Moments of Revelation
Textile designer Reeta Ek (Young Designer of the Year 2017) sees patterns in places others might overlook.
Surface, structure, rhythm. These elements are at the heart of textile designer Reeta Ek's work, and they can be found everywhere, even in the smallest of details. They are patterns on the pavement and art her children paint. "My son brought me a drawing. He'd poked the paper with a felt pen so that the colour spread", Reeta describes. He thought it might make a nice pattern – and she agreed. "The sketch is saved on my computer", she says and smiles.
As a visual person, Reeta is constantly discovering new ideas. Her computer stores hundreds of sketches that she regularly revisits to find inspiration. "You develop an intuition for what makes ideas interesting", she says. "Ultimately, it's the work itself that inspires. You have to go through many scribblings to find the one good concept." To her, any idea has the potential to grow into an intriguing design.
AALLONMURTAJA, one of Reeta's most recent designs for Lapuan Kankurit, was inspired by the Lauttasaari Bridge. She was walking around with her camera, ready to photograph anything that might stir her imagination. The wavy surface on the bridge pavement reminded her of sketches she'd made. "It was a moment of revelation, noticing that my sketches were linked to the things I saw around me." Making that new connection sparked her interest in the design. "It expressed my thinking back to me", she describes the experience.
One of Reeta's first designs for Lapuan Kankurit was TULITIKKU in 2012. Since then, she's worked together with the company on several projects and finds the work a joy. "I think every Finnish designer wants to work with them. They represent honest, down-to-earth work", she says. "It's wonderful that they weave their products in Finland."
Reeta describes her design process as part of a whole, and working with Lapuan Kankurit ensures that each step of the process works, from choosing the right materials to packaging and presenting the finished product.
Design Forum Finland recently chose Reeta as Young Designer of the Year – an honour which has since resulted in many interviews and events. Normally, her workdays consist of everything from sketching to ordering prints and answering e-mails. "If I'm sketching, I like to dedicate the day to just that", she says. Ideally, she'd reserve several days in a row for discovering new ideas. Once the sketches are done, she scans them onto her computer. Reeta says that employing technology feels like a natural part of her design process. "Adding colours helps me see the repeatable patterns the sketch could turn into." Although the computer in a pivotal part of her work, Reeta says that she always begins sketching by hand.
"I think my design process has become more precise over the years", Reeta analyses. Experience has taught her what interests her and how to focus on those elements. She also mentions that kindness towards yourself and your work is an important part of finding and maintaining inspiration. Downplaying your own ideas never works. "I hope that the more I work, the kinder I become towards myself", she says, then lets out a laugh. "I'd like to remember that things aren't always that serious."