Designer of the Month: Mari Leppälä aka Molla Mills

Molla (in the middle) teaching crocheting at a workshop at Paloni on April 23rd.

Molla (in the middle) teaching crocheting at a workshop at Paloni on April 23rd.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a serious but playful designer, wanting to leave my hand print to the culture and history of handicrafts.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Colors and graphics in crocheted loops.

Why handmade / locally produced?
As a handicrafter I tend to make all products by myself from materials I can find close. The feeling of making the whole product with my own hands is amazing. Only lately I have found the idea of sharing tasks with other people. This happened when I started studying at Taik, after years of independent working.

How are Molla Mills products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
My products are local production, hand made in small quantities and the materials are mostly upcycled.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Making a new collection has always been based on my mood. It can start after a period of ultimate happiness, depression or some other thing that’s going on in my life. It goes in cycles. Inspiration can be found from many places, mostly from seeing and experiencing new things. Negative experiences can as well create inspiration and give new perspectives on my works.

My works can be labeled as vintage inspired, since I’m a big fan of the 40s and 50s aesthetics, but slowly modernism and graphic patterns are conquering my head.

Molla (right) teaching how to make a crocheted basket.

 Molla (right) teaching how to make a crocheted basket.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?

I bumped into Paloni by accident, and I fell in love with the unique atmosphere immediately. Minna has a great sense of style and I can only be happy to be one of Paloni designers. It almost feels like having a community of designers – the atmosphere at Paloni is very intensive and positive.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Just walk in.

I’ve been horrified by socializing when I was younger, but I realized that if I stay in my murky room with rolls of yarn, I can never meet other creative people – or realize that they have the same fear. “Just walk in” simply means contacting people and being proud of yourself.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Find your own style, make it strong and let it show.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
It’s all of those moments when I realize a new idea is working out well and that people are interested in it. I’m a very down-to-earth person, I don’t usually think too far before things move on, but at this moment I have butterflies in my stomach when thinking about the near future and my first book Virkkuri to be published.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
Yarn. Rough, semi-thick fisherman’s cotton yarn in natural white color. If I ever turn into zombie I will start yearning for yaaaaarn.

Molla's hand-crocheted baskets at Paloni. Prices start at 17€ per piece.

Molla's hand-crocheted baskets at Paloni. Prices start at 17€ per piece.