C’mon, follow me across the rainbow and I’ll show you the way to the dream valley.

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Contemporary Design
My thesis is the result of four years of determined work. The starting point for it can be considered the course organized in 2018, during which I got to learn about the handbuilding of ceramics. It was love at first sight. In the following years, I used all possible time from my studies to develop my own technique and the content meanings of my works. During that time, I felt that a large part of the compulsory studies was mainly in the way and a retarder for the development of my own expression. I do appreciate wide-ranging knowledge and general education - a certain kind of renaissance humanity. However, you also need to be able to recognize what is essential for you in terms of your own goal and what is not - you cannot familiarize yourself with everything that comes your way in life. You must delve deeper into the things you have a real passion for, leave some for a more superficial examination or simply pass by with favor. Fortunately, my degree was already my second and I was able to get credits from my previous studies and work history credited to my bachelor's degree. Otherwise, I simply wouldn't have had enough time to develop my own passion. I am also grateful for the opportunity to complete the Contemporary Design master's program with a large number of my own projects – in which I count this thesis as well. In my thesis, I present my way of making art in my main artistic line. The contexts of my works are intuitively connected to the children's popular culture figures I use as models. After this connection is born, I familiarize myself with the topic by reading related studies in social psychology, political psychology and other studies that look at the topic from a humane perspective. I do this wading through literature while building the physical characters of my works. I don't actively try to create meanings for work based on the texts I read, but I let my brain take it easy with digesting, combining and assimilating things with what I read and the sculptures at hand. In this sculptural installation, that aforementioned intuitive connection was born between the My Little Pony TV series and toy figures and the right-wing populist movement. I used first generation My Little Pony figures as models for the sculptures. I handbuilt a herd of ceramic ponies whose withers vary in height from about 60-90 cm. The coloring of the ponies is created with engobes and glazes. Their manes and tails are horse hair and ponies have individual colored silk scarves as accessories. As a building material for the quintessential meanings embedded in the work, I familiarized myself with social psychology, political psychology, political communication, and political studies dealing with populism while making the ponies. The production part of this thesis has been on display in Huuto Gallery in Helsinki and in Art Centre Ahjo in Joensuu during summer 2022. Text part of thesis intends to show my artistic process where the assimilation of knowledge that functions as a builder of meanings goes hand in hand with the actual process of making the concrete artwork. This has been implemented in such a way that the text and the making of the work presented in pictures run parallel. My actual process is not that straight forward, but I found that this is best way to try to interpret it in this thesis.
Mäkelä, Maarit
Thesis advisor
Lautenbacher, Nathalie
Martikainen, Jari
sculpture, installation, ceramics, handbuilding, social psychology, political psychology, My Little Pony, popular culture
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