The Straw Shop is pleased to introduce the first straw artist we have met from Finland, named Eija Koski. Eija creates straw mobiles, she calls Himmeli. Eija describes herself a professional Himmelist.
Seeing a himmeli for the first time at her aunt’s farm in Finland as a child, Eija Koski found the dainty mobile that hung over the dining room table at Christmas time fascinating.
“I remember how I used to stare at the himmeli slowly swaying with the draft while the adults were just talking,” says Koski. “I became enchanted by it!” Twenty years later Koski went to a course on how to make a himmeli. “At that moment I just knew that this was my thing!”
Years later, she married a farmer and learned more about grains. Specifically rye straw and the beauty of that plant. An economist by profession she took a course on himmeli making in 1993 and discovered, “At that moment I just knew that this was my thing!” She left the corporate world and followed her passion. Living in Vassa, on the western coast of Finland she pursued all she could about himmelis. Of himmeli she confides, “it is easy to become addicted.” Doors opened she never dreamed of.
She travels and teaches the art form throughout Finland. She has had exhibitions all over Finland. She has been credited with reviving the nearly lost straw tradition in Finland. In 2013 she was recognized as Artist of The Year in Finland. In 2016 she exhibited himmeli in Tokyo. The smallest of Eija’s himmels fit into the palm of your hand. The largest are many meters high; some contain as many as 3000 parts. Though she seldom sells her pieces, some may be found in Switzerland, Japan and Finland in private collections.
Her passion for himmeli has resulted in the publication of two books we are aware of. Her first book, Himmeli, released in 2012, is now in it’s third printing. In 2016 she authored another book entitled,” Himmeli Geometric Straw Noise Before and Now.”
As a traditionalist in medium we were surprised to see colorful images using straw from The Straw Shop!
Continuing her passion further, in 2017, she released her popular Himmeli Book shown below, in English, now out of print!
Some people marvel at her creations and ask her how long they took to make. She answers, “It is unnecessary to ask how long it takes to make the himmel. The key is not the goal but the journey”.
During her years as a himmeli artist she has come to the opinion more and more people are gravitating toward himmelis. Though sometimes today they are made of plastic or paper straws, the classic himmelis of traditional rye straw are preferred and sought after. Nothing moves in the air current quite like natural straw.
Eija believes himmelis are not only for Christmas. There is a himmeli in every room of her home. She just cannot imagine not having them around her.
In 2021, Eija kindly shared the following video:
The Straw Shop is pleased to welcome Eija Kosk. We hope you will seek her out.