Anna-Karoliina Vainio’s work is based on soft materials, textiles and handicraft techniques: weaving, sewing, knotting and composition.

Warp, weft and pile threads are intertwined in her works to form serpentine and colourful scenes of dream worlds. Tapestries turn into works in which the past and the future are present at the same time. 

Vainio’s fantasy worlds are soft and bright. The boundaries between the colours are clear, but the knotted pile textile blurs these boundaries and creates vibrant surfaces. Vainio draws on the history of artisan traditions and ryijy tapestries in her work, but also mixes global trends and the symbolism of different cultures with her visual world. Dreams come from experiences. Memories and a longing for the future are close to each other and present at the same time. 

Anna-Karoliina Vainio (b. 1995) graduated as a visual artist from Kankaanpää Art School in 2019. She lives and works in Helsinki. 


Exhibited at Taidehalli 22.4.-28.5.2023


Nova Initia
hand-knotted rya

“Nova Initia” – a new beginning – is a ryijy tapestry. A human figure looks over their shoulder, behind their back, but towards a new era. Skulls and snakes under the character’s feet offer ideas of the past, but the hens pecking the ground and the new crop are a promise of a more abundant future. A feline follows the character; it feels soft and warm against the character’s skin, but does softness and warmth always mean safety? 

Vainio made the Nova Initia tapestry, displayed at the Nuoret 2023 (Young Artists) exhibition, when someone close to her became seriously ill. Who am I, what will I be like, what do I want and will I have time to get the answers to these questions in my lifetime? These questions have perpetually tormented the artist. Uncertainty led to a determination that became even stronger than fear.

Image Credits: 
Artist’s portrait - Patrik Rastenberger
Artwork image - Process photos, 2023, photo: Elias Salomäki