juhannusta! Wishing I were in Finland to celebrate and enjoy the magical white nights at lakeside family cottages with bonfires and saunas! This photo was taken at Lillooet Lake, BC just after 8 pm on June 16th where... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 21/06/2013 | 5 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


New World Finn interview


I am thrilled and honoured to have been interviewed for an article in this summer's issue of the New World Finn magazine, a quarterly journal exploring Finnish culture in the New World....

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Marja-Leena | 19/06/2013 | 8 comments
themes: Arkeo, Being an Artist, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


December 6th, 1917

95 years ago today, Finland declared independence from Russia. Windows with two candles, candles at the graves of former presidents and dead soldiers and a President's Ball which many watch on television. Even Google honours Finland with the special... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 06/12/2012 | 6 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History



December is here already! I love the Finnish name for it: joulukuu. Yesterday was a most memorable first day of this last month of the year. We attended a wonderful and heart warming memorial service for the mother of... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 02/12/2012 | 12 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


month to Christmas

- a locally made replica of a Viking boat in front of the Scandinavian Centre - the gorgeous stone fireplace in the grand room - note the old wooden skis... A sunny Sunday! Today we went with two daughters... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 25/11/2012 | 12 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


solstice 2012

Reading these words about the annual Juhannus/Midsummer Fest and summer holidays in Finland always make me long to be there: ...the country tends to go on holiday from the Midsummer or Juhannus weekend and Finland is more or less... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 20/06/2012 | 4 comments
themes: Culture, Current Events, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Finnish ABCs 2

As mentioned earlier about this old Finnish primer, I became most fascinated by the variety of fonts shown side by side. Imagine a young child just learning the ABCs and beginning to read, also learning to read along with... [Continue Reading...]

the Finnish language

A talk about the Finnish language

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Finnish ABCs

When I found my mother's old Finnish cookbook, with it was a little aapinen, a Finnish ABC book or primer. A sad little thing without a cover, unlike this one, so I don't know when it was published, possibly... [Continue Reading...]

a Finnish cookbook-2

a look inside my mother's old cookbook: some pages on cake making a handwritten recipe on a blank page - a naughty habit of mine as well many loose bits of paper inserted throughout, some with handwritten recipes and... [Continue Reading...]

a Finnish cookbook


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Santa Lucia

Illustration by Satomi Ichikawa in Merry Christmas - Children at Christmastime around the world (Wm.Heinemann, 1983) in white dresses and red sashes..... Today is Santa Lucia's Day, celebrated by the Swedish and other Nordic communities. As I wrote a... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 13/12/2011 | 6 comments
themes: Culture, Current Events, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Happy 94th, Finland!

a reposting from four years ago, just read 94th: In honour of Finland's 90th Independence Day (Itsenäisyys Päivä) today, I have lit these two candles in a window, as is the custom there. "Why two candles? Well, one is for... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 06/12/2011 | 9 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


education in Finland

Finland's education system has received a lot of international attention from educators the last decade or so. I've read much of it with great interest, being a Finn, a former teacher as well as a parent. I'm also a product... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 29/08/2011 | 7 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


my architect cousin

Seppo Mykrä has designed projects such as the Hotel Oscar expansion shown in the background, where hands were even wrung. captured from Warkauden Lehti Very occasionally I browse the online newspaper from Varkaus, Finland, the city where I was... [Continue Reading...]

midsummer 2011

June 22, 2011 8:11 p.m This stunning view from our back deck is the closest reminder for me this year of the midsummer bonfires and celebrations which we experienced long ago in Denmark, Sweden and Finland on a trip... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 24/06/2011 | 11 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Finnish rock art exhibition

I am delighted to have received an invitation to Ismo Luukkonen's exhibition Marked on Rock - Photographs of Prehistoric Rock Paintings at the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki. The exhibition is open June 16th to September 18th, 2011.... [Continue Reading...]

Steam of Life - a film

All weekend, our thoughts and conversations seemed to be mostly about saunas, Finnish saunas of all kinds, and Finnish men in saunas, all because of seeing a memorable and moving documentary film that drew on the full gamut of... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 24/01/2011 | 11 comments
themes: Films, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric




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Marja-Leena | 06/12/2010 | 10 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music, Nature, Photoworks


old Finnish jewelry

Somewhat related to my 'textures of home' series, but much more personal, featured here are some very old Finnish pendants and a brooch that have been passed on to me. These styles were and still are commonly worn with... [Continue Reading...]

the longest day

Disappointingly dull cloudy weather today for the solstice. Nevertheless I wax nostalgic at this time of year, every year, so I reread my past posts about this very important, ancient Nordic tradition. My favourites, if you care to visit... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 21/06/2010 | 12 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


a special Easter greeting

We received this astonishing Easter greeting this morning from artist friends Loit and Virge Joekalda in Tallinn, Estonia. I'm so in love with it that I asked permission to share it here. Loit wrote that last fall he made... [Continue Reading...]

Lucia and lights

How lovely, on Lucia's Day to have our first real snowfall, light flakes slowly dancing down, the frozen ground now white and an icing-sugar-like dusting on evergreen branches. It set the right mood for finishing up the holiday letters... [Continue Reading...]

sing your complaints

The Helsinki Complaints Choir at the stairs of the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki. Photo taken from the complaints choirs website The first time I heard of complaints choirs was over three years ago and later blogged about how amusing... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 11/12/2009 | 9 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music, Neat stuff, Other artists


December's here

The sun is shining and I can see the snow on the mountaintops. It's cold and still very wet from the November rains. I think we had some frost last night, not the first for we had a few... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 01/12/2009 | 7 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Other artists


a midsummer fest

Up with the early light, though the sun is obscured with cloud, I remember it is Juhannus and ... the summer solstice, (or properly June solstice for it's winter in the southern hemisphere). Memories of magical midsummer nights in Finland,... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 21/06/2009 | 18 comments
themes: Culture, Ethnicity, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


K.A. Laity's Unikirja: Dream Book

I want to take a short break from the subject of our recent trip to tell you about a special book that I'm very excited to learn is now published and available: Unikirja: Dream Book. Author Kate A. Laity has... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 31/05/2009 | 8 comments
themes: Books, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Folk Legends & Myths


Film: Recipes for Disaster

If you live in the Vancouver area, you will want to see this important film: On April 16, view the third and final film of DOXA's Documentary Film Series in the lead-up to our May festival. Recipes for Disaster follows... [Continue Reading...]

Easter weekend

spring, rye grass, pussy willows, birch twigs, tissue paper flowers virpovitsa whisking, children with cowbells decorated eggs, egg hunt, dancing sun mämmi porridge, flying witches, begging children All of the above are a curious blend of Eastern and Western... [Continue Reading...]

Women's Month interviews

Writer and blogger-friend Kate A. Laity of Wombat's World is doing an inspiring series of interviews of women

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Janus and Tammikuu

Janus - etching, 40 x 37.5 cm. As I crack open new calendars, I think about January and the Roman god Janus and about looking back and looking forward. I wonder about the Finnish name for this month, Tammikuu... [Continue Reading...]

feast of Stephen

Good King Wenceslas looked out On the feast of Stephen When the snow lay round about Deep and crisp and even The words to the carol "Good King Wenceslas" were written by John Mason Neale and published in 1853,... [Continue Reading...]

Tapio Wirkkala, Finnish designer

    Go fetch yourself a cup of your favourite brew, sit down and watch this gorgeous 16 minute video on Tapio Wirkkala, in English and some Finnish. Virtual Finland presents him as "a father figure of Finnish applied art... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 05/12/2008 | 11 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Other artists


advent calendars

        from Virtual Finland This morning, as I flipped the calendar pages over to the last page, it hit me that it is now December or Joulukuu (Finnish for Christmas month). So much to do and what do I... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 01/12/2008 | 10 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Kekri and Samhain

        It's the last day of October and Halloween tonight. With our children grown up and the grandchildren in England this year, I have made no effort to celebrate this occasion here at home. Erika, now living at home... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 31/10/2008 | 14 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Thanksgiving and Nobel Peace Prize

The elections here in Canada and the US plus the world economy has taken far too much of our attention lately. Canadians vote on Tuesday, October 14th and that night will be an anxious one awaiting results that we... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 12/10/2008 | 11 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Home


white nights

Awake at 3:30 this morning, unable to get back to sleep, I made myself a soothing cup of hot cocoa (with goat's milk and stevia) and sat at the table reading yesterday's paper. Looking outside, to the northeast I... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 20/06/2008 | 17 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Home


sima for May Day

The sunshine is so warming today as it streams into the house (oh, but such dirty windows). Fresh green leaves, spring flowers and even dandelions are bursting everywhere in spite of the cool temperatures. The tulips I had picked... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 30/04/2008 | 8 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


snow artist

Artist and University of Lapland Professor of Art Education Timo Jokela's medium is snow, which he sculpts, saws, and moulds on the fells of Finland, Sweden, and Norway, Russia and the Austrian Alps.

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Marja-Leena | 18/04/2008 | 2 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Other artists


immigrants' journeys

A story of one Finnish family's immigrant experience.
UPDATE April 28, 2008: I just learned about this exhibition on the same theme: Free Spirit: Stories of You, Me and BC is a major feature exhibition at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC's capital. We'll have to see this the next time we go visit!

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BC's Finnish settlers

        Nordic Spirit: Early Finnish Settlements in B.C. A gallery presentation of over 100 moving historical images depicting the life and times of the early Finnish settlers on the West Coast Clinton Hall Finn Slough Sointula Webster's Corner and... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 25/03/2008 | 7 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History


a low-carb diet

Thanks to an email alert from the local Finnish community, last night my husband and I enjoyed an interesting creative documentary film on CBC Newsworld's Passionate Eye : RECIPES FOR DISASTER, a Millennium Film of Finland production, directed by John... [Continue Reading...]


Browsing the latest posts at The Megalithic Portal a few weeks ago, an article with the name Vottovaara, caught my attention for it sounds Finnish and also sounded rather familiar to me....

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Marja-Leena | 14/01/2008 | 6 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Rock Art & Archaeology


Looking back: Joulupukki

Isn't it fascinating how the Santa Claus figure has evolved in different countries? In Finland, the jolly fellow is called 'Joulupukki' and his home is on Korvatunturi Mountain, in Finnish Lapland.

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Looking back: Lucia's Day

I am finding that one of the downsides of being a blogger for more than two or three years is that I feel that more and more I begin to repeat myself. Yet, readers come and go though there are... [Continue Reading...]

two candles for Finland

In honour of Finland's 90th Independence Day (Itsenäisyys Päivä) today, I have lit these two candles in a window, as is the custom there. "Why two candles? Well, one is for home, the other is for country. This silent... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 06/12/2007 | 6 comments
themes: Culture, Current Events, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


PISA tests

Pardon my bragging... I've written from time to time about how Finland's education system has been well-recognized for its excellence in many areas - reading, music, math and sciences. This has been confirmed by the international PISA tests such... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 04/12/2007 | 12 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Saariaho and Sibelius

This seems to be the week for music themes on my blog. First, I learned that Kaija Saariaho has been named Composer of the Year by Musical America: Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho swore she would never write an opera... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 15/11/2007 | 10 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music


elf academy

Have you ever wanted to be an elf? The Elf academy is being set up in Rovaniemi, Lapland where you can become a certified elf. This is the right place, after all it is the land of Santa and... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 06/11/2007 | 3 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Neat stuff



Ah, the calendar page turns to November. This morning's too-brief sunshine drew me outdoors. I could not resist taking the camera to capture some of the last of fall's beauty in our garden. Curious about the source of the... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 01/11/2007 | 9 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


autumn and sauna

We said goodbye to summer and welcomed autumn by working outdoors in our yard all weekend. All day yesterday we were cutting and pruning some hugely overgrown laurel to let in some sunlight, trimming some of the neighbour's birch tree... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 23/09/2007 | 20 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Home



September's calendar is filling up with interesting events. I've just booked seats to see a Finnish-themed music theatre work by an MFA grad with a Finnish name. As immigrants ourselves, my husband and I were quite intrigued by this... [Continue Reading...]

ancient chewing gum

imagine my surprise reading this at Mirabilis: A 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum has been discovered by an archaeology student on a dig in western FINLAND

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Sámi cultural heritage project interesting, informative and beautifully designed website: Recalling Ancestral Voices, concerning the repatriation of Sámi cultural heritage.

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solstice memories

midsummer dreams, white nights in Nordic lands
solstice celebrations, bonfires on beaches...

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Marja-Leena | 21/06/2007 | 2 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Tove Jansson biography

Way back in February of 2005, I wrote about trolls and my love of folk legends, myths and fairy tales especially anything Finnish. In that context came up the name of internationally well-known Tove Jansson and her Moomintrolls. There... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 20/05/2007 | 13 comments
themes: Books, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Folk Legends & Myths


May Eve and Day

This April 30th I'm once again reminded by Helsingin Sanomat that today and tomorrow are Vappu or May Eve and May Day, "one of Finland's most boisterous (and liquid) annual festivals". May Day in Finland is a national holiday,... [Continue Reading...]

Miniprint Finland 2007

Another print triennial is coming up, this time in Finland: "The Graphic Artist Association of Lahti and the Lahti Art Museum are pleased to invite the artists to participate in the 6th International Miniprint Finland 2007 miniature graphics triennial."

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Marja-Leena | 16/04/2007 | 2 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Print Triennials


Kalevala and Vietnam

I know that the Finnish national epic the Kalevala is read around the world, translated as it is into 61 languages. So I've been quite intrigued to read a fascinating story about two Vietnamese women and their involvement with... [Continue Reading...]

friendship day

Hauskaa Ystävänpäivää and Happy Friendship Day**, everyone! Since learning about this very inclusive celebration, I like it far more than our over-commercialized and wasteful Valentine's Day, as long as we keep it simple. I did make this heart for... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 14/02/2007 | 21 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Happy St. Lucia Day!

This young maiden dressed in white with a red sash and a wreath of candles on her head brings light to the northern darkness! I wrote about this Swedish-Finnish tradition a year ago, so if it's new to you,... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 13/12/2006 | 3 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Happy 89th, Finland

Hyvää Itsenäisyyspäivää to Finland and my Finnish readers! On December 6, 1917, shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Finland declared its independence. On this date, 89 years later, Finns are celebrating their country's Independence Day. If you are... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 05/12/2006 | 17 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History


wombat's world

checked out a link back to my blog from Wombat's World -the writer was going to Finland to see the Astuvansalmi rock paintings!

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Finnish knitting lesson

(Still from The Last Knit by annekeAnna) Talk about obsessive-compulsive, this animation is extremely well-done and hilarious. Thanks to my husband for finding our evening's laugh medicine. Enjoy!... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 25/09/2006 | 13 comments
themes: Films, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Neat stuff


Modern Finnish Ruins

"Abandoned buildings, derelict factories filled with incredible old machines sitting alone in the dark halls with their power turned off for good, or nearly collapsed sawmills rotting silently away in the forest, being reclaimed by nature are the best, most authentic and interactive museums of industrial archaeology and local history....

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Marja-Leena | 31/08/2006 | 2 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History, Photography



The days are still very warm but there's a very noticeable change to the light. With shorter days, the sun's angle is getting lower, shadows longer, evenings cooler and the nights heavy with dew. In the park, yellow leaves... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 20/08/2006 | 2 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Home


Fiskars Village

An exhibition called 'Fiskars Art Center presents Remix-Rethought'. Fiskars? The Finnish scissor company? Yes, and there is a place in Finland called Fiskars that I didn't know about. This tickled my Finnish funny bone.

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Marja-Leena | 14/07/2006 | 2 comments
themes: Art Exhibitions, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


midsummer dreams

If I were in Finland right now, I'd be celebrating Juhannus at someone's summer cottage by a bonfire next to the water.

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Marja-Leena | 21/06/2006 | 7 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


June 1, 1906

For some time I've been thinking about mentioning some fascinating Finnish history that I've been reading at Virtual Finland**. Guest writer Hank at Finland for Thought beat me to it with the following: "1.6.1906 was a significant date in the... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 01/06/2006 | 2 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History


beauties vs beasts

(Lordi - Photo from Eurovision) The first that I ever heard of LORDI was in an email about two weeks ago from fellow-blogger Anna in England: "Lordi lordi, whatever next? I really think that you should do a piece... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 20/05/2006 | 16 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music


Happy Walpurgisnacht

"Ah, it's May Eve", I wrote last year, "Almost anywhere else on the planet this would not be so very significant, but in Finland it means "Vappu", a kind of Finnish "Mardi Gras meets the Rite of Spring", with... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 30/04/2006 | 2 comments
themes: Culture, Current Events, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Finnish Design exhibition

More Finnish stuff, dear readers! Friends of Finland recently sent out a notice to members about a very interesting travelling exhibition of Finnish design coming to Vancouver. (Links and photos are my additions.) "SCHOOL OF COOL - FRESH FINNISH DESIGN... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 06/04/2006 | 2 comments
themes: Art Exhibitions, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Self-portrait, Dead Horse Point, Utah, 1997, 20" x 24" I first became acquainted with Arno Rafael Minkkinen, an internationally known Finnish-American photographer through Art Daily some months ago. His works affected me deeply, and I bookmarked it for... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 31/03/2006 | 10 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Other artists, Photography


Kaija Saariaho, opera composer

Charles Downey of Ionarts wrote today: "Tonight was the big night in Paris, the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho's new opera, Adriana Mater, at the Opéra national de Paris. It was to have been the jewel in the crown... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 30/03/2006 | be the first to comment
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music


Toronto's Lord of the Rings

"The much-anticipated musical theatre version of The Lord of the Rings made its formal début in a gala première in Toronto on Thursday evening, and the reactions of the audience suggested that the massive production would not be leaving... [Continue Reading...]


(image scanned from invitation - designed by Andrew Cairns) WOMAN is an art exhibition in celebration of International Women's Day at the Ferry Building Gallery, 1414 Argyle Ave, in West Vancouver, BC. The opening reception is tonight, Tuesday, March... [Continue Reading...]

slide show: aurora borealis

Ooh, there's a truly outstanding and beautiful slide show of the Aurora Borealis at Virtual Finland (from where I've borrowed this photo)! "Finland is a leader in the study of the Aurora Borealis, the majestic display of colours that... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 28/02/2006 | 1 comment
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Neat stuff, Photography


photos of Finland

Niklas Sjöblom photo, February 6, 2006 I have a few longer blog posts that I have been wanting to write for some time but have been busy and then too tired to organize my thoughts and research. So, instead... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 13/02/2006 | 3 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Photography


Finnish ice flowers

In today's meanderings amongst some favourite Finnish bloggers, my eyes popped at the sight of some absolutely gorgeous photos of frost flowers on ikkunaiines' windows. The pictures speak for themselves without language. There are lots more on her photoblog.... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 19/01/2006 | 5 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Photography


weird habits meme

This meme has been going around many Finnish blogs and now I've been tagged by SIKURI (written by a Finnish-American blogger and writer, formerly sananlaskija). I'll do mine in English to open the field since so many Finns that... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 17/01/2006 | 10 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Neat stuff


Twelfth Day

Today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas (and my true love gave to me...!). A year ago, I learned that the Twelfth Day of Christmas is on the sixth day of January which is Epiphany (or Loppianen in Finnish).... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 06/01/2006 | 6 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Sami & Inuit Art exhibition

If you are anywhere near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, you may be interested in this upcoming exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. I wish I could see it because, as some readers know, I'm interested in the northern indigenous... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 04/01/2006 | 3 comments
themes: Art Exhibitions, Ethnicity, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a public holiday observed in many Commonwealth countries on 26 December. In many European countries including Finland it is also a holiday, called St Stephen's Day (Tapaninpäivä in Finnish) or the Second Day of Christmas. According... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 26/12/2005 | 2 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Santa or Joulupukki

(A straw moble or "himmeli" - scanned from a clipping in my files, from an old Finnish magazine possibly Kotiliesi) It's now five nights to Christmas Eve and my thoughts are dancing around this rather magical time. I'm really... [Continue Reading...]

Santa Lucia's Day

Illustration by Satomi Ichikawa in Merry Christmas - Children at Christmastime around the world (Wm.Heinemann, 1983) In Helsingin Sanomat is an article about the Saint Lucia parade held last night, December 13th, in Helsinki. "As the doors of the... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 14/12/2005 | 2 comments
themes: Books, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


musician of the year

Today, I'm pleased at this news in Helsingin Sanomat International: Esa-Pekka Salonen named Musical America's "Musician of the Year" Musical America has named the Finnish conductor, composer, and music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Esa-Pekka Salonen as its... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 13/12/2005 | be the first to comment
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music


Finland Independence Day

Hyvää Itsenäisyyspäivää to my Finnish readers! ("Happy Independence Day" in Finnish). Finland is celebrating its 88th Independence Day tomorrow, Tuesday, December 6th. It is a national holiday, an official flag-raising day, and in every home, two candles are normally... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 05/12/2005 | 13 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


first of December

The first day of December already! I just learned that the name is from the Latin decem for "ten". December was the tenth month in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period was divided between January and February,... [Continue Reading...]

Finnish libraries

The Dome Hall, National Library of Finland As I've mentioned before, I love reading Virtual Finland for all kinds of interesting facts about my birth country. I knew that Finns have long led the world in reading and literacy.... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 26/11/2005 | 2 comments
themes: Books, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History


Exhibition Photo & Statement


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final preparations

With my printworks finished and ready to hang on Wednesday morning, I had a day of deserved and much-needed rest yesterday. Today I am sorting through my notes, even my blog posts which are a proving to be a... [Continue Reading...]

Finland, Cultural Lone Wolf

This is the unusual and attention-grabbing title of a new book on Finland, as announced in the aforementioned e-newsletter from Canadian Friends of Finland. The announcement reads: DEAR FINN OR PART- FINN: Finland is revealed in a new book... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 15/10/2005 | be the first to comment
themes: Books, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Sibelius...the Last Swan

Images from Jean Sibelius biography site. Canadian Friends of Finland, Vancouver Chapter, presents: SIBELIUS.....THE LAST SWAN A stage play performed by Western Gold Theatre Saturday October 29, 2005, 2 - 3.30 pm Scandinavian Community Centre, 6540 Thomas St., Burnaby, B.C.... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 15/10/2005 | be the first to comment
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music



If you are an artist looking for opportunities such as residencies in the Nordic countries, NIFCA, the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art, will be of interest to you. Located in Helsinki, NIFCA is funded by the Nordic Council of... [Continue Reading...]

Wolf Cave

Here's an interesting find, not rock art this time, but archaeology. Susiluola or Wolf Cave is northern Europe's oldest known human dwelling site. In most places the last ice age destroyed evidence from the warmer interglacial periods of previous... [Continue Reading...]

Pekka Kivikäs

As my readers know, I'm nuts about prehistoric art, particularly that of northern Europe. One site that I check periodically is**, a Finnish portal for archaeology fans. Recently I spotted a notice about some new books (PDF) that... [Continue Reading...]

Sunday in Vancouver

A gorgeous sunny warm day yesterday tempted us outside to explore. We headed to Deep Cove with walking shoes, a backpack with water, a snack of nuts and the camera. The "Cove" was pleasantly crowded with people enjoying the... [Continue Reading...]

Artscape Nordland

Seven Magical Points - Martti Aiha, Finland Reader and commenter extraordinaire Bill really livened up the virtual conversation at my post about a book on Quadra petroglyphs Spirit in the Stone. If readers missed it, do go read the... [Continue Reading...]


Marimekko Pattern: Karhunkukka (1964/2004) (translation: Bearflower) Designer: Maija Isola and Kristina Isola Soon after my last post, which mentions Marimekko, I found an article in the Guardian about how Marimekko may have won John F. Kennedy the 1960 presidential... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 06/09/2005 | 2 comments
themes: Art Exhibitions, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


blogs and shows

1. Thanks to blog friend Anna of Self-Winding for pointing out that The Padacia has posted a couple of my Nexus prints. Thanks also to this mystery blogger from Oslo - it's nice to find another beautiful blog. Curiosity sent... [Continue Reading...]

language leak

I must still be thinking about accents and language and identity because this article caught my eye and really struck a chord. A study says that languages 'leak' into each other in subtle ways: While linguistics experts are reluctant to... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 20/08/2005 | 6 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Linguistics



Artist Karen D'Amico of fluid thinking** wrote about how her accent betrays her roots even after 15 years in her new country. It got her "thinking about the notion of accent as a marker for identity." This subject always fascinates... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 16/08/2005 | 1 comment
themes: Being an Artist, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Linguistics


dog days of summer

I always wondered where the expression dog days of summer came from. It made me think of overheated dogs panting with their mouths open and tongues lolling. I do feel rather like a hot dog these days. "In the... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 09/08/2005 | 3 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


opera in Finland

I've suspected for some time that Charles Downey of Ionarts is "quite a Finnophile", as he admits in a great post about Finnish opera and the Savonlinna Opera Festival. For me, Savonlinna is a special town in the beautiful... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 28/07/2005 | 2 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music


Graphica Creativa

Graphica Creativa is the second oldest international printmaking exhibition in the Nordic countries. It is arranged in Jyväskylä, Finland every third year. Thanks to Graphica Creativa, Jyväskylä has become a centre of printmaking. A few days ago its 30 Years... [Continue Reading...]

Land of the Saame

Photo by Pekka Antikainen, in "Land of the Saame" As my dear readers know, I'm fascinated by the northern indigenous cultures, in particular the Saami people of northern Europe who are a branch of the Finno-Ugric family. Some time... [Continue Reading...]

Arthus-Bertrand in Helsinki

Yann Arthus-Bertrand over Helsinki - photo from Helsingin Sanomat I've been really enjoying browsing through some fantastic aerial photos by celebrated French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. He has an extensive summer exhibition, Earth From Above, in Helsinki, including a World... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 22/06/2005 | 4 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Photography


Midsummer nights

Many summers ago my husband, our two little girls and I were traveling by car and ferries through Germany to Denmark, Sweden, Finland and back again to Germany before flying home to Canada. The night we arrived in Denmark... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 21/06/2005 | 6 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


visiting Sacral Spaces

Another exhibition that we went to see on our Friday jaunt about town was Sacral Spaces at the Emily Carr Institute. The main attraction for me was, of course, that this featured Finnish architecture (did I ever mention that... [Continue Reading...]

Sacral Spaces

Here's an interesting exhibition of Finnish architecture that I look forward to seeing, right here in Vancouver! (links mine) Hughes Condon Marler: Architects in collaboration with Emily Carr Institute's Charles H. Scott Gallery presents Sacral Spaces - Modern Finnish Churches,... [Continue Reading...]

Finland Diary

Wow, did I receive a lovely surprise on this morning's check on ionarts. In Blogging Finland, Charles Downey wrote: "Thanks to The Cranky Professor, I learned about one of the Washington Post blogs, Robert G. Kaiser's Finland Diary, for which... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 25/05/2005 | be the first to comment
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Vappu and May Day

Ah, it's May Eve, as Helsingin Sanomat reminds me. Almost anywhere else on the planet this would not be so very significant, but in Finland it means "Vappu", a kind of Finnish "Mardi Gras meets the Rite of Spring",... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 30/04/2005 | 3 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


'Rings' debut in Toronto

"The much-anticipated stage adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy will have its world premiere in Toronto, producers announced in London Tuesday. The $27-million show, co-produced by Toronto's Mirvish Productions, will open in March 2006 at... [Continue Reading...]

Finnish folklore inspires

A news item in VietNam News, via News Room Finland caught my eye - "Finnish oral traditions inspire painting exhibition in Ha Noi" (links are mine): "Two female artists from Viet Nam and Hungary are displaying their interpretations of... [Continue Reading...]

Finnish artists' blogs

A few days when browsing through language hat I found coloria. It's a unique site (in Finnish) all about colours: history, cultural meanings, chemistry, pigments and so forth, plus a discussion forum, by Finnish artist Päivi Hintsanen. She says... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 12/02/2005 | 1 comment
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Other artists


all about trolls

Illustration by Rudolf Koivu, "The troll and the shepherdess" in "Matka Satumaahan" (A Trip to the Land of Fairytales) by Raul Roine, Otava, Helsinki 1954 Sometimes I wonder if some readers think I'm silly when I write about my... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 04/02/2005 | 7 comments
themes: Books, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Folk Legends & Myths


Finnish music

Many heart-felt thanks to everyone for all the blogoversary congratulations! Extra special thank yous to Anna for the delightful little poem she wrote for the occasion, and to Charles Downey who wrote: "There's a little post on Finnish music... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 03/02/2005 | be the first to comment
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music


anniversary & rocks

Well, today is this blog's first anniversary and what a wonderful ride it has been. Many thanks to all you faithful readers and commentors and the still growing numbers of visitors who have been and are still making this... [Continue Reading...]

about Báiki

Cover of issue 25 of Báiki, with image of sculpture: "NAA", © 2003 Rose-Marie Huuva, reindeer hide and sealskin I recently received a copy of Báiki: the North American Sámi Journal, which 'is a major English-language source of information... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 12/12/2004 | 3 comments
themes: Culture, Ethnicity, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History


Finland's Independence Day

Finland is celebrating its 87th Independence Day (Itsenäisyys Päivä) today, December 6th. Though I'm a proud Canadian, I'm also proud of my birth country. Finland was part of the Swedish realm for some 600 years up to 1809 and... [Continue Reading...]

Lord of the Rings musical

Helsingin Sanomat has a story that really tickles my Finnish funnybone as it makes the intriguing connection between Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Finland. The makers of London's West End musical Lord of the Rings (Flash webpage) have... [Continue Reading...]

Flying stones of Lapland

I have been having an interesting email correspondence with Vyacheslav Mizin, a Russian in St. Petersburg who found my site and wrote to me about his interests and research into Arctic stone cultures. His research trips around the St.... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 25/08/2004 | 3 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Rock Art & Archaeology


Music in Finland

As a lover of opera and all things Finnish, I'm surprised and thrilled by today's post on ionarts "Music in Finland". Charles Downey writes about how active opera is in Finland today as well as its history: "It took... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 20/08/2004 | 2 comments
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Music


World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples

"Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, will host the Fourth World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples from 15-19 August 2004. The theme of the congress is "The Youth Is Our Future" and it will bring together approximately seven hundred delegates, observers and... [Continue Reading...]

Karelia's Rock Art & History

Andrew Heninen is a Karelian (Finnish-Russian) programmer with a keen interest in the history of lost Finnish territories. Karelia (or Karjala in Finnish) is a territory which straddles the present-day border between Finland and Russia, and is home to... [Continue Reading...]

Finnish Rock Paintings

"Finnish rock paintings are an unique link to the world of the Stone Age people. The paintings are made 6000- 3000 years ago in vertical rock surfaces. The nearby lake was an important waterway, These pages introduce some of... [Continue Reading...]

the Sami and Siida

Part of my ongoing research into my Finnish ethnology has been learning more about the other groups in the Finno-Ugrian family of people. The Sami (formerly called Lapps) of Northern Finland, Sweden, Norway and Northwest Russia are one group and... [Continue Reading...]

Rembrandt at Retretti

I was very excited to learn that my favourite and a most unique art gallery has some exciting printmaking exhibitions this summer. "The Retretti Art Centre is one of the largest art centres in the Nordic region. Located in... [Continue Reading...]

visiting Karelia

Going through some of my old bookmarked links, I came across a favourite saved sometime around the year 2000, The Karelian Journal. It is a fascinating real-life story about an international group that travels to the northwestern region of... [Continue Reading...]

Nexus: Vyg & Willendorf


Nexus: Vyg & Willendorf
inkjet print on Hahnemuhle watercolour paper
61 x 80 cm.

[Continue Reading...]

May Day or Vappu

One of the most important festivals of the year, the first day of May is a popular celebration in Scandinavia. This originally a worker's holiday has turned into a massive celebratory festival for current and graduated high school students... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 30/04/2004 | 1 comment
themes: Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


The Spell of Rock Art

A prize possession of mine is the 2003 Finno-Ugric Calendar published by the Estonian Society of Prehistoric Art and the Fenno-Ugria Foundation. The photo work was done by society member Loit Joekalda, whom I met in Tallinn in 2002. It... [Continue Reading...]

Event: Kalevala Runos

Is this synchronicity? I have just received an email notice about an event this weekend called Kalevala Runos. It is presented by the Vancouver Society of Storytelling. Their link is for last year's event and because there is no... [Continue Reading...]

KALEVALA and The Lord of the Rings

As a Finnish-Canadian artist, I am drawn to learning more about the very ancient roots of my family in the Old World. In writing about these discoveries on this weblog, I hope to share some of these with other... [Continue Reading...]

Rock art research

In my research into the history and art of my ancestors, a wealth of information has come from Loit Joekalda of Estonia.. He believes the best researcher of the rock art of the Fenno-Ugrians is Väinö Poikalainen, chair of... [Continue Reading...]


Continuing the story about our travels in conjuction with our Traces exhibition in Vaasa... Leaving Helsinki, a fast ferry ride across the Gulf of Finland took us to Tallinn, Estonia with its fascinating medieval walled old town, surrounded by... [Continue Reading...]


Continuing the story about our travels in conjuction with our Traces exhibition in Vaasa... After Vaasa and Turku, came the beautiful capital city Helsinki, full of interesting things to see. As arranged, we met printmaker Vappu Johansson, who had... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 03/02/2004 | 2 comments
themes: Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Other artists, Travel


"Traces" Exhibition in Finland

In May & June 2002, I had the great pleasure of having an exhibition called Traces with friends and colleagues Bonnie Jordan and Steven Dixon at the Pohjanmaan Museum's Taidehalli in Vaasa, Finland. Please look at: TRACES, my site... [Continue Reading...]

Fenno-Ugrian people

Some of my image research delves into the marks left by early humans, particularly the Fenno-Ugrian peoples. Their region includes Finland (my birth country), Karelia (now in Russia), Estonia and Lapland or Sami. The Gallen-Kallela Museum in Finland had an... [Continue Reading...]