The Textile Artist of the Year is Laura Isoniemi

The Textile Artist of the Year award is the most prestigious textile art award in Finland. Laura Isoniemi is particularly praised for her pedagogy that encourages creative thinking and innovative design methods.
Vaaleatukkainen nainen katsoo suoraan kameraan ja hymyilee, hänen edessään on tiheä vihreä kasviviidakko
Photo: Tuovi Hippeläinen

Laura Isoniemi (b.1962), a Master of Arts, art educator and textile artist, is being honoured for her pioneering and visionary work as a teacher of textile art and developer of design methods. Isoniemi has spent thirty years teaching art and design at Aalto University. She has also taught at numerous other institutions of higher education, both in Finland and abroad, promoting the internationalisation and multidisciplinarity of design education.

Giving the award, the Textile Artists' Association (TEXO) particularlyhighlights Isoniemi's pedagogy, which encourages creative thinking, and innovative design methods, that have influenced the work and thinking of many generations of designers. The methods taught by Isoniemi stem from her own artistic work, which is based on experimentalism and systems thinking. 

‘This recognition means a lot to me because it is a recognition valued by my peers. I have had a long career as a freelancer and teacher, working with my heart and expanding my professional skills by further educating myself,’ says Isoniemi.

‘I have taught a wide, multidisciplinary and international group of students on what surface design, design and creativity are and how to express them. I have found my work important and meaningful because I consider the things I teach important and of general interest to the wider community.’

A multidisciplinary designer

Laura Isoniemi is an expert in teaching combining design, art and science. Teacher exchanges and teaching in China have given her a wealth of valuable experience, which she has used to develop multidisciplinary teaching methods.

I have taught multidisciplinary, international group of students on what surface design, design and creativity are and how to express them."

Textile artist Laura Isoniemi
Kirjan Kuviollinen mieli etukansi

Isoniemi has designed a wide range of printed fabric patterns, products and public textile works. She has had several solo exhibitions and participated in more than 70 group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. Isoniemi has compiled her extensive experience in teaching creativity and pattern design in the book Patterned Mind (Aalto ARTS Books, 2019).

She has also worked in international projects as a curator and producer in several exhibitions. The largest of these was Echoes – 100 Years in Finnish Design and Architecture, which toured five European countries during the centenary of Finland's independence and attracted over 50 000 visitors.

Currently, Isoniemi teaches a multidisciplinary Crystal Flowers in the Hall of Mirrors course at Aalto University, a course which combines mathematics and art. The designer herself feels she can make a difference through teaching. Her ways of working are interaction, presence and encounter, tolerance and a humane approach to people – not forgetting curiosity.

After decades of teaching, she is now moving on to her own artistic expression with exhibitions and celebrating her Textile Artist of the Year nomination with a commemorative exhibition, Order and Principles.

‘In this exhibition I am returning to my roots in creative pattern design. In the works, I challenged myself and explored how to create as many different patterns as possible using just one colour and shape. I am a systems builder and I am fascinated by them. Making patterns is a way for me to structure ideas and get things in place, one pattern at a time. Dialogue with patterns is like a game; one change affects the whole pattern.’ 

Textile Artists TEXO Association is a professional association of textile artists and one of the member organisations of Ornamo Association. The Textile Artist of the Year has been awarded since 1981. The award ceremony and the opening of Isoniemi’s exhibition took place in the Väre building of Aalto University on 15 February.

Welcome to the exhibition!

The Textile Artist of the Year Award will be celebrated with two exhibitions during the year:

ORDER AND PRINCIPLES exhibition will be on display at Aalto University's V1 Gallery from 16.2.–5.3., Otaniementie 14, Espoo. Open Mon-Thu 8–21, Fri 8–20, Sat 9–17.

MATERIAL AND MEANINGS exhibition 31.5–22.6. Gallery Pirkko-Liisa Topelius, Hietalahdenranta 17, Helsinki. Open Tue 11–17, Wed 11–18, Thu-Fri 11–17, Sat-Sun 12–16. 

Contact information:

Textile artist Laura Isoniemi, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, +358 40 508 7090, [email protected] 

Textile Artists Association TEXO, President Jaana Woll, +358 40 570 7792, [email protected]  

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