You may remember the coaches and athletes of the Finnish Olympic team knitting before and after their competitions at this year’s Winter Games. Well, this artist is taking her country’s favourite pastime to a whole new level with her incredible lifelike creations.
Finnish sculptor Liisa Hietanen knits life-size sculptures of actual people from her hometown, and when she photographs the model alongside the artwork, it is honestly difficult to differentiate who is who!
Every single element of her creations – from their bodies to their clothing and even their accessories – are either crocheted, knit or embroidered, and it is truly amazing how real they appear to be. The only exception to wool or thread components is the rebar and cement that Liisa must use to get the sculptures to sit or stand on their own.
Although Liisa first started to crochet at age 10, she began her sculptural knitting practice in art school, where she completed a representation of her first-grade teacher. She used crochet for this piece, which is titled Pirkko.
From there, Liisa started asking the community in her small village of Hämeenkyrö, Finland to model for her. She begins by asking them to meet her in person where she photographs them from all directions, takes measurements and works together with them to select the pose for the sculpture. It is these photographs that Liisa uses for the bulk of her sculpting process, although when the time comes for her to do the face and the hands, she will always meet with her subjects again to spend some time studying their characteristics.
It is by engaging with her subjects on a personal level that she is able to so accurately capture their aura. ‘I study the essence of familiarity and shared experiences,’ the artist shared with Mother Nature Network. ‘I meet the same familiar strangers every day on the street and our common world is the size of a small village. I am depicting the present moment by portraying my own surroundings, but at the same time I am bringing out something common to us all.’
We don’t know about you, but we wish Liisa would come to where we live!