Wednesday, May 30, 2018

More about Marimekko

I wrote earlier this week about my trip to the Marimekko store in Helsinki, prompting a comment from Jill Hoddick, which I will reprint in full because it's so wonderful:

I grew up with a mom who wore Marimekko dresses for years.  She was a ceramics professor at USC and knew Armi Ratia, the founder.  My mom, Susan Peterson, was knighted by the Finnish government for her work as a ceramic educator.  I was lucky enough to go to Armi's summer home to spend time in the summer of 1967, when I was 16.  The home was very modern, and full of all prints Marimekko.  What a delight.  And I was lucky enough to come home with gifts!!!  Before my mother died, she gave all her dresses (I think about 75) to a Finnish museum.  To this day I still use Marimekko to cover dining tables and walls, and bring joy and color to my life.  I became a costume designer, and not an art quilter, perhaps because of my experience with Marimekko.  I have sheets in this print!

And aren't we all jealous -- imagine having enough Marimekko lying around to cover tables and walls!!  And imagine having a mom as accomplished as Jill's -- read about her here.

Several years ago I was quilting some pieces for Nancy Crow, and told her that I needed drapery-weight fabric for the back.  So she sent me three yards of Marimekko.  How fabulous is that, having enough Marimekko in your stash to use it as backing.  If you're not familiar with this brand, the fabric used to come only in a heavy cotton that was perfect for home dec and non-fluffy clothing.  This month I was intrigued to see that they now are producing the same designs on a quilting-weight fabric (the saleswoman called it batiste).

I didn't want to spend 40 euros a meter to buy any new fabric, especially since I no longer sew dresses or pillows, and wouldn't dream of slicing up a Marimekko fabric for a quilt, but I did pop 5 euros for a remnant, 13 x 56 inches.  At first glance you might think what on earth would somebody do with that piece of fabric, but I think it will make an intriguing background for hand stitching.  I'll let you know how that works out.


  1. Fabulous -- can't wait to see what you do with the remnant. Marimekko -- my favorite!

  2. We were lucky enough to have a whole Marimekko exhibition on a week or so ago in Bendigo, rural Victoria, Australia. The exhibition featured lengths of fabric and the garments made from them, plus all the supporting art and design work. I have photos if anyone is interested.

  3. Hi Kathleen - how lovely of you to include the notes about my Mom. She was an incredible woman, and I learned a great deal about art and culture from her. I would like to draw your reader's attention to the book Marimekko, edited by Marianne Aav a wonderful story of the Fabrics, Fashion and Architecture of Marimekko. The red flower print spoken of earlier is on the cover. It is so fun to go thru the book and find garments that my mom and I wore. (I still have round 15 dresses in my possession). Thank you for this blog entry - I have enjoyed going down memory lane with you.

  4. Just a note about my first long entry - near the end, it should read after my costume teaching career, I now am an art quilter!

  5. I bought a piece from 1958 at a vintage shop. I hope to make it into a duvet...