10 Questions with Lapuan Kankurit
A few weeks ago we sat down with Lapuan Kankurit’s Jaana Hjelt to chat about the history behind the brand and her design inspirations….
1. How does the Scandinavian way of life influence your designs?
In true Scandinavian style, we want to bring joy to everyday life with our textiles.
From craftsmanship, comfort and finish, through to our technical product innovations and ecologically sound approach to production, the Lapuan Kankurit products themselves tell a tale of Scandinavian design.
Knowing every step of the journey, from thread to finished product, is of utmost importance to us. It produces a result that we can be proud of.
2. Can you sum up the Lapuan Kankurit philosophy in three words?
Natural – Design – Sustainability
3. How did the name in come about?
Lapuan Kankurit literally translates as “Weavers from Lapua”. The company was started by my husband Esko’s great grandfather – Juha Hjelt – in 1973, but weaving has always been in the family. The first family weaving company – “ Lankilankosken villa- ja huopatossutehdas” – was founded in 1917 (before Finland was even a separate nation) and almost 100 years later the traditions are still very much alive.
Esko is a weaver in fourth generation and we’ve been running the mill together now over 15 years.
4 . The combination of traditional manufacturing methods and modern technologies is something that’s played a lovely role in some of your recent collections, how do you balance the two?
Esko was born a weaver; he studied weaving techniques and is our expert in textiles. I work more with the customers and the designers. Together with our professional staff, who know both the traditions of textiles and the latest technologies, we make a great team and are able to create beautiful, timeless products.
5. Do you have a particular design or collection that you are most proud of?
We fell in love with Dora Jung’s beautiful linen textiles which were produced by the Tampella linen factory in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
Shortly after this, Finland stopped producing woven linen textiles with jacquards, which we thought was a real shame. It was our dream to bring it back by producing these unique Dora Jung textiles in our Lapua weaving factory. Finally in 2010, our long-standing dream came true as we were granted the right to start reweaving Dora Jung’s beloved design classics.
6.Who are your design heroes?
There are so many!
Dora Jung, Finnish textile artist who created a fabulous collection of linen textiles in the 1950s to the 1970s.
Marja Rautiainen, one of our best designers with a great knowledge of weaving. Her work reflects her strong professional skills and her passion for Scandinavian textile traditions.
Anu Leinonen, our designer who has given washed linen an aesthetically relaxed and soft shape. Her personal style is based on clarity and natural materials.
Others include Reetta Ek, Matti Pikkujämsä, Heini Riitahuhta, Makota Kagoshima, Masaru Suzuki, Suvi Kankkonen… each one of our designers has their own special talent and they are all just great!
7. Where do you take your inspiration from?
Our jacquards, which are drawn by our talented designers and usually inspired by the Scandinavian textile traditions as well as our Nordic nature.
Many of the best products happen by accident or come by heart. Like our multi-coloured towels; the weaver came to show a piece of test weave in different colours and we just screamed “That’s the one!”
The new linen-tencel innovation by Esko, is the result of a long product development process. The new material offers superior quality and absorption, especially in bathing products. Tencel is a natural material that has been used for some time, but Esko wanted to try and combine it with linen. The result took us all by surprise: linen-tencel is so light and considerably softer and more absorbent than cotton.
8. Favourite Finnish word?
Ihana, which translates as great.
9. Favourite spot in the world?
10. How do you spend your days off?
I always spend my days off with the family (if possible).
We usually go somewhere or do something together (or just enjoy Sauna together). It’s best when it’s only us and we can just concentrate on spending quality time together. Today’s world is so busy that all too often we don’t have enough time to talk properly because everybody has something else on his/her mind.
We are so in love with all that Lapuan Kankurit stand for and create, bringing JOY with their textiles, so if this has inspired you, take a look at our curated collection of these stunning Finnish textiles, created from nature, love, craftsmanship and sustainability, what’s not to LOVE!