Earlier in the spring, when I brought the boat up to our cabin, I asked my friend, Sandy, to model my Finnish folk costume. She modeled near the stone wall that Neal Peterson located for me on Knapp Road and by this marshy, woodland lake. This image of a lonely figure walking near water reminded me of The Wanderer by Jamie Wyeth, after which this painting is named:
I have wanted a Finnish folk costume for years, but couldn’t afford to buy one. When I was in Finland in 2000, a Southern Ostrobothnian costume cost over $2000! This year we had our International Family Reunion for the descendents of Antti and Tilda Olli and I decided I’d try to put something together. I found the skirt on E-Bay — I think it’s the very one I tried on at Vuorelma Oy in 2000 — and it was in my size! That was all I could find though. I decided I’d go ahead and have the rest of the costume made for me. Deb, at Deb’s Fashions to Fit in Platteville, WI, made me a vest. I happened to have the Emerald Green apron required from an Austrian Dirndl I’ve grown out of. For a blouse, I bought a Bunad Blouse from Open House Imports in Mount Horeb, WI. Geneia’s costume was harder, because the vertically striped, wool skirts worn in Finnish costumes proved impossible to find. There weren’t any ready-made on E-Bay for her, so I started shopping on Etsy. What I finally found was wool fabric woven in Latvia for folk -costumes there. I chose it because the Livonians, who wore this patterned wool, are a Finnic people and speak a related language. Deb sewed Geneia’s skirt, patterned after mine. We altered an Austrian vest, making it tie down the front, added my grandmother Selma’s apron and another Bunad Blouse. Kalevala Koru jewelry completed our outfits.