Monday Spotlight On: Iira Rautiainen of FrostBiteJeweler
Iira (yes, that starts with an 'I' and I learned that the hard way by misspelling her name in an email), is from the country of half my ancestors, Finland. Once again an April's Army member and Regretsy fan, she makes really strange, funky jewerly out of paper and scream queens. I also like her, because like me, she is a diehard Neil Gaiman fan.
I'm a bookworm/metalhead and I live in Finland, in Northern Europe. I make things - always have! I used to sew and knit and somehow got an overdose on both, had a longish pause and concentrated on studying and work, and found my love for handcrafts again some time ago but with different mediums. I think I found myself again as well!
What’s your medium and how did you get into it?
If I had to name just one thing I would say paper. I found quilling through a christmas card project and had never heard of it but had to try, and I found out I was pretty good at it. I don't know a single person (in real life!) who has heard of it. I'd say it's an understatement that it's not popular here... So, I couldn't get my hands on quilling paper, tools or whathaveyou, and had to work with what I could come up with. So, I started to cut my own paper, experimented with different kinds of paper and made my own tools. The first quilling tool I made consisted of a needle, wine bottle cork and a filter from a cigarette. Wasn't that good a tool, I tell ya :) But it was better than nothing. So I became a freehand quiller due to circumstance, but I think I prefer it that way. I think I've learned a lot about paper that I wouldn't have had it been easier. So much for paper. I'm really not good at concentrating on any one thing, so I also love to work with feathers ( I have tons of fascinators that I've made) and metal wire (I also have tons of metal wire jewelry!). I love to experiment with anything I get my hands on, so there's nothing I won't try :D
What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
My favorite is either a pair of bright pink paper earrings I wear almost every day, or a silver wire pendant I made and my mom immediately stole. Well, she paid for it so it's not really stealing. But she took it anyway :)
I take inspiration from everything around me. I read and watch movies a lot and I listen to music whenever I'm alone and not disturbing anyone. My taste for books, films and music is strange to many people, I like very opposite things, like Stephen King and Astrid Lindgren, Night of the Living Dead and Grease, Motörhead and old Finnish political songs no one's ever heard of, if that gives you an idea. What am I talking about...? Inspiration. So inspiration comes from everything. Sometimes also from the materials. But I think my lack of concentration shows, because I make all kinds of things at the same time. I usually have three or four projects going on, so I can switch between them. Sometimes the projects mix and no one knows what the outcome is...
Name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?
Jessica Harrison's Broken-series is simply incredible. I'm a huge fan of her work and I wish I could do anything remotely as great as she does!
What are you doing when you’re not crafting?
When I'm not crafting I'm reading or watching TV. Oh, and working. I work in a bookshop, which I love. The pay is shitty but I love to work with books :) What I SHOULD be doing is studying or going for a run. Or at least outside, every once and awhile.
If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?
It would be (and could be) any material, since there's really nothing I wouldn't want to try. If I had to pick one, I would really like to try working with glass one day.
Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.
I made a custom order for my mother (she wanted to send an ornament to a friend who just found out that he has cancer) and I had to make a bigger ornament than I'd ever done before. Imade a bright yellow ornament that kinda looked like a sun to give him some cheer! It took a lot of time and effort, but the outcome was really beautiful. I was also really pleased by a pair of earrings I made from silver wire. They match but aren't identical. I usually don't know what the outcome is, and sometimes people ask me to make a piece that is 'just like the other piece but in a different color' or something like that, and then I actually need to plan before I start.
How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?
I have actually. I cut long strips out of paper. Then I cut the long strips into shorter strips and one by one roll the strips around a thin pin, like a needle but not sharp. Then I either glue it as a tight roll or let the roll loose and press it into shape before gluing. Then I make a bunch of those and glue them all together. If I want to make a symmetrical shape, I need to have many pieces that are similar and if I want to make an unsymmetrical shape I use pieces with different shapes. Then I leave them to dry and when they're dry I varnish them with a glue and water mix. Then I use jump rings to attach them to earring hooks or necklace cords.
My favorite part of the process is compiling the bits of paper together. I usually don't have a plan, I'll just go by feeling. I also make ornaments and that's really fun too, because then I can make more complicated patterns without having to think how durable the construction is. For jewelry it's important that the finished piece actually stays together and tolerates wear, but ornaments can be more fragile.
One random thing you think people should know.
I have a text fragment form Neil Gaiman's Wolves in the Walls tattooed on my back.
If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?
I'd want to be able to fly. Boy, would that make things easier....
You can check out more of Iira's work at the links below.