Friday, June 27, 2008

from goldfinch to dragons


This is the chair that my sister, Katja, made for the Call for Painted Chairs at our Midsummer Arts Festival on Bay St. She impressed photos of an American gold finch that visited her yard onto an old oak chair found in the attic of the Finnish Labour Temple. Gold skeleton leaves for accent. The chair sits at the top of the stairs to the Hall.

a whimsical garden chair that evokes a summertime mood!

The Finnish Canadian Historical Society painted and donated this chair. You can see their pamphlet on The Finnish Experience taped onto the chair. The FCHS is a local group that has been busy documenting and archiving Finnish Canadian experiences and history.

Below, the poem "Midsummer" by Einari Vuorela that Kylliki Emily Parkkari read in Finnish at our festival on Sunday; I read it in English [find my translation below]. The poem is from an old book published in 1947 that I found a few years back at a rummage sale at the Finlandia hall. The book is called Suomen Suvi: Runoja ja valokuvia keväästä Syksyyn [Finland's Summer: Poems and photographs from spring to Autumn].

Juhannus ~ Einari Vuorela 1889-1972

On valon juhla, juhannus,

on lehtimajain aika

on herkimmillään kauneus,

on kirkkaimmillaan ruskotus,

yön varjoo pyhä taika.


Ui vettä parvet venheitten

käy saariin nuorten saatto.

Soi laulu riemumielinen

ja kokot palaa roihuten.

On mittumaarin aatto.


Koi* ajaa kultavaunuissaan

yön äärtä, taivaan rantaa.

Soi laulurastas nummellaan

ja käki kukkuu kaihojaan,

Maan pellot tähkää kantaa.

This image is from the Suomen Suvi book and is found on the facing page, beside Vuorela's poem. Each page of the book has a poem on one side with a photograph to illustrate it on the facing page.


This pretty white and rose chair sat in front of the entrance to our local Finnish newspaper, The Canadan Sanomat. If you click on this week's online version [vol 8 # 25] you can read their article (in the Finnish language) on our Midsummer Festival. Written by Anna Kaisa Kontinaho, it's called Taide, musiikki ja suomalainen pulla tekivät Clubin juhannuksen [Art, music and Finnish sweetbread brought Midsummer to the Club]

This humorous child's time-out chair was part of a boy/girl set. It got a lot of attention and bids!!!

This pale yellow child's rocker embossed with leaves and a children's rhyme was another favorite that caused a bidding war!

This chair also caused a mad scrabble of bids at closing! Suspended from its seat, and replacing some back rungs, are beautiful multi-coloured glass sun catchers.

This old oak chair from the attic of the Finnish Labour Temple brought the top bid: $100. It was painted by Kaija Maki in such a fashion as to leave the old patina of the wood visible.


Below is my English translation of Einari Vuorela's poem. [on the website devoted to him, read his seasonal poems. Lovely!...of course, you must know Finnish to read them!] To keep the feel of Vuorela's poem on Midsummer, I was liberal with my metaphors. If you read Finnish, please send me any suggestions in comparing the original Finnish and my rough translation.


Midsummer by Einari Vuorela 1899-1972

The celebration of light, Midsummer

is the time when leaves create a sheltering sanctuary.

Soul-stirring beautiful, Midsummer

is a brilliant twilight,

an evening lit with sacred magic.


Rowboats cleave the waters

as the young head off to celebrate on islands.

Songs ring out joyfully

and bonfires blaze brightly.

It’s Midsummer Eve.


Dusk* drives its golden chariot

around the edges of the evening, along

the shores of heaven.

On the heath, the song thrush sings her heart out

while the cuckoo calls out wistfully.

The fields of earth bear kernels.



A sunshiny summer field of flowers rocker

a delightful doily design

One of my favourites, a wolf tracks chair made by who else but the folks at the Wolf Tracks Anishnawbe shop on Bay Street!

The women at Bay Credit Union crafted a seat full of change!

And to Finnish off ;-) the vintage Oshkosh nursery rocker I podged with the red lentävä lohikäärme [dragon] print napkins that I bought at the tori [market] of Finnfest in Marquette, Michigan in 2005. That year, I went to present a poetic narrative on how the past informs the present. I called it Tietäjän Takki .... The Shaman's Coat.

* koi is both dusk and moth, which makes for an interesting image for the last stanza. A moth, koi, circling the dusk, koi [from koite]. Or is the dusk a moth?

3 comments:

marja-leena said...

What a fun midsummer arts festival! What a great idea, these painted chairs! Love yours and your sister's.

sharlen said...

The tremedous diversity of styles in the chairs is a wonderful comment on our society. How wonderful to celebrate our differences in a celebration hosted by our Finnish component.

northshorewoman said...

next year I anticipate more interesting chairs! I know that some folks are already thinking about what sort of chair to create!