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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5


Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/tr.2008.3.08

Marketta Luutonen


Our memories can put their signatures on handmade products and the way an object is made can colour our emotional response to it. I use handmade pullovers by Ms Sirkka Könönen, the textile artist, and anonymous traditional pullovers from Korsnäs and Ostrobothnia as examples and ask how these products convey memories. To shed light on the phenomenon I use a ‘product essence analysis’. Relying on Charles S. Peirce’s theory and his categories of ‘Firstness’, ‘Secondness’ and ‘Thirdness’ I have formulated three stages to describe how to observe a product: ‘first impression’, ‘factual’ and ‘interpreta­tion’. The product is interpreted as a semiotic base in which various signs and sign-combinations become anchored. Part of the interpretation is to look how these products serve memory. Pullovers from the Korsnäs district have drawn much attention because of their visual qualities. The Jussi pullover (known by this name because of a character in a play) is associated with notions of self-reliance and is perceived as a symbol of a special way of being a man and a Finn. Users are fascinated by Könönen’s pullovers and, when using them, experience their share of the glow. Pullovers convey collective memories of being Finnish. Pullovers are also very private objects and convey memories of the maker or the giver and of the relation to the owner’s life story.


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