'Kuusamo' photo by Hannu Ahonen

Kuusamo photo by Hannu Ahonen

Elias Lönnrot (1802-84)

Elias Lönnrot (1802-84) was a Finnish physician, philologist and 
collector of traditional Finnish oral poetry. He is best known for compiling  
Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, from national folk tales that he 
gathered  during several expeditions in Finland, Russian Karelia
the Kola Peninsula and Baltic countries

 Elias Lönnrot's birth home
from: J. Knutson: 'Finland Framställt i teckningar'. 
Helsingfors: A.W. Gröndahl & A.C. Öhman, 1845

Lönnrot got a job as district doctor of Kajaani in Eastern Finland during 
a time of famine and pestilence in the district. The famine had prompted the previous 
doctor to resign, making it possible for a very young doctor to get such a position. Several 
consecutive years of crop failure resulted in losses of population and livestock. In addition, lack of 
a hospital further complicated Lönnrot's work. He was the sole doctor for 4,000 or so people, 
most of whom lived in small rural communities scattered across the district. As physicians and 
novel drugs were expensive at the time, most people relied on their village healers and 
locally available remedies. Lönnrot himself was keen on traditional remedies and 
also administered them. However, he believed strongly that preventive 
measures such as good hygiene, breastfeeding of babies and 
vaccination were the most effective cures for his patients 

 'Peasant Dance'
by Robert Wilhelm Ekman (1808-73)

 His true passion lay in his native Finnish language. He began writing 
about the early Finnish language in 1827 and began collecting folk tales from 
rural people about that time. In 1831, the Finnish Literature Society was founded, 
and Lönnrot, being one of the founder members, received financial support 
from the society for his collecting efforts

  Lönnrot, 1847, while he was collecting folktales on one of his expeditions. 
It is made as a sort of a cartoon - making fun of Lönnrot; now a man from the upper-class,
once a member of the lower class. It says: 'Unus homo nobis currendo restituit rem'
in English it is almost:  'A man has saved us by hiking the state' 

 Elias Lönnrot with his family

'Lemminkainen's Revenge' from 'Kalevala'
illustrated by Nicolai Kochergin

Lönnrot went on extended leaves of absence from his doctor's office; 
he toured the countryside of Finland, Sapmi (Lapland), and nearby portions of  
Russian Karelia. This led to a series of books: Kantele, 1829–1831 (the kantele is a 
Finnish traditional instrument); Kalevala, 1835–1836 (the 'old' Kalevala); Kanteletar, 1840;  
Sananlaskuja, 1842 (Proverbs); an expanded second edition of Kalevala, 1849 
(the 'new' Kalevala). Lönnrot was recognised for his part in preserving 
Finland's oral traditions by appointment to the Chair of  

 Robert Wilhelm Ekman (1808-73):
Kreeta Haapasalo playing the Kantele in a Peasants Cottage
Kreeta became well known for her singing and kantele playing, which 
she did mostly to raise a little money to support her 11 children 
and her ' almost-good-for-nothing husband'

book cover, 1884

Swedish design for a living world

Inspired by our beautiful surroundings at the Bjäre peninsula in the 
southern of Sweden with small red cottages, meadows, fields and a large biologica
l variety, the idea behind the Wildlife Garden company was born. It started as a 
general interest in nature and birds, but grew and became Wildlife Garden

Wildlife Garden's website

 DecoBird and DecoAnimal are life-like linden wood birds
and animals that are carved and painted by hand

These large bird feeders can store en entire 5 litres of feed.
They can be filled with different types of feed such as suet balls, insect cakes,
peanuts, sunflower seeds or seed mixtures. Multifeeder Barns attract many
different species to the garden. True bird magnets!

he Multiholk cottage is both a birdhouse and platform feeder
that is easily converted after the season. In the spring, the red cottage
with white trim functions as accommodation for breeding small birds. For the autumn,
it can be converted in a few easy steps into a feeder for birds in the garden


By Tiina Heiska

Tiina Heiska is a contemporary Finnish painter, born in Finland, 1959. 
Her work is based on photography, which she uses as a sketch 
or a draft for the later painted image

Please, go here and she more of her artwork
Tiina Heiska's website is here

Finland in red and pink...

 One red enamel bowl and two red 'Lintu'- bird -  
mugs by Finel Arabia Finland.

Finel enamel bowls were designed by Kaj Franck for Arabia Finland.
Made out of steel covered with enamel. Finel bowl and mugs were manufactured 
between 1968-1970. The 'Bird' design was designed by Raija Uosikkinen, as 
she was one of the designers for Finel - Wärtsilä, and these mugs were 
manufactured by Järvenpään Emali - who manufactured 'Finel' brand. 
'Lintu' enamel mugs were made in blue and red

Purchase the bowl and the mugs here:

'Ladybird' ring by Liisa Vitali, 1974

 'Ladybird' sterling silver ring by Finnish Liisa Vitali, 1974


Nyckelharpa built by Eric Sahlström
Photo by Karsten Evers

 A nyckelharpa ('keyed fiddle', or literally 'key harp') is a traditional  
Swedish musical instrument. It is a string instrument or chordophone. Its keys 
are attached to tangents which, when a key is depressed, serve as frets to change 
the pitch of the string. The nyckelharpa is similar in appearance to a fiddle or the big  
Sorb geige or viol. Structurally, it is more closely related to the hurdy gurdy, both 
employing key-actuated tangents to change the pitch. The nyckelharpa and its 
tonal range appear on the reverse of the Swedish 50 kronor banknote

Two angels with nyckelharpa, fresco in the church at 
Tolfa, Tierp Municipality, Uppland, Sweden. Unknown painter, 1503

A depiction of two instruments, possibly but not confirmed nyckelharpor, 
can be found in a relief dating from circa 1350 on one of the gates of Källunge 
church on Gotland. Early church paintings are found in Siena, Italy, dating to 1408 and 
in different churches in Denmark and Sweden, such as Tolfta church, Sweden, which dates 
to circa 1460-1525. Other very early pictures are to be found in  Hildesheim, Germany
dating to circa 1590. The Swedish province of Uppland has been a stronghold for 
nyckelharpa music since the early 17th century, including musicians like 
Byss-Calle (Carl Ersson Bössa, 1783–1847) from Älvkarleby

Didier François teaching his special technique at the 
International Days of the Nyckelharpa at Burg Fürsteneck, 2005


'In the Land of Twilight'

'In the Land of Twilight'
by Astrid Lindgren
illustrated by Marit Törnqvist

Goran has an injured leg and gets bored spending so much time in bed. 
When his mother turns out the light at dusk, however, Mr. Lilyvale knocks on the 
window and takes him to the Land of Twilight. Goran and Mr. Lilyvale walk and fly 
around Stockholm while people from the daytime world are asleep.

Goran drives a trolley and a bus. It doesn’t matter that he has a bad leg 
in the Land of Twilight. They eat candy that grows on trees in the park, play with 
bear cubs, and meet a moose. They even visit the King and Queen in the royal palace. 
At the end of each night’s journey, Mr. Lilyvale takes Goran home just 
before his mother comes and turns on the light.

This delightful story about the power of the imagination is set in a
magical version of Stockholm and painted in beautiful twilight tones

From 5 to 8 years

Purchase the book here:
Floris Books (UK) ot here: Lantern Books (US)

'Viking Tales' by Jennie Hall 1902

 'Viking Tales' by Jennie Hall 1902
Illustrator: Victor R. Lambdin

 King Halfdan lived in Norway long ago. One morning his queen said to him:

'I had a strange dream last night. I thought that I stood in the grass before my bower.
I pulled a thorn from my dress. As I held it in my fingers, it grew into a tall tree. The trunk 
was thick and red as blood, but the lower limbs were fair and green, and the highest 
ones were white. I thought that the branches of this great tree spread so far 
that they covered all Norway and even more'

So it begins...go see the rest of the book here:

I own this baby for my son. He shall be called Harald

I struck my shield against the door so 
that it made a great clanging

Then he turned to the shore and sang out loudly

Runic calendars and primstavs

Rune staffs at the Museum of History in Lund, Sweden

A Runic calendar (also Rune staff or Runic Almanac) is a perpetual calendar 
 based on the 19-year-long Metonic cycle of the Moon. Runic calendars were written 
on parchment or carved onto staves of wood, bone, or horn. The oldest one known, and 
the only one from the Middle Ages, is the Nyköping staff from Sweden, believed to date 
from the 13th century. Most of the several thousand which survive are wooden calendars 
dating from the 16th and the 17th centuries. During the 18th century, the Runic 
calendars had a renaissance, and around 1800, such calendars were 
made in the form of tobacco boxes in brass

 Detail of a Runic Calendar, showing the three rows of symbols. 
The calendar does not rely on knowledge of the length of the tropical year 
or of the occurrence of leap years. It is set at the beginning of each year by observing 
the first full moon after the winter solstice. The first full moon also marked the 
date of  Disting, a pagan feast and a fair day. Special days like solstices,  
equinoxes, and celebrations (including Christian holidays and 
feasts) were marked with additional lines of symbols

 Primstav from Hallingdal with coat of arms of Norway, 17th century
 A primstav (translation: prime staff) is the ancient Norwegian and Danish calendar stick.
These were engraved with images instead of runes. The images depicted the different
nonmoving religious holidays. The oldest primstav still in existence  is from
1457 and is exhibited at Norsk Folkemuseum.

Beautiful fall at the Lillehammer fjells

Sulamith Wülfing from "The Little Mermaid, 1953

 For Sulamith Wülfing, the world of fairy tales was always an inspiration
for her beautiful paintings. Above all, she loved Hans Christian Andersen’s
'The Little Mermaid', with its poetic language and its poignant understanding
of the transforming power of love. For children and adults alike

Purchase the book here: Amazon

Norwegian bronze necklace

Unn Tangerud for Uni David-Andersen
Designed in the 1960s for Uni D-A Norway Bronse

Purchase it here: Epla 


Photos by Helen Furu / RetroStilig


Iceland on horse and goat...

 Five children on a horse in Iceland in 1957
Photo by Haddi and Adda

Boy, Ingimundur Björnsson, and goat, 1931
Photo by Helgi Arason (1893-1972)