30 July 2012

Finnish Design and the Environment

Finns take design seriously (check out their bridges and the glass from Iittala), and they have a knack for creating things that are both functional and cool to look at.

A Finnish company called Think Today takes design even further by focusing on the use of scrap and recycled materials. My mom saw some of its products in a gift shop at the railway station in Helsinki.

The company makes things such as handbags, place mats, mouse pads, coat racks, coasters, and clocks out of scrap materials like wallpaper, laminate, and ceramic tiles. Using the materials helps make sure less is wasted. The cool design (often with a nature theme) of the products makes them a great example of upcycling.

You can check out the English version of Think Today's Web site by clicking here.

29 July 2012

The Art of Nature in Finland

Nature has a strong influence on Finnish life, including the country's art.

Jean Sibelius, Finland's famous composer, took much inspiration from nature, and a lot of the art from the country is based on environmental themes and images.

When I was in Turku at the Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova Museum, I saw an exhibit by Finnish artist Kaisu Koivisto. Koivisto uses many different types of art, including photographs, sculptures, and video. The exhibit, titled Loud Silence, included photographs of Soviet Cold War buildings and missile sites that are being overgrown by nature.

Another piece, called The Absorption of Pollution, is made of cow horns. The piece is moved to different places around the world, sits outside, and collects pollution from those areas. It changes as more pollution is collected.

Reintroducing the Species is a part of the exhibit that focuses on the idea of bringing cows back to Staten Island, where they could be found on farms several decades ago. Koivisto made cows out of blankets, placed them around the area, and took photographs of them.

Koivisto also keeps nature in mind when creating her art. She reuses (upcycles) old materials to make her pieces. To see and learn more about her work, check out her Web site.

28 July 2012

Finns and Photography

While in Finland, I took a lot of pictures and found some Finns who also like to take photos.

Pirjo Natunen lives in Lapland, Finland's far north, and her photographs often focus on nature. She even has some great shots of the Northern Lights. Check out her Web site by clicking here.

Greger Grönroos photographs a variety of subjects, including nature. It was fun to walk around Porvoo with him, snap pictures, and talk photography. You can see his pictures on Flickr by clicking here.

27 July 2012

Finn Focus

I just returned from a visit to Finland, so my next blog entries will focus on that trip. It is great because I get to talk a little more about the Finn part of envirofinn.

Finland gives many chances to go outside and experience nature, and I tried to take as many of those opportunities as I could. I had a great time everywhere I went.

Here is a picture of a lake in Repovesi National Park. I really liked the walk around the park. The sights are similar to those in the Pacific Northwest.

This is a picture of a field near Turku, Finland's former capital. The yellow and the green were pretty together.

Finally, this picture shows the coastline of the Gulf of Finland near Kotka in the country's southeastern region. (Thanks to my cousin for showing the place to me.)

There is more to come, so stay tuned.

26 July 2012

Under the Sea

Most of the photography I've blogged about happens on land, but above the water is not the only place to take pictures.

My sister sent me a link to a Web site from underwater photographer Chris Gug, and I was impressed with the images, so I thought I would share the site. To see Gug's photos, click here.

03 July 2012

Beach Meet

For those who are lucky enough to live near it, Puget Sound provides a great place to learn about nature.

This summer, the South Sound Estuary Association is giving people who live around or will be visiting Puget Sound the chance to learn about the sound from trained guides. At various "Meet Us on the Beach" events, beach naturalists will be available to answer questions about the sound and the species that live there.

The events have already begun and will run through August 28. For more information on the schedule of events, click here.