Anu Jokela seeks flow with things that bring her joy.
Interior designer and entrepreneur Anu Jokela describes her past relationship with hobbies as secondary. When work life was hectic, duties often took over and fun free time had to stand back. After losing her life's work and personal history to a fire, Anu started exploring what brought joy to her life. "I found florals and weaving", she says. "They were important elements in my life." When grief began to surpass, Anu started thinking about pursuing other paths besides interior design. Finally, she founded Hilmala, a course center for freestyle weaving and creative activity. At the same time, she found two guiding principles that are elemental in her life: ease and fun.
According to Anu, finding wellness through hobbies and creative activity begins with ease. When the basic techniques are simple, people are free to focus on creativity and making by hand. "Easy technique and freedom lead to interesting results", Anu says. Once people have learned the basics, they can immerse themselves into the activity and achieve a state of flow. Anu also thinks that we need to change our mindset on mistakes. "There are no mistakes in creative activity", she says. "Everything you do is right." When making things by hand, perfection is boring and mistakes are beautiful. "They need to be fixed only if they bother you, because that's when they stop bringing you joy", she says.
The other guiding principle in life is fun. Anu thinks that creative activity like weaving or floral arrangement should involve freedom, not strict rules. "Fun became important to me, when I began searching for wellness through activity", she says. "I explored what happens when you just go for it." While many have unpleasant memories from doing crafts at school, Anu strives to change opinions on the craft itself. "Schools have to set strict boundaries and standards for evaluation", she ponders. "But the joy you get from succeeding and sharing is empowering."
Anu finds inspiration and energy in nature. Her floral arrangements are inspired by colours found in the wild: they can be discovered when we stop and really look. "You need to get really close to observe", Anu describes. She grows her own flowers, but also looks for them in nature. She makes sure to never pick any rare species. Fast-spreading invasive flowers like lupins also grow in beautiful colours and picking them benefits the environment as well. "Nature is important to me, both the urban nature in cities, as well as the open fields of Ostrobothnia. That's where I feel most at home", Anu concludes.