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Birch Bark in Finnish Artist's Hands: An Unlikely Canvas

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BNN Correspondents
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Birch Bark in Finnish Artist's Hands: An Unlikely Canvas

In the tranquility of southern Finland's forests, a rustic cabin brims with the subtle rustle of birch bark, the heart of 87-year-old Erkki Pekkarinen's unique artistic endeavor. Defying the conventional perception of wood as rigid and inflexible, Pekkarinen, with his skillful hands and meticulous techniques, turns birch bark into versatile and beautiful creations that defy the imagination.

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A Symphony of Birch Bark

Pekkarinen's art gallery, nestled in Asikkala, is a testament to the versatility of birch bark. Without the aid of glue or nails, he intricately weaves strips of birch bark into a myriad of objects. These range from exquisitely detailed wooden jewelry and handbags to whimsically small toy ducks and backpacks. The pièce de résistance in his collection, however, is a full suit, replete with a hat, briefcase, and shoes, all crafted from the unlikely material.

Preserving Finnish Heritage

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Born in the eastern Finnish town of Lieksa, Pekkarinen's fascination with bark dates back to his youth when he worked as a lumberjack. His dedication to his craft goes beyond personal passion, preserving a part of Finnish cultural heritage and emphasizing the adaptability of natural materials. Through his work, Pekkarinen demonstrates the transformative power of traditional craft techniques in the realm of art.

Rethinking Natural Resources

Pekkarinen's work with birch bark inspires a fresh perspective on natural resources as mediums for artistic expression. His innovative approach not only showcases the beauty of birch bark but also underscores the potential of natural materials, often overlooked, to be harnessed in new and exciting ways.

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