“I saw a long road ahead of me. Now I know what I need to do in my life, It’s beautiful and creative: It’s a rag rug! I want to renew the traditional Finnish rug so that it will fit to demanding needs of interior design and it will be appreciated” – Eija Rasinmäki
The Finnish traditional rag rug has a long history as our functional everyday textile. From the beginning, the idea of a rag rug has been the reuse of textile material. The oldest known rag rug goes back to 1798, but the tradition is probably much older than that. As a tradition, weaving has been travelled within and between families and generations. Traditional rag rug was essential in Finnish homes. Almost every Finn has a childhood memory of a rag rug at the cottage or at the grandparents house. Weaving a rag rug has been a typical skill for women. Mothers and grandmothers taught daughters to weave and the know-how was passed in the family.
Rag rugs started to become more common at the end of 19th and early 20th century and old textiles, like bed sheets, were used as yarn. During war and depression textile was scarce so any suitable material was used to weave a rug: colored wax paper, plastic bags, and reed would substitute textile.
From the beginning, the meaning of rugs was not just to protect from the cold and the floor from wearing out, but also it had an aesthetical meaning. Rag rugs covered the whole floor and they were narrow, placed side by side. In cold places, rugs were put one on the other. Rugs also had a status – the wealth of a house was evaluated by the number of rugs. The early rag rugs were mostly one-colored, because of the materials available and lack of dyed materials. When there were more variations on the materials, the designs were also evolving and became what we now think of as rag rugs: multi-colored, often with stripes and carrying the stories of old textiles.
Weaving rugs is still taught in several places in Finland and is thought of as an important cultural heritage. Our cofounder Eija Rasinmäki is know as a pioneer of Finnish rag rug – creating a new era of style from our handicraft heritage, with well-thought colors and motifs. She also has her own weaving mill in Finland (Oitti), where the Heritage Collection unique rugs are handmade by Eija herself, her oldest daughter Ulrika or one of the few skillfull women in the area remaining.
Reshaping the rag rug heritage
Finarte co-founder Eija Rasinmäki started her career as a designer in the year 1970. Rasinmäki started her own company, weaving mill – Kutomo Rasinmäki to proceed with her dream and vision to design high-quality traditional rag rugs for a modern home. Rasinmäki established her own unique and recognizable style, which is still visible and known today. Her vision as a designer is also the foundation and core of our story – for more than a decade, she was the sole designer of Finarte and our collection carried the name of “Design Eija Rasinmäki” for years.
Now, with Eija’s youngest daughter as the CEO of Finarte, we want to raise a toast to the irreplaceble impact of Eija on not only our story, but for the whole Finnish handicraft heritage. We are celebrating Eija Rasinmäki’s 50th artist anniversary for the whole year of 2020, starting with expanding the Heritage Collection:
The Heritage Collection is an exclusive collection established together with Finarte and Kutomo Rasinmäki. This collaboration is an ode to our roots – the traditional weaving methods, handmade rugs, and unique designs. To celebrate the 50th artist anniversary of Eija Rasinmäki we added more unique designs to the collection.