Columns Make or not do handicrafts, but leave Minna Canth’s phrase alone

Whatever you think about the beauty of the crafts. But the misuse of Minna Canth’s sentence in the handicraft matter would already end, writes journalist Sanna Kangasniemi.

All women don’t make crafts! Minna Canthin the sentence is often quoted, and while I don’t think Canthia can be quoted too much, I would like the beatings of this sentence to stop.

Canth – the owner of a shop selling yarn, among other things – certainly didn’t want women to stop making handicrafts. She wanted women to learn more, get out of the shackles of the home district. And that those who knew how to make handicrafts very well would make a living from them.

Minna Canth is 177 years old since her birth and 124 since her death. The world is moving forward all the time, there is more. We build on the work of previous generations, everything researched, recorded, learned, thought out, perceived, done. Things are evolving, culture is getting richer over time.

Our no, at least in Finland, you really no longer have to choose either intellectual action or handicrafts. We may not be able to get everything, but both intelligence and hand skills for sure.

A good example of this is Margaret and Christine Wertheim crocheted coral reefs brought to Finland by the Helsinki Biennale.

The works of art on display in the Oodi lobby and on Vallisaari from this weekend until September are not “just” handicrafts – but not even “just” art, or “only” environmental artwork.

They are also an encouragement: Since crochet, considered a closed thing, is the making of hyperbolic geometric models, why continue to regard mathematics as a closed-minded skill?

All of Wertheim’s work “is based on the idea that people in today’s world — often women in particular — must stop alienating math and taking an interest in science”.

You can even start by crocheting.

Of course, no one needs to make crafts. Fear off! A reinforced heel is not a measure of femininity or masculinity or anything.

But let no one justify his own lack of craftsmanship or alleged incompetence at Canth again.

Knitting has been shown to have a calming effect on the parasympathetic nervous system and to lower the heart rate. It’s, of course, wonderful to hear from us who like the sport.

I understand that it can feel a little stressful just as I have been annoyed by turning Minna Canth’s sentence into a craft-negative emancipation.

But it’s nothing, gets stressed and irritated! These are interesting and important things to keep in mind.

I wonder myself right now whether crocheting is harder for me than knitting precisely because I’ve never considered myself mathematically gifted.

Am I blocking myself, limiting?

That’s not what Minna Canth should be about.



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