All posts by Paivi Suomi

I've had an interest in textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about tradtional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts. Paivi Suomi Connect with me on Google+

Piece of Celery

Being of Finnish/Saami origin, I am a great coffee lover. When I first got home from the hospital after having breast cancer surgery my husband offered to make me a lovely latte. But strangely, what I wanted, craved for instead, was celery. This craving was much like those I had many years ago when I was pregnant. I needed it now! And I wanted it with V8 juice.
We had a bit of V8 juice left in the fridge. My darling Robert poured it into a glass and brought it to me, but it still needed more celery. He rummaged through the fridge and found a small, rather wilted piece of celery and added it to my glass of V8 juice. Nope, needed more celery. He found some celery salt in the spice drawer. I quickly glugged it all down. And still wanted more. Robert went to the corner shop and bought some more V8 and fresh celery. I drank several glasses before I felt satisfied.
Later I started to think about that, and wonder why celery? I got onto google and googled celery and cancer:
“Preventing cancer. Celery contains a flavanoid called luteolin. Researchers believe that luteolin may possess anti-cancer properties. A study published in Current Cancer Drug Targets said that “Recent epidemiological studies have attributed a cancer prevention property to luteolin.” Health benefits and risks of celery
Hmmm… Luteolin
So then I started to look for scientific research articles that have examined the effects of luteolin on cancer to see if there is any basis for this. read more

My Life with Cancer

Charlie Brown and Snoopy
Charlie Brown and Snoopy

My Dear Fibre Friends,
It is difficult to write this but I feel that I must share my experiences as part of my healing process. In early July, I found a lump and went to visit my doctor. A mammogram, ultrasound and a core needle biopsy revealed that this was Stage 3 breast cancer. 6 Days later I found myself in hospital undergoing a radical mastectomy. 9 Lymph nodes were also removed during the procedure.
The lab results showed that this was not a standard type of breast cancer but an extremely rare form, called Metaplastic Breast Cancer. Depending on which study you read, only .02% – 1% of the population gets this type of cancer. The odd thing is that this cancer is not actually a breast cancer, but a type of Skin cancer that happened to grow within my breast. My doctor informed me that there are no known successful treatments for this type of cancer, therefore he does not recommend further chemo treatments. The chemo could possibly do more harm than good. I will also be meeting with my oncologist in a few weeks to discuss more details of this type of cancer and treatment options.
If there are no treatments that modern medicine can effectively provide, my best and only alternative is to look into holistic types of healing, using natural and organic foods, exercise, meditation and faith.
Due to the surgery, I have limited use of my right arm, so am unable to do any craft or textile work until my arm strengthens and heals.
I have had to cancel and postpone any workshops that I had scheduled. I closed my Etsy shop temporarily while I was going through surgery, but I have now reopened it. Products that I have made are available for sale. But I am unable to accept custom orders at this time until I regain the use of my hands. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Breast Cancer Research.
I will continue to post updates to my journey from time to time on my All Fiber Arts website.
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Fish Tanning

I have been working with reindeer leather for the past year or so, hand stitching and making small bags, purses and pouches. My interest in reindeer leather began when I decided I wanted to weave and work with materials from my Saami heritage. My grandmother used to make reindeer leather shoes, bags and other items that she sold to the Sami community in Northern Norway. Many of these types of items were embellished with hand woven colourful bands or pewter thread embroidery. After doing some research in online museum archives, I discovered that fish skins were also tanned and used to make bags and other items.
I first learned about fish tanning during one of the textile and dye workshops that I attended in Finland. I thought I would do a bit more research on the various ways to tan a fish and make it into useable leather. read more

Vadmal

Vadmal is a woven wool cloth that has been felted. Felting the fabric after weaving, thickens the cloth and makes it wind and water resistant as well as warm. Vadmal is generally woven in a tabby or a twill weave on warp weighted or floor looms.
In order to felt the fabric, there are two methods that can be used. The wet fabric can be pounded in a hammer mill for several hours in order to flatten and thicken the fabric. The hammering process creates a fabric that looks more like “real cloth” and produces a stable fabric with very little nap and the wool keeps its shine. The wool fabric can also be pounded and stamped by placing the fabric in a large bucket filled with water and stamping with your feet. read more