Weekly Bubbling: Susanna Sivonen

Weekly Bubbling is a series of articles presenting up-and-coming talents in the design world. In the second part of the series, we meet illustrator and textile artist Susanna Sivonen who’s had a crush on Picasso since she was a little girl.

Weekly Bubbling is a series of articles presenting up-and-coming talents in the design world. In the second part of the series, we meet illustrator and textile artist Susanna Sivonen, designed a print for Lullebiegga, a swimming suit brand founded by late Maija Halkosaari.

Weekly Bubbling brings up the talents that are sparkling just below the surface of the design world. We interview both newcomers and long-term professionals – most importantly focusing on their talents and potential. We are interested in people who are bound to become the next talk of the town.

On the second part, we meet illustrator and textile artist, who designed a print for Lullebiegga, a swimming suit brand founded by late Maija Halkosaari. The brand designs supportive swimsuits for women after breast surgery.

In addition, she is the only artist from Finland invited to join the Global Art Show in London. Her three unique works were exhibited there together with a genuine Picasso painting and several other works by respected artists.

How did you become a textile artist?

I’ve always been crazy about fabrics. Already when I lived in Oslo in my twenties, I filled my cabinets with fabrics and came up with the idea to design them.

In primary school, I exchanged self-made “girl cards” with my friends with the same kind of passion that the boys in our class had for their ice hockey collection cards. My father is an artist, and he remembers that I never got bloated by my flow of creativity but yearned to realise my experiences by hand. Later, the fairytale princesses and royalty of my drawings have been replaced by faces, animal figures, and philosophical details.

How would you describe your esthetics?

I found my style of creating prints from stories and details already during my first year in the university. I’ve kept the style until this very day. It traces my life, my “daily roulette”, with the sensitivity of artistry and motherhood. I also draw a lot from Finnish nature. I love the Nordic countries where nature is wild and rich.


What has been the highlight of your career?

Becoming part of Lullebiegga, a swimming suit brand founded by late Maija Halkosaari, was a very significant cooperation project. Lullebiegga products have been primarily designed for women using a breast prosthesis. I designed a black-and-white print called Million for the collection.

Maija’s incredible attitude and winning energy were something that made an indelible impact on me. I think I’ve learned more from this collaboration than I can understand at this stage. Despite a serious illness, Maija planted a symbolic apple tree because life is here and now.

Professional highlights include invitations to New York and London. I participated the Finnish Tech, Design & Art Expo in New York last spring. This May, it was a big deal for me to be able to attend the Global Art Show in London. I was invited to London by an NYC gallerist whom I met in New York. At Art 16 exhibition, I was part of the Start charity organisation exhibition together with other internationally known artists.

What would your dream project be like?

I yearn for more international art projects where I could combine design and charity. Then again, it would be great to design something multidimensionally demanding – Hermes scarves, for example. The best is when one is able to give all and beyond.


Karkelokiitäjä © SUSANNA SIVONEN


What is your favourite among the prints you have designed and why?

The Ballong print. Its artwork reminds me of setting free and letting go of your dreams. Dance on the Roses print symbolises the perfect equality of happiness independent of fortune, achievements, culture or life situation. It is a significant print also because the attention I received for it started my career. My latest print Raindrops was the most demand regarding its creative process. I wanted to illustrate the beauty of life and the necessity to slow down. The print depicts how raindrops freeze.

Who do you follow on Instagram?

I follow all kinds of profiles. Decorators, entertainers, artists, and personalities with pretty pictures. Dailyoverview nearly always offers a spectacular view. Karinmannerstal shows a piece of Sweden and the homey “äntligen hemma” series. Malalafund represents courage and amazing wisdom.

Helsinki Design Week’s theme this year is Better. What kind of a world would be better for you?

I appreciate authenticity and equal encounters. You can change the world with a small gesture if it involves genuine interest in the surrounding reality, not only in the things from which you benefit yourself.

In a better world everyone would live their dreams right here and now like my idol Maija Halkosaari. There may not be a later life for which to save your experiences.