Textile Center Welcomes Finnish Weaver and Designer Satu Nisu as Visiting Artist, March 7 – 20, 2024

Her two-week visit at Textile Center will include a mini-exhibition of her textiles, as well as “office hours” in our Community Room where she will meet with fiber artists, interior designers, and cultivate business partnerships

Textile Center is pleased to welcome Finnish weaver and designer Satu Nisu to our center as a Visiting Artist from March 7 through 20, 2024. During her two-week stay in Minneapolis, she will call our Community Room home, exhibiting her unique, woven textiles, and will hold “office hours” to meet fiber artists, interior designers, and those interested in establishing potential creative partnerships.

We invite you to join us for two Visiting Artist Receptions at Textile Center:

  • Thursday, March 14, 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
  • Tuesday, March 19, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

These gatherings will be an opportunity for you to meet Satu, learn more about her weaving technique, and discuss how you can acquire her unique and luxurious pieces.

If you would like to arrange a time to meet with Satu one-on-one during her visit to Minneapolis, please contact Arts Administrative Assistant Stella Williams at swilliams@textilecentermn.org.

Having earned a grant for an international business development trip in March, Satu selected Minneapolis and New York as her destinations to promote her Finnish design brand, Satunisu. In New York next month, Satu will participate in exhibitions at Studio79 on the Upper West Side (Tuesday, April 9), and exhibitions in Brooklyn including a Gallery Walk in Dumbo (Thursday, April 4, 2024) and Open Studio at Loop of the Loom (Saturday and Sunday, April 13, and 14, 2024).

Satu Nisu’s visit at Textile Center is the result of connections established through Minneapolis’ 50-year sister city relationship with her hometown of Kuopio, Finland. Textile Center Executive Director Karl Reichert (former chair of the Minneapolis Kuopio Partnership) was part of a Minneapolis delegation led by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey that visited Kuopio in September 2023.

“When we visited Satu’s Kuopio studio in September, we were captivated by her unique form of weaving,” Reichert says. “Her work has a luxurious texture, and we were impressed by her commitment to sustainability. City officials in Kuopio highlighted her creative work as an example of Finland’s commitment to eco-friendly use of textiles.”

Wool is used as the base (warp) for all Satunisu textiles, and the weft is where Satu incorporates materials, many upcycled from garments, to weave in materials that include faux fur, leather, cotton velour, and lace. Using a machine she acquired from a shoemaker, she cuts cloth into dynamic shapes. For a local hockey arena in Kuopio, she used a team’s old jerseys to create a woven tapestry.

While at Textile Center, Satu will demonstrate her weaving technique. “I use traditional looms for my work,” Satu says, “and creating a blanket that is one by two meters can take more than 50 hours to create and involves individually attaching more than 3,000 pieces of fabric.”

“Sister city relationships grow friendships,” says Reichert, “and I’ve been fortunate to visit Kuopio four times since 2007 thanks to the years I chaired the Minneapolis Kuopio Partnership. I cherish the connections I have made over the years, and I’m glad to add Satu to my list of friends. I am pleased she accepted our invitation to visit Minneapolis so that members of our Textile Center community can get to know her, too.”

Satu Nisu studied at the Ingman School of Crafts and Design in Kuopio and earned a degree in interior design in 2016 from the Helsinki Design School. Satu’s works have been featured in Vogue, Tatler, House & Garden, and Finnish Fashion 2018.

From Satu Nisu:

“My heart has always been beating passionately for interior design, and my dream was to work as an interior designer,” Satu writes. “I applied to study the field at a local college and got accepted. Filled with enthusiasm, I resigned as a store manager and followed my heart into interior design. However, on the first day of school, my excitement turned into confusion when I realized the classroom was filled with nothing but looms. I felt a chill down my spine when I heard that the studies focused on textile crafts. Back in primary school, I couldn’t even finish knitting a pair of mittens in the crafts class, and I immediately declared that I would quit the program. The teacher’s persistence and encouragement, however, convinced me to stay.

“The day came when I was tasked with weaving a blanket. I set out to find inspiration in the forest. In nature, I saw rocks, moss, and bark… The vision was clear: my blanket had to reflect these beautiful surfaces of nature. Surprisingly, I wove a texture in my blanket that had never been seen before.

“Upon completing the task, I sought to refine my skills by enrolling in the Helsinki Design School for interior design. There, designer Kaisa Blomstedt, also a teacher, noticed my blanket. She remarked, ‘You won’t just be an interior designer. What you’ve crafted is a true gem that deserves recognition worldwide.’ Inspired by Kaisa’s words, I embarked on an entrepreneurial journey in the textile industry. My textiles were showcased to the public for the first time at Finland’s most significant furniture, design, and interior decoration fair, Habitare, in 2017. This marked the beginning of my global journey.”