How it all started
Do you remember, how exciting it was as a child to explore mother's wardrobe - and father's, too - and to find lots of fascinating clothes, shoes, jewelleries or dad's funny ties. Or how exciting it was to grub in mother's large sewing box and to feel all those beautifully coloured small pieces of fabric between the fingers. Not to mention the mysterious artifacts that always popped out of the depths of the box and made you wonder, what was that little thing meant for.
Oprikka came into being from these explorations. One of the interesting treasures of my mother was an old long woollen skirt, being a part of her old national costume ensemble she had in her early twenties. The bright and gay coloured stripes of the skirt took my attention every time I saw it. Years and years later, I re-discovered the skirt and a need to create something new and different of these elegant and joyous folklore fabrics arose.
Who makes Oprikka products
After having studied to be artisan in Finland, the unpredictable paths of life took Mirka Laine-Pietilä to the Netherlands for ten years. There, among other things, she attended courses in the Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam, was training in the atelier of Frank Govers, one of the most famous couturiers in the Netherlands, and got her Master´s Degree in the history of art at the University of Amsterdam.
Today Mirka lives with her husband and two dogs - Opri and Peppi - in Marttila, a beautiful rural area in the South-West of Finland. They have bought an old school building dating from the 19th century and as a result of this, the historical building has raised an interest in the way of building and renovating houses with old methods and respecting the character of the house itself. Lately Mirka has discovered photography and is taking the first steps to learn about this form of communication.
Oprikka could be considered as a realisation of Mirka´s long time dream of a "place" that enables her to give a visible and tangible form to ideas, colours, materials and shapes. In her opinion it is important to take this work seriously, but one must not do it in a serious manner. Instead, it is good to spice it with some humour. As an amateur astronomer and a big science fiction fan, Mirka wanted to name the Oprikka product categories accordingly. No wonder she found suitable names for this purpose in the objects of the night sky.
Oprikka, Opri, Aprosinja, Euphrosyne
Oprikka is a version of an old Finnish woman´s name Opri, which is not much used nowadays. This name has an interesting history. A well-known Finnish cultural historian Kustaa Vilkuna is one of the persons telling about the origins of Opri in his book about Finnish names. Through the Russian language, Opri can be traced back to the ancient Greece and its mythology. The "foremother" of Opri was Euphrosyne, who was one of the famous three graces and she represented joy and happiness. It was the task of the three graces to spread beauty, creative powers, happiness and joy to the gods of the mountain Olympia as well as to the humans. Oprikka wishes to continue in the footprints of the three graces and hopes to transmit these qualities to the contemporary world, too.
You can view my thanks here
Photo of Mirka by: Kathleen Wentrack