Ceramic artist Karin Widnäs loves the feel of clay between her fingers and gives a physical form to images conjured up in her mind. When she dreams, she dreams big. Often these dreams come true – like her atelier home in Fiskars and, more recently, the KWUM ceramics museum next door.
THE SOUTH-FINNISH VILLAGE of Fiskars with its tall oak trees and cosy buildings appealed to Karin Widnäs from her very first visit in the early 1990s. Some of her friends had just relocated to the picturesque former ironworks area, which was being developed into a unique community for artists and artisans at the time.
The old, deserted buildings received new residents, who began to transform them into studios, workshops and homes. But Karin dreamt of a plot of land for building a house of her own.
“I wanted to find a plot of land for building my own studio and home in order to apply my designs and ceramics to the building on a larger scale. Soon a friend told me about a plot that was being sold by the municipality of Pohja. I liked the location and energy of the place,” Karin Widnäs explains.
She shows a wish box she designed for adding a wish written on a piece of paper and then burning it. In Karin’s case, an atelier home and subsequently the KWUM ceramic museum next door rose from the ashes.
Professor Tuomo Siitonen was the right architect to make her wishes a reality. The building project was fruitful in many ways, the collaboration between the architect and ceramic artist turning into a creative explosion that ticked both of their boxes.
Already before construction, Karin had been fascinated by the prospect of combining ceramic finishes with architecture, which became an important reason for the build. Her handmade ceramic tiles add plenty of personality to the décor and architecture.
Karin makes ceramic tiles with a traditional, thousand-year-old technique that she combines with contemporary designs.
The hundreds of unique tiles on the walls reflect the constantly shifting play of light and shadow. Also the terracotta tiles that cover the hallway floor are handmade.
The streamlined architecture of the wooden building continues in the spacious, calming interiors. The rays of the sun flood in through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Here, the outside is truly brought in. The building has a floor area of 350 square metres across two floors.
Art and architecture are touching and create connections in the space.
All the intricate wooden finishes as well as the doors, windows, staircase and hallway panelling are by local cabinetmakers. The building is a sanctuary of architecture, light, aesthetic interiors and ceramic art.
“It takes determination and guts to think big and take calm steps towards the goal,” reflects Karin.
Karin Widnäs owns a large collection of international and Finnish ceramic art from the 1960s to the present day. A pot by local ceramic artist Erna Aaltonen stands by the stairs downstairs, its serene form reminiscent of Japanese and Korean ceramics.
One-off artworks displayed upstairs – Parivaljakko by Suku Park, sculptural Paju chair by Markku Kosonen and a ceramic bowl by Riitta Talonpoika – are just a few examples of her vast collection that shift as part of the décor.
Art and one-off pieces create unique encounters in the space. They elevate the aesthetic of the home above the mundane and create a backdrop for a pleasurable daily life. The atmosphere in Karin’s home nurtures creativity and opens doors to new visual experimentations.
• Asun Homes Vol 4 >
Text: Liti Wendelin Photos: Martti Järvi
This story was originally published in the Asun magazine's issue 36 and the Asun Homes bookazine's volume 4.