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 Chloë 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.





  1. Thanks for this series, Inari. Are there any particular sites around West Brunswick that can be visited which relate to your work? I'm hoping to make the most of my 5k radius.

    1. Hi Kevin, thanks for seeing Day 1!

      This work - New Spring, Old Gods - is about my experience and strong sense of Finnish nature, and celebrating the connection to my ancestors who also worked with what materials were at hand. So in this sense, Brunswick West is not directly related.

      However, many posts in this blog are about walking and observing small things around the hood here, so perhaps they could serve as a local inspiration? I can send you links to specific ones if you like, so you can have an “ordinari observations” tour in our neighborhood :) Chat more soon, enjoy the weekend and stay safe!

  2. Sounds good Inari. We could have a Brunswick chapter of Kalevala.

  3. Now you’re talking! I’m in! - Song-poetry, treasures, epic battles, love and betrayal, bodies of water and different unusual vehicles, eclectic costumes, flowing hair and beards. Actually … sounds a lot like Brunswick already, doesn’t it? :D

  4. Hi Inari, it was great to read about your last work. Not only wonderful to know about what triggered these last pieces, but also, beautifully written! I still don't know what the symbol with a cross is! I really liked to know about your Vaari and his life as a farmer, how he collected and wrote down all his knowledge. Such an amazing partnership with nature. Looking forward to the following days! xx Elisa

    1. Hi Elisa! Thank you for visiting, and for your kind words. It’s amazing to know that the words here are read by another, and carried forward in life by you, as part of your experience now. This feels especially special in regards to my Vaari :)

      I’ll talk about the round symbol more soon, it’s an old European pictogramme known as the Sun Cross or the Solar Cross, among other names. It’s also the motif in my birth necklace, given to me by my Godmother. Have a good weekend and week ahead! Inari xx

  5. Beautiful works Inari, and I feel your words in my heart, too. I’m so glad you’ve been able to find a creative outlet during these times of isolation. xx

    1. Thank you Riina, a fellow Finn! So nice you came by to visit. <3 I think there are some things only your fellow countrywomen can truly understand xx

      Re. “creative outlet”, these pieces are a part of my full time work and professional livelihood. As you say, I was really fortunate to be able to develop this series at home as the lockdowns have been very tough to so many of us artists (too). For so long, we haven’t been able to access our places of work - studios - with all the necessary tools, many of which can’t be transported away from the workshop conditions due to weight and safety. One more thing that’s been devastating for the arts industry, and therefore our culture and the society as a whole, and the impact of which will be felt for a long time to come.

      Thanks again for your support, and hope you and family are well too xx