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”Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor…”

Organised guilds did not make their appearance in Finnish towns until the 1620s, with shoemakers and tailors as the first groups. The purpose of the guild system was to ensure the livelihood of its members by supervising training through the apprentice-journeyman-master system, by restricting the number of professionally active craftsman and by controlling the quality of work. The rural parish craftsman system was established in the 1680s. These craftsmen were required and expected to circumambulate throughout the whole area of the parish. Crafts were regarded as a part of agriculture and not as independent means of livelihood.

Drawing: Suomen käsityön museo / Tuula Ollikainen

Text and images: Crafts – a journey in time -exhibition, if not mentioned otherwise.


The craft of knitting with needles came to Finland presumably from Central Europe at the beginning of the century. Mostly socks, mittens and jerseys were made in this technique. The knitting of socks became an important livelihood in Naantali and in the whole of Southwest Finland. A woollen cardigan buttoned at the front came into use alongside the jersey in the late years of the century. For example Turku had several professional jersey-knitters.

Drawing: Suomen käsityön museo / Anne Saarikoski


The oldest written information on raanu weaves with woven designs is from the 17th century. According to their patterns the raanu weaves are classed as straight-checked or diagonal-checked. Owing to the cold climate, raanu weaves, like other warm woollen covers, remained in use for several centuries at fishing cabins and herdsmen’s huts, on hunting and market trips, and on an everyday basis in cabins and storehouses. They were also used to line coverlets. A water-repellent woollen textile was highly necessary on boat trips.

Photo: Suomen käsityön museo / Elsa Silpala


Chamois breeches came to be used more and more by commoners, not to mention men of the burgher and upper classes. Chamois was made by softening lamb or goat skins with grease.

Photo: Suomen käsityön museo / Karl Lahti


Thread was spun with spindles for thousands of years. Introduced in Southern and Central Europe in the 1530s, the spinning-wheel became widespread in Finland in the 17th and 18th centuries. The head of wool was placed on the distaff, which developed into one of the most skillfully decorated items of folk art.

Drawing: Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin


As chimneyed ovens and glazed windows became more common greater attention was paid to the interiors of homes and dwellings. As demand grew, bricklayers, glaziers, carpenters and painters also became more numerous. In Western Finland the hewing of interior wall logs in dwellings began by the 17th century at the latest. The surface of the round log was evened and smoothed and marked with evenly wide undulating hewing axe marks in vertical lines.

Drawing: Alfred Kolehmainen


In the 1660s the Administrative Court of the town of Porvoo ordered the streets to be paved with stones. Although the buildings along the street have burned down on at least two occasions, the cobble-stone street has survived until the present day. The street was part of the highway along which many messages passed from Turku to Moskova.

Photo Tuomi-Kortti / Jorma Tuomi


The rich carved decoration of Tornio Church was made by Nils Jacobsson Fluur. At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries Fluur made a pulpit, the frame of the sacristy door and the choir screen with its gate and pyramid motif.


A list of craftsmen active in the towns of the Satakunta region, West Finland, between 1600 and 1721.

  • Hookmaker
  • Hemp spinner
  • Hatter
  • Clockmaker
  • Book-binder
  • Goldsmith
  • Glazier
  • Painter
  • Bricklayer
  • Tanner
  • Cordmaker
  • Linen weaver
  • Maker of wooden vessels
  • Carpenter
  • Master builder
  • Tailor
  • Saddler
  • Pistolmaker
  • Blacksmith
  • Turner
  • Shoemaker
  • Chamois leathermaker
  • Brickmaker
  • Cooper
  • Caster
Raanu. Photo: Suomen käsityön museo / Elsa Silpala


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