Saturday, September 4, 2021

Radiant Pavilion 2021: 'New Spring, Old Gods' – as part of 'IIb''

Top: Inari Kiuru: Seven sacrifices of flowers from New Spring, Old Gods, 2020-21. Below: White nights, come dancing! from New Spring, Old Gods 2020.

All images in this post are by Inari Kiuru and Laura Kiuru ©2021 

New Spring, Old Gods (2020-21) 


This post will be updated daily during Radiant Pavilion 4-12 September '21.


Saturday 4 September 2021

Hello and thank you for coming in! Thank you Radiant Pavilion for having us, and so much gratitude to Chloƫ for making this happen, with her team, during such an unusual and challenging time. You are amazing.

This evolving presentation is an alternative (different, and curated to the online environment) to a physical exhibition of finished jewellery pieces. Updated daily with more material during the course of Radiant Pavilion, you'll discover here some background, development and a limited edition of finished pieces from my most recent series of necklaces, New Spring, Old Gods


While you're here, there's also a lot more to explore in the blog, from my past jewellery and object work to photography, drawings and thoughts about life – a telling record of someone looking for their way and purpose during the last 12 years. Please feel at home, and leave a comment if you're so inclined. You can see further material via my IG account @ordinari_observer too.

This post is of course also a part of IIb, a project born and re-born from discussions with my friend, fellow artist and PhD candidate Michaela Pegum. Our physical installations originally titled II had to be postponed due to covid-19 restrictions in Victoria, so we each present something different online. You can find more about the project background in the previous post here and see Michaela's work for IIb via her Instagram account @michaela_pegum.


About 'New Spring, Old Gods'

For the first day, I'd like to share some thoughts on creating the work, and three of the first five necklaces made. 

Above: The Rite, 2020, plastic price tags, 330 x 4 mm.  

Artist statement / for the 'Schmuck 2021' exhibition catalogue
'I made the first necklaces for New Spring, Old Gods at home in Melbourne, during a long covid-19 lockdown while unable to access my studio, tools or the usual materials. The pieces are fabricated entirely from hundreds of plastic jewellery price tags I've accumulated, using only their own locking mechanisms for construction. 
As I sorted the tags into sizes and colours, becoming familiar with the ways they bend and behave, I soon forgot the small pieces were industrial plastic and I a contemporary artist. Instead, as the first patterns developed into more experimental designs, I became simply one in a long and ancient chain of craftspeople who’ve used gathered, seasonally available materials to create. 
While working, I strongly sensed my Finnish roots deep in nature, and the forms grew evocative of our pre-Christian spring rites and ornaments connected with death, rebirth, the forest and the Sun, depicting delicate details of plants and flowers that return to life after a long winter.'
Below: Seven sacrifices of flowers, 2020, detail.


Below: Seven sacrifices of flowers, 2020, plastic price tags, 570 x 0 mmThis neckpiece consists of seven separate necklaces of different lengths and designs (see below).

Do you know what the circular symbol with a cross represents?

Some design background: Wildflowers 
Wildflowers have always been an essential part of the Finnish spring and summer celebrations. They are especially precious due to the very brief growing season of the north. In the pre-Christian pagan rites and folk magic, flowers were gathered from the meadows and forests, and used as talismans to protect cattle and people from mischievous or evil spirits, as well as included in sacrificial offerings together with food. In these old traditions, the flowers were woven into garlands and wreaths.

Wildflowers were also the most important traditional ingredient for spells – especially love spells and spells revealing one's romantic future, cast on Summer Solstice coinciding with Midsummer festivities. This tradition continues to present time in many parts of Finland.

Below: The Rite, 2020, plastic price tags, 330 x 4 mm.  

Above: Toivo Timonen, farmer c. 1990, Nurmes, Eastern Finland.

My 'Vaari' ('vaari' means grandfather) Toivo Timonen, my mother's father, was a man who lived for a century and farmed the same land for nearly 80 years. He kept daily notes of rains and temperatures; worked with the lunar cycles, and cultivated a deep knowledge of plants, flowers, different natural energies and the way of the forest. In this picture Vaari is wearing a traditonal summer wreath and a garland, made by my sisters and I, sitting on the old steps of the farmhouse on a summer's afternoon.

Two of the original works shown here, Seven sacrifices of flowers and White nights, come dancing! (both 2020) will be exhibited in March at Schmuck 2021 (22) in Munich, Germany. A series of five necklaces from the series is also currently a part of Contemporary Wearables '21 in Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. • All sales inquiries: Funaki

More tomorrow, on Day 2 of Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial 2021. Hope to see you then!

Inari x


5 September '21


Below:  While the butterflies still sleep, 2020 and Sometimes cruel, the April sun, 2020.
Fires in late March, around the Spring Solstice, are an ancient pagan European tradition, and still part of the Finnish customs on the West Coast. Their original purpose was to ward off evil spirits, together with preparing for fertile summer fields and a bountiful harvest in August. 
In the photographs you'll see contemporary early spring burning in April, in rural Southern Finland c. 2017, as part of land care (photos: Laura Kiuru).  


FieldDAY 3

Monday 6 September '21


Field, 2020 (one of the first works in the New Spring, Old Gods series)

Landscape photographs: Inari Kiuru + Laura Kiuru






Tuesday 7 September '21

Welcome, or welcome back! Thank you for visiting. - I'll alternate between text and images here, posting more about old Finnish customs and rites as we go. 
One of our oldest traditions, also written in the Finnish modern day constitution, is everyone's right to gather natural produce from the forests. Come August, berries are one of the most abundant seasonal wild harvests – important to Finns now; having made up a great part of the autumn's and winter's nutrition in the past generations' diets, and most certainly included in the sacrifical gifts to nature spirits and gods in our panteistic traditions up until the 1800s (and even later).

One of my own earliest memories is being carried in a child-backpack by my father, in the woods as my parents were looking for blueberries and mushrooms. As dad wondered on, I remember noticing how my little gumboot slowly slipped off my foot, and quietly thudded, vanished into the soft undergrowth. I was so young I couldn't speak yet ... so I remained silent. The shoe was never found.

Image: Mustikka (Blueberry) from the New Spring, Old Gods series, sketch, 2021 / plastic price tags, paint.


















Wednesday 8 September '21

Image: Vanhan puun hiljaisuus (The silence of an old tree) from the New Spring, Old Gods series, sketch, 2021 / plastic price tags, paint.




Thursday 9 September '21

Image: Branch from New Spring, Old Gods, 2020 / One of the first pieces in the series, exploring forms and kinetic structures. 



























Friday 10 September '21

Image from top down: Daisy from New Spring, Old Gods, 2021 / September Light pre 2020; a preliminary work with the same materials, testing the connections and anticipating the patterns to come.




































Saturday 9 September '21

The connetion
These are some of the first works in the New Spring, Old Gods series. Made during the first long covid lockdown in Melbourne, winter 2020 at home (while we weren't allowed to go to our studios), from ingredients I had at hand here. 
Left to my own devices, sorting and arranging these small pieces of industrial plastic - they are jewellery price tags - I was soon absorbed in the ancient activity of designing ornaments from ingredients available locally. This felt so comforting and empowering in an otherwise challenging and futile situation where everything suddenly changed, with no certainty about anything.

While making, I sensed a strong connection, even a spiritual connection, with my Finnish ancestors. Vivid memories from childhood summers and all the time spent in nature flooded my waking hours and dreams. These pieces honour this heritage, going back thousands of years, in their motifs and atmosphere.
The working titles of these first necklaces were 'Blossom', 'Sun', 'Field' and 'Double Sun', remembering and celebrating our old pagan season rites of new life and harvests.
You can also see one of the early free sketches at the end, and a Finnish wall hanging (ryijy, c. 1900, knotted natural dyed wool), depicting a traditional red-stained house, birch tree, a crane and a long flowing floral motifs on the sides. This textile has been on the wall of my grandfather's farm house for as long as we can remember, as a family.

DAY 9, final day of Radiant Pavilion

Saturday 9 September '21

White nights, come dancing! 
Neckpieces from New Spring, Old Gods 2021  

This is the final day of Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial 2021. The project of posting images and background to the New Spring, Old Gods series doesn't end here, but I'll update in a different pace. Thank you RadPav for having us on board!

The planned physical exhibition with Michaela Pegum postponed to 2022, this series will also keep evolving, together with photographing the pieces on body when the pandemic situation allows for working with people again.
Come back to visit now and then, and see my Instagram @ordinari_observer for more :)
Thanks again for stopping by! <3

Photograph of the trees and water by ©Laura Kiuru. The image of the fire is c. 1955. Lohja Island, Southern Finland.




Wednesday, September 1, 2021

COMING SATURDAY 4 SEPTEMBER '21: 'New Spring, Old Gods' as part of 'IIb' with Michaela Pegum – The Radiant Pavilion 2021 online edition

Top: Michaela Pegum, All is intimate II, 2021
Bottom: Inari Kiuru: Necklaces from New Spring, Old Gods series, 2020-21. 
Photos by the artists.

IIb (online, coming soon / 4-17 September 2021)

Michaela Pegum & Inari Kiuru

The idea to exhibit side by side, as two, grew from the artists’ shared interest in our relationships with the natural world. The physical exhibition ‘II’ now postponed, Michaela and Inari each present an individual selection of thoughts, research and work as ‘IIb’, curated for the online environment. 

Michaela’s sculptural work is developed from her relationships with natural, threshold landscapes. She explores the becoming between human and non-human life forms, elements and atmospheres through the creation of material languages that are liminal, suggestive and sensory. Michaela will present the material explorations that led to her sculptural forms via her IG account @michaela_pegum. 

Inari’s New Spring, Old Gods necklaces honour the artist’s Finnish heritage, depicting trees, flowers and old, nature-centered rites. Composed during the pandemic, from limited ingredients, the series especially celebrates a strong kinship discovered working in isolation: a contemporary maker and her ancestors, together in spirit, weaving new life from whatever the season offers.

IIb is presented as part of Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial, 4-12 September 2021. See the full program at

About the artists

Michaela Pegum has a background in contemporary dance and is undertaking a PhD in the school of art at RMIT through her practice led research project Subtle bodies: corporeal and material becoming in threshold landscapes. Her practice is an exploration of felt experience, garnered through the deeply embodied relationships we form with the natural world, it spans the realms of sculpture, wearable art and performance. She works in highly explorative ways to develop material languages that are liminal, suggestive and sensory, investigating the affective qualities, tones and temporalities that constitute the fabric of relations between the sensing being and their environment. 

Inari Kiuru is a Finnish–born multidisciplinary artist and graphic designer, translating her native relationship with wilderness and changing seasons into objects, images and words inspired by light, clouds and atmospheres in urban environments. Known for her experimental use of non–precious, industrial materials such as concrete and steel, the core of Inari’s practice is revealing beauty within ordinary, everyday things. Inari is represented by Funaki, Melbourne.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Funaki guest posts on materiality 3: Concrete

And finally, here's my third offering in the guest post series for Funaki, last winter during the early days of the pandemic when the gallery was closed and we were looking for alternative ways to communicate and interact. I wrote about materials I use, know and love: enamel, steel and concrete. Here's concrete! 

I was fortunate to discover this interesting character almost by accident. Some years ago, a bag from Bunnings was my leap of faith (yup, a panic solution) while planning a sculptural installation with no equipment to fabricate metal in a large scale. Concrete offered an alternative to work without heat or special tools, and allowed free experimentation without financial concerns. Soon, there was no return. 

At first glance–feel–concrete is heavy and dense, cool to the touch. It carries associations of construction and the industrial; of urban structures and surfaces; of my immediate world and visual interests. It can be rough, or polished like smooth marble, and is a reliable protector of fragile materials, such as glass, embedded. - From an intimate distance, concrete also reveals its sensual and sensitive side. Toned with natural pigments, the shades resonate with things I keep returning to: The light at dusk and dawn; the changing skies, seasons and weather patterns … all somehow connected to our own human emotions in flux. This poetic nature of concrete keeps surprising and captivating me. 

Finally, I think it’s great concrete is used by thousands of DIY enthusiasts, for all sorts of objects and ornaments. This gives it a democratic, joyous quality. Anyone can use concrete, giving such obvious satisfaction to those who may not otherwise be creatively engaged. It’s the material of inspiration and possibility! 

Images (including the floor of Funaki on Crossley St): Inari Kiuru, 2015-2020 


Funaki guest posts on materiality 2: Steel

Last winter during the early pandemic days of 2020, the physical gallery space closed, Funaki's artists were invited to create guest posts in Instagram, about anything we liked. Here's my second entry on materials I use and love (please also see the previous blog post about enamel). 

Let’s talk about STEEL. I love steel. It’s a metal that’s been with me from the start, for practical and aesthetic reasons. 

First, I love the applications of steel in our urban environment: The intricate metal structures and tall cranes at construction sites; huge diggers like strange animals; ships and sea containers, the battered back doors of trucks. I love the ordinariness of this material and the divinely beautiful way it surrenders to its environments, accepting scratches, stains, rust … the marks of time, never losing its integrity. 

I can weld steel, making jewellery pieces and vessels structurally safe while subjected to high heat in the kiln for enamelling or colouring. Soldered seams will reflow and collapse in temperatures over 800 Celcius whereas welded connections (metal joined to itself with electricity) remain intact. Anyone who works with steel also knows it can be temperamental as it rusts (maddeningly!) easily and is harder to cut and clean than precious metals. Sometimes its sharp edges make you bleed. But all is forgiven for its amazing scale of expression: I love the deep blues of heated mild steel, the chemical, snowflake-like zinc patterns on galvanized surfaces and the elegant grays they turn into when heated (although this process is toxic.). 

I love the shine. precision and strength of stainless steel, as well as the warm rusted tones and quiet stories told by old, abandoned pieces. I love the way stained steel sometimes looks like silk, sometimes like a landscape–but always still like steel. 

Images: Inari Kiuru 2008-2020, Mild and galvanized steel 


Funaki guest posts on materiality 1: Enamel

Last winter during the early pandemic days, Funaki's artists were invited to guest post in Instagram, about anything we liked. I prepared three entries, each about a different material I use and love. Here are those posts, each as their own, starting with ENAMEL. 

I thank my location stars for learning this art, as I studied silversmithing here in Melbourne at RMIT University. They, uniquely, have a long history of enamelling with masters such as Helen Aitken-Kuhnen and Debbie Sheezel having taught there prior to my own brilliant teacher, Dr Kirsten Haydon. 

As patience and fine motor skills are needed in the traditional techniques, my beginnings were naturally full of tears–and this was just the teacher ;) However, a 2010 workshop with Prof. Elizabeth Turrell introducing liquid enamel (also referred to as industrial enamel, see below) was a turning point. The application of a fluid mix and drawing onto it allowed a freedom I’d craved, and eventually gave me enough confidence to keep working with the ultimately very satisfying powdered enamel. 

The traditional vitreous (Latin ‘vitreum’ means glass) enamelling dates back to the 13th century BC. Coloured glass powders are carefully applied onto a base, usually metal, and fused by heat into a strong luminous surface. From the 19th century, enamel began to be used industrially: A liquid glass mix is fired in huge kilns to form a durable coating for everyday domestic wares such as our familiar bathtubs and fridge doors. It’s worth noting too that enamel paint (“cold enamel”) and liquid enamel are two very different things. 

The images (IK 2010-19) show you samples of enamel on steel and copper: Shifted (earrings, pendant); liquid (samples, brooch, vessels), and decals (images in enamel). 

For beautiful pieces in different styles, please also see the work of the artists mentioned in this post. 


Monday, April 17, 2017

'Hold' vessel exhibition at Gallery Funaki

April 18 - May 27, 2017

Curated by Natasha Sutila, Gallery Funaki presents a survey of contemporary vessels by Australian and international makers David Clarke, Sally Marsland, Robin Bold, Christina Schou Christensen, Marian Hosking, Barbara Schrobenhauser, Lindy McSwan, David Bielander, Vito Bila, Inari Kiuru and Peter Bauhuis. 

As a prevailing form in craft tradition and daily life, the vessel affirms itself as unparalleled in the consideration of function, materiality and domestic ritual. A finely tuned relationship with material and process forms a common thread amongst this diverse group of artists (

So happy and proud to be a participating artist. My vessel contemplates the rapid mutation observed in butterflies, sensitive indicator species, in the Fukushima area in the wake of the nuclear accident in 2011. It is presented with water in it, interacting with thin blades of steel. The form and function of the vessel are also a respectful nod to the old Japanese tradition of mizusashi, fresh water jars.

Inari Kiuru
'Heavy water (Fukushima butterflies)'
concrete, iron oxide, mild steel, pigments, iron filings, wax 
120 x 120 x 140mm