Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Building blocks

Have you ever been deciding what is the most important building in your life?

For me it is difficult to name one. Home is the first thing that comes to mind. But the exact building is less important. More than its physical surroundings, home seems to relate to feelings.

But thinking of actual buildings, the first that has really affected me was a wooden orthodox church. It was located in Nothern Karelia, Finland, where I lived my childhood.

The church located near my childhood home. Just up a small hill and there it was. I was not orthodox but little did I know as a small child, how strongly I would be influenced by its decorative shapes and the activities that took place there.

I have always loved drawing and painting. In the age of 8 I was yearning to have guidance for making art. In the little town where I lived, there was nothing as such for young children. Nevertheless, I heard from my classmate that I would be able to attend the course held in the church ground floor. It was about painting icons.

I happily joined the group of adults and learned the skills needed with the patient guidance of the skillfull teacher Irke and other adults. My parents were very supportive in my hobby too. They weren't orthodox either but they enjoyed the beauty of icons and their meanings.

My first guided tour to art was a powerful experience. The colors of the icons and ornamental shapes of the old wooden church have never left me. The world of ornaments has a special appeal that never fades.

My parents died when I was a young adult. I have moved to the southern Finland and it is a long time since I saw the church.

During the years, it has been hard for me to go to my deepest thoughts, up to the hill and see the things that have influenced most of my actions.

Speaking of building blocks, the old church has to be one of mine.


  1. This post really struck me and brought up reminders of my own art history training from college. I also studied art history and even had one entire course on "Christian Iconography" which was fascinating to me. I took another course in Italy on "Religious Art and Architecture" which involved traveling to many churches throughout Italy, what a treat for someone so young. Now I am older and work in an office and I am glad for those days but really miss the ability to think about art. Thank you for sharing this.


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