Mai Niemi Finnish Fairytale fashion featured in Enchanted living magazine's newsletter.
Here is a Q&A with Mai and her magical Finnish life and art:
Can you tell us about where you live in Finland?
I live in Kauniainen, a small town near Helsinki. I live in a country cottage house surrounded by a garden with tall firs and a huge oak and I am within walking distance from a lake. In my nature garden I can see and hear all kinds of birds, wood pigeons, squirrels at play, pheasants, rabbits and even foxes and roe deer sometimes.
In what ways do you draw from Finnish/Scandinavian mythology and magic?
While studying in London, I became interested of my Nordic roots. I found out that the Finns were famous healers in the olden times. In Viking time the Finns were on each ship to handle winds and conjure favourable ones. The further I studied, the more I understood that our modern versions of our skills to cooperate with the natural world has been the result of our past: advanced ship building industry and water technology, information technology (Nokia) as a result of understanding the invisible currents and wavelengths, Finnish architecture and Finnish design deriving from our magical nature and its beauty.
The Nordic and Finnish Fenno-Ugric past and mythologies and our Kalevala epic is shamanic by nature. We have a strong nature connection still today. In times our Northern Shamanism extended via the Fenno-Ugric tribes in Siberia as far as China where it transformed into Taoism, Martial arts, Fengshui and Chinese medicine.
But far back before even the birth of Norse mythology and Odin, there is said to have been, according the Greek historians, a feminine culture reaching the Ice sea, Terra Feminarium, a land of eternal spring and youth, Hyboria or Qvenland, land of Nordic Amazons, Queens and giants.
All this is great source of inspiration for me as I design empowering fashion for modern Kalevala Wonder Women and Amazons.
You can find more info at mainiemi.com/light-comes-from-the-north
How and why did you start your company?
I had a problem: I had a wardrobe full of clothes, but nothing to wear and also shops full of clothes, but nothing to buy. They did not match my lifestyle, my energy, my needs, my quality standards. So I had to create them.
I had begun my fengshui studies, when I realized that this ancient wisdom can to be applied to fashion to make it more natural, nature connective and well being enhancing. My teachers encouraged me to go ahead.
I tested the first pieces with colleagues and by getting remarks as: this garment has changed my life or I feel the nurturing energy in them, I gradually gained courage to develop my holistic well-being line that reflects the Nordic lifestyle, being global at the same time: free-flowing, mobile, body friendly knits with special geometrical shapes and symbolism. I gradually became aware of my faerie entourage team that was eager to assist in this creation work. This was year 2000 when Mai Niemi Design House was born with a mission.
Can you tell us about some of your favorite things you make?
I find it a fascinating adventure to make my textile jewelry. The flower faeries, trolls, elves, mermaids, deities, goddesses and other spirits have all the time new ideas how to express nature's wonders. Now we are making a new line named Finnish Folklore inspired of Water Deities, Finnish Kantele (ancient music instrument), flowers, cornfields and meadows.
In what ways is your own life like a fairy tale?
My life has become a fairy tale life in many ways. I have been aware of the many blessings and the protection of my Fairy Godmothers and faerie friends in my life. They have helped me to stay connected to my Inner Child's innocence and purity and the fairy world. Just recently I received a confirmation message from them: “Mai, you have healing energy in you and it is transmitted to your work through your hands. You work with the faeries and there are many of them waiting to have a chance to work with you.”
I have a client who wears and even sleeps with one of my designs because she feels it is so healing. She also reports that the animals react very positively to them and she recently bought few garlands to her horses!!
And true, I believe a designer needs to have fairy design muses in order to be creative and motivated. I constantly receive impulses and ideas from my helpers quite naturally without any struggle. I have learned to trust my intuition on this and I often feel when there is a new design coming. Then we work together to manifest it into form with the nice energy and colors. Faeries assist me also in the geometrical nature forms and ancient symbolism use in my designs. They are beneficial for holistic wellbeing by resonating with the body's crystalline structure and meridians.
After all, faeries love beautiful clothes because they make their aura shine. The same happens wearing my design; more shining and bigger aura.
If I have a problem to solve, I just pass it on to my faerie angels and they are only too happy to find the best solution. (They have given their assistance to answer these questions as well.) Faeries are very good with all earthly matters, so they are great help in manifesting anything.
How do your designs help other women transform their lives?
By Mai Magic Wardrobe that is a holistic place where magic happens on all levels.
I have a saying: When a Princess is born, the Prince will appear. This is not only fairy tale, it does happen. The problem is that we have forgotten that we are princesses. The transformation process to heal the Inner Princess is needed in order to remember. This process is described in The Beauty and the Beast story: The task of the Hero is to conquer the Inner Dragons and the task of the Heroine is to love the Unlovable.
The healing energy in my fashion is to heal the feminine within so that we can see and feel our beauty.
When the Prince will see it too, the fairytale and true romance begins and we can truly enjoy our womanhood. And men manhood as well.
I have a client who told this story: When she bought new clothes, she presented them to her husband, but he really never cared to look or comment on them. But one day she showed my poncho to him. He turned around and said: My god, you look like goddess! She called me up and cried of joy. The Prince had arrived.
Personally I have experience this same magic in my life. My husband has turned from a “Frog” into a Prince and he truly treats me like a goddess. I could not have imagined to be able to experience this miracle in my own lifetime. That is the magic gift my fashion has brought along to myself as well.
How do you stay enchanted?
I get enchanted by being able to bridge worlds with my fashion.
That is the purpose of the Magic Wardrobe: to enchant our daily lives with clothes that cheer up, that are joyful but also functional and magical at the same time. My skill is to feel and sense the invisible world and the ability to bring this world visible in my creations. In that way my life is adventurous and enchanting. My creativity is a continuous source of wonders.
I get enchanted by feeding this magic by nature flowers, enchanted nature places, walks in the forest, reading stories and fairytale books, music, faerie art, and by associating with people who also believe in faeries.
On May 18 I celebrate Fairy Day with the faeries. The day was initiated by the faeries on Fall 2011 while I was planting tulip onions. They made a wish to celebrate the nature and the faeries who make everything blossom and grow and rebirth in spring the time the tulips came to blossom.
I get enchanted from the magical stories I receive from my clients who have Mai Magic Wardrobes, Here is an example from Michelle Karén, who is a global performer and traveler who has 3 Magic Wardrobes, one in Phoenix, one in France and one in Finland:
“I love the colors that Mai Niemi uses and the profound creativity and originality of her collections. I love that she uses only natural fibers and that each piece has a story that continues the ancient Kalevala teachings, bringing them alive in present times, in our modern world.
And that is what is so unique in Mai Niemi's designs: they are not just clothes, they are filled with a spiritual light that connects us with the truth of who we really are.
I always wear her designs when doing shamanic ceremonies, not only because they are incredibly beautiful and flattering, but also because they help me shape shift. They make me become the trees of the Finnish forest. They enable me to communicate with the earth spirits. They share with me the wisdom of the Ancient Ones. I can feel the depth of my own Finnish roots and the magic and power they convey to my own work. In Mai Niemi's clothes I feel that nothing is impossible.
She is the fairy who weaves for us the clothes - the keys - to become urban shamans, magicians, creating the world we wish for into being.”
Michelle Karén in a Dervish poncho
Michelle with Mai
Mai´s Magic Wardrobe poem:
The time brought the new form,
water found a fresh flowing
to the people of the wind,
to the ladies of the lakes
to dress the folk of the forests,
To adorn the fairies of the nature.
Lively and feminine, to function anywhere,
on any form of goddess or queen,
and wellbeing of the beloved body.
What a magic garment:
loosens off the box,
frees to the flowing,
gives Goddess´s power
to the women of Kalevala,
to the daughters of Gaia.
So knitted, so crocheted, wove in the arts
worked in fengshui harmony
and the ancient wisdom,
to one size gathered the large and the small,
the tall and the tiny.
Knitted now is Kalevala,
woven the great tale,
Changed the old patterns,
opened the tightened knots
To begin the new day,
to start the new morning,
so that the the roots and the myths
of the Grail and great nation
would not be forgotten
nor the skill of Sampo forging.
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