- Public Art
- Visual Art
- Glass Art
Kirsti Taiviola (MA) is a glass artist, designer and educator. The red thread in Taiviola’s career has been an interest in the possibilities of glass and light as tools of transmitting observations and making something visible. Her works examine e.g. questions of materiality, craftsmanship and authorship and they often pay respect to the traditional craftsmanship of glass making. Glass for her is, above all, a medium that allows her to work with the experience of light and color. She frequently works with handmade free-form glass lenses and uses their optics to create different light projections.
Along her work as an artist Kirsti Taiviola has long served as a teacher in the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, where she regularly teaches glass art and design. She works in a multi-disciplinary artist community in Savio .
University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH
Master of Arts
1995 – 2001
AltarpieceSöderkulla Church, Sipoo, FinlandHand blown glass, steel, wood
In 2019, “Auringon laulu” won the invitational competition organized by the Sipoo parish association looking for an altarpiece for Söderkulla church. The main inspiration of the work is Franciscus of Assisi’s prayer Laudes Creaturarum that embraces the whole of creation. The production process of the work was participatory: parishioners sent me nature photographs they had taken, in which they thought sanctity or significance of nature was manifested. Based on the pictures, I designed a unique coloring for each glass part. Made up of a total of 365 unique hand-blown glass pieces, the altarpiece is an abstract interpretation of a landscape at dawn or dusk. The glass parts were blown in Nuutajärvi in cooperation with Tavastia Vocational College’s glass school. The nature pictures have been documented as a series of books that the public can browse in the church.
Baptismal treeLocation: Tapiola church, EspooHand blown glass, bronze, lightcirca 3m x 4m x 0,5m
Paju is a baptismal tree in the form of a light projection. A hand blown glass lens casts a projection resembling a foliage of a tree on the wall. Within the leaves of light is a tree branch cast in bronze, on which names of baptized children are hung written on paper leaves. Over the course of a year, the tree gradually fills up, reminding of new life and new parishioners.
Light installationHand blown glass lenses, lightLocation: Opintoputki tunnel, Kluuvi, Helsinki
Kenno is a commissioned light installation in the tunnel leading to the Helsinki University Metro Station. The work is a study on the honeycomb pattern on the undulating ceiling and walls of the tunnel. On the Yliopistonkatu end of the tunnel, the pattern rises orderly towards the ceiling until, as it progresses down the tunnel, it begins to stretch and round, following the organic shape of the ceiling’s surface. Deeper in the tunnel, the pattern returns to its original orderly shape again.
Light installationLocation: Aleksanterinkaari inner circle, Porvoo, FinlandMaterials: Hand-blown glass lenses, bespoke luminaires
Loisto is a light installation in the residential area of Aleksanterinkaari inner circle in Porvoo, Finland. The work consists of different light projections on the facades of eight residential buildings. Projections are made with hand-blown glass lenses. Like beacons used in navigation at sea, the artwork guides passers-by in the area at dusk and dark. The entrance facade of each building has its own projected pattern. The work was completed in three stages between 2018 and 2022 as part of Porvoo’s Länsiranta Art Program. Client: The City of Porvoo.
Ten Finnish glassblowers were asked to blow three objects: a plate, a jug and a goblet. Each blower received the same instructions for the task: each object must be blown only a few times and molds should not be used. Thus, the end result was allowed to look uncompleted. The background idea of the work is to present the initial phase of the blowing process, where there are still indications of the personal handprints of the different blowers visible. Rather than comparing technical skills the work aims to highlight the meaning of the maker in the design process and to illustrate the nature of hand blowing.Glassblowers: Alma Jantunen, Johannes Rantasalo, Jaakko Liikanen, Marika Kinnunen, Sara Hulkkonen, Kaappo Lähdesmäki, Antti Torstensson, Tero and Hanna Välimaa, Kari Alakoski, Marja Hepo-AhoPhoto: Vesa Laitinen
InstallationHand blown glassSize: 1,3 m x 11 m x 11 m
KEHRÄ-project begun from a will to evidence the part of the year when days become longer and we shift from darkness to light. During 21.12.2017-21.6.2018 I got up every morning to capture the sunrise and to write down a brief description of my perception of the moment. For me, the project was a way to observe the colors of the sky, light, the weather, and the essence of a fleeting moment. I translated my notes into work instructions for mold blown glass objects that were to be colored with glass powder colors.The glass parts were made in collaboration with the students of Tavastia Vocational College’s Glass School in Nuutajärvi. One of the aims of the collaboration was to pilot a pedagogical model in which students practice teamwork, job rotation, project management and communication both within the team and with the client.In Finland, glassblowing was chosen for inscription on the National Inventory of Living Heritage related to the UNESCO Convention in 2017. One of my motives in the project was a will to implement a project to highlight the craft of glassblowing and to give students an opportunity to gain experience of client work.PRODUCTION:Design, coordination & cold work: Kirsti TaiviolaHead of the glassblowing team: glassblower Manuel Diemer.Members of the glassblowing team: Kaisa Reponen, Julia Töyrylä, Markus Aremo, Matti Pasanen, Henna Holopainen, Alge Kavailiuskaite, Ha Inchul, Teemu Kylvö, Tommi Tikkinen, Mikko Malkki, Sauli Ylirönni and teachers Sara Hulkkonen and Marika KinnunenThe project was supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Asko Foundation
Wall pieceMaterial: Hand blown glassSize: 127 cm x 172 cm x 16 cm
The work consists of approx. 400 pieces of glass that are left overs from a mold blowing project (The Canticle of the Sun). Multicolored glass is difficult to recycle, so it often ends up as waste. After spending time looking at these small colorful parts I found it hard to trash them because I thought they were beautiful even with all the chipping and sawing marks. Little by little, my eye began to put the pieces in order, as I saw a landscape in them. The work is a reflection on the mechanism of recognition and the value of material.
InstallationMaterials: old cut drinking glasses, lightSize: 1,5 m x 1,8 m x 1,8 m
The Garland reflects on what kind of information objects convey. Over the years, I have collected plant-themed cut & engraved glass objects from various flea markets. Collecting glasses has been like collecting plants in a herbarium. By looking at the patterns on the glasses, one can make observations, e.g. on the quality of the cutting work, the type of the engraving wheels used and the style of the motifs.The work raises the idea of the relationship between the tool and its user and how the tool often guides our thinking. It’s also a nostalgic glance in the past, where the summery theme is mixed with a hint of melancholia as the 50+ different glasses cast a wreath-like shadow around themselves.
Light installationLocation: Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, T2Hand-blown glass, bespoke luminaire
Four different light projections are realized using hand-blown glass lenses and custom-made luminaires. Following the seasons, the patterns a snowflake, a bird, a leaf and a butterfly) are changed four times a year.
Development project of a glass block
The development project of a glass block for the main foyer wall of the Wuxi Grand Theater in Wuxi, China, in collaboration with PES-Architects and Aalto University. I worked as a glass specialist in the project regarding the design and manufacture of the glass blocks.The undulating shape of the outer walls of the main hall consists of 17,000 specially manufactured pressed glass blocks. According to the architect’s wishes, the glasswall was to resemble the shimmering water of lakes.The theater was opened to the public in 2012.
Ceremonial chains for the deans of Aalto UniversityMaterials: silver, ceramics, gold, marble, wood, onyx, howlite, carbon fiber, glass, copper
In 2012, the competition entry Maa, Ilma, Tuli ja Vesi (Earth, Air, Fire and Water) won the 1st prize in the invitational design competition for the ceremonial chains of the deans of the four technical Schools of Aalto University. In 2013, the project was continued with new chains for the deans of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture and the School of Business. All chains have a common element of an outer circle braided with silver beads, which represents Aalto University. The second, inner circle is braided with beads of different materials describing each school.From the left:School of Electrical Engineering: FireSchool of Chemical Engineering: WaterSchool of Science: AirSchool of Business: Aurum(President of Aalto University)School of Arts, Design and Architecture: OrigamiSchool of Engineering: Earth