What does the design process look like?
Valentina: Since I only use ugly-shaped production scraps and small bits of dead stocks, most of the designs come from the material that I find at a local recycling center and second-hand shops. I do have certain colors, texture, materials, texture, yarns that I am drawn to, but what I usually do is to keep collecting from things that I find from different places and to come up with rough ideas in my studio. The practice of only using waste fabrics puts me in a unique challenge of being a bit spontaneous and thinking outside of the box because unlike the conventional production process, I cannot assure that I have enough to create things that I have envisioned. With the characteristics of fabrics, tools, and techniques that I have, I improvise to create one-of-a-kind home goods. What also adds to this approach is that my expertise is not in textiles as I extensively learn interior and furniture design, and I am breaking all the “rules” of making textiles. As for quilting, the “rule” is to use the same type of fabrics so that you do not risk the surface being bulky and bumpy. However, what I do is to mix and match different types of fabrics not only because I have to, but I have also learned as I make that I can smoothen the surface out as long as I am paying close attention not to let stripes too wide and selecting materials that are fairly even and flat.
There is no burden on how things are supposed to be imposed on me, and that freedom allows me as a designer to experiment as I like.
In terms of inspirations, despite there are many sources, the impactful ones are nature, gardens and especially, my life in Finland itself. The simplistic Scandinavian style has much emphasis on the simple use of colors, geometric designs, and texture. I think I sometimes go a little bit too funky with colors, influences of minimalistic Scandinavian balances the jazz out to a cozy and calming, yet flavourful color scheme.