This profile is of Jani Ryynänen from Kullaa in Southwest Finland. Jani is a friend and student of Ilkka Seikku and Pasi Hurttila whose work has been featured on this blog. I have enjoyed becoming acquainted with his work recently. I like his very clean sense of design based in tradition and appreciate his statement “But if you keep your mind open you can always see and learn something, even from things you don’t like.” I look forward to posting more of his work here in the future. Thank you Jani!
Please check out Jani’s blog at http://keklut.blogspot.com/
“I got interested in blacksmithing when I was about ten years old. My uncle was forging a few puukkos and I asked him: “Would you make me one?” He replied: “No, I won’t. Do it yourself.” So, few years later, I made my first puukko with a Lauri blade.
I really hammered for the first time about seven years ago, when I was visiting my friend Ilkka Seikku. Then he showed me how to make a “women’s knife” or emännän veitsi. I also forged and made my first puukko at Ilkka’s place. Lately I forged blades in my friend Pasi Hurttila’s smithy in Leineperi and made the rest in my home. Today I have my own forge and workshop at home.
So, I’m not completely self-taught: Ilkka Seikku and Pasi Hurttila showed me blade forging basics and lately Juhani Ahonen taught me damascus steel forging basics.
There is a long tradition of blacksmithing here. Nearby, in the village of Leineperi, there is Fredrikfors iron work complex, with a blast furnace and a bar-iron forge with water operated hammers, where steel and wrought iron were made.
It was founded in year 1771 and it’s a living example of the first stages of industrialisation in Finland. Nowadays it’s become a museum, but there is working blacksmith forge. In Kullaa we don’t have a personal puukko model, but I think that Kokemäen puukkos were used here too, as in old days Kullaa was part of Kokemäki municipality.
I’m also interested in wood carving and other woodworking. For example I make rifle stocks and carvings. I don’t have a real source of inspiration. But if you keep your mind open you can always see and learn something, even from things you don’t like.
I think that my mission is to sustain the traditions of handicraft and keep craftsmanship alive. At the end of 2012 I received papers as qualified puukkoseppä, I would be interested in becoming a fulltime bladesmith, but it’s a hard way. Let’s see what comes.”