If you are interested in creative people, then you should pay attention to this article. I interviewed the all-rounder artist Molla Mills, a Finnish girl who will leave you open-mouthed! She has recently published her first book about crochet, VIRKKURI. From Metal Bands logos to the most exciting jewelry, Molla is always full of surprises!
1. Can you tell us something about yourself and what you do?
As you described, I’m a Finnish craftswoman, and I do crochet. I have a background in fashion and products design, and in visual marketing, and I have been doing my own designs for years. The trademark Molla Mills is from ten years ago, I have been using the name in all the works that I do. I have heard it sounds like a name of a 1950’s comic character!
As a small kid I always followed my mother to all kinds of craft courses. She used to be really into social crafts; in other words, she went to open courses to learn new craft skills in group. I got my inspiration from her, and I have also taken several different craft courses myself. I was educated to be a seamstress, then a product designer, then I took some specialization studies and launched my trademark Molla Mills.
For some time I designed and made accessories for sale, but after a couple of years I realized that was not what I wanted to do, and specially I don’t want to spend all my time behind the sewing machine. I’d rather want to change people’s view on crafting and make them do more themselves. At this point I didn’t yet know what it could be, so I went back to studying. I got accepted in a Master of an art program in Aalto University. During my studies I cleared out that I wanted to teach people how to do crafts. I want to inspire and show them how important it is to remember the technique our grandmothers used in their crafts. I chose crocheting, since it is very much an underrated craft technique, and I simply love crocheting.
As my master’s thesis I made a book, Virkkuri, and started teaching in crochet workshops. Nowadays we have crochet workshops in Paloni twice a month, and the courses are always booked out. This can only mean I have succeeded in my mission, and I have found the right path!
2. Lomography tries to promote analogue photography, and you define yourself as a craftswoman. Do you think this “back to the origins” will become a new tendency?
Absolutely. I strongly believe basic skills and back to the nature-thinking will become more important for modern people. It has been going on already for a while, it’s been presented as a new megatrend, and as far as I know, young people are more and more interested in crafts.
I lived 19 years of my life in a countryside, in a village of 9000 people. Back then I always wanted to move out to a big city, and I did, and still do since Helsinki is a very small city. But I also have an urge to walk in a forest, go listening to birds, smell the fields and the grass, just stand still and enjoy the green and fresh nature. It reminds me how important handicrafts are for keeping the nature as it is. If one makes more with their hands, it reduces consumption and makes one buy less. I support green thinking, and that is one of the biggest influences why I do crafts myself too. If I need something, I always think “can I make it myself instead of buying it?” Usually, the answer is yes.
3. What do you consider the most challenging aspects of your craft?
Making the patterns inspiring enough, so that people would want to start making them. I find my inspiration from a daily life and basic needs, and I think that’s what brings my patterns easily approachable for people. I don’t follow trends, individualism is more important, but of course trends are everywhere and it’s hard to not notice them.
4. I know you have been photographed many times but, what about the other side of the camera? Do you have any experience shooting analogue?
No, cameras and me don’t fit in the same picture. I leave photographing to professionals, even though I own a good digital camera. Maybe I could give analogue cameras a try! I have actually been talking to a Lomography representative to have a Lomography camera as a prop in my book (this happened last year, when a Lomography salesperson came to Pino, a design shop based in Helsinki where I also work, and offered cameras for us to sell). Taking pictures with it is as analogue as crocheting, so they would fit together very well! I like the Lomography brand, but it’s still rather unknown in Finland.
5. Lastly, do you have any project you would like to tell us about? Any upcoming workshop or exhibition?
I have a Black Craft-project going on, which is a collection of crocheted black metal band logos. This is the most artsy crochet project I have done so far, so I’m pretty excited about it. It will have an exhibition at some point.
Also the feedback I got from my first book gave me a lot of boost to make more books, so I’m making the second Virkkuri now. I want to make series of crochet instruction books, and develop and change the way people see crochet as a craft technique. My mission is to inspire people to do more crafts by offering new and different crochet patterns, and by teaching them how to actually execute all this. I hope to become a messenger of a new wave crochet!
Thank you so much Molla for taking some time to answer my questions. I know crafts have many fans inside the Lomography community, especially crochet! So I hope your work will inspire many people and we will be looking forward to see some of your upcoming projects soon!
All the pictures were taken from Molla’s Web.