Selja Ojanne

Selja Ojanne is an artist and designer whose concept often determines material, thus leading to a collection of work ranging from textile techniques of felting, weaving, and soft sculpture, to woodworking and ceramics, and a return to acrylic and mixed media paintings. Playing with unconventional treatments and uses, the work encourages contemplation of material tradition and departure from it. A common thread among works is sense of place and emphasis on unique color combinations, tactile impact, and pattern. Allowing retro influences, kitsch, and a youthful playfulness into her aesthetic, the work is always bold and eye-catching. Holding each piece to a high standard, her meticulous craftsmanship results in a polished end product.

Textile bodies of work include Cruelty Free Sheepskins, and Walls, which play on the role of fibers and fiber techniques, bringing to life the personas of other materials in a particular textile manifestation. Cruelty Free Sheepskins take on the silhouette of a traditional sheepskin hide, but are hand felted entirely of wool roving and create warmth through textile means, rather than animal skin, while displaying nostalgic and colorful patterns on their surface. The Walls series utilizes soft sculpture reliefs to depict traditional architectural techniques, creating a theatrical façade via contemporary wall hangings.

Other series include Games You Live With and Bermuda Triangle Project, both of which comment on our detachment from concrete hands-on interactions and transactions. The interactive nature of Games You Live With provides real world engagement with lawn game inspired pieces used by participants to play improvised games on a hand woven rug, which acts as the playing field. Bermuda Triangle Project metaphorically represents the difficulty of making one’s place in the world when trying to seize opportunities and make connections. These paintings create a festive and colorful tableau of repeated shapes drawing attention to the lack thereof in a triangle shaped void, which is recurrent, in precise dimensions, within each painting.

Always fascinated by the idea of living a simple life, utopian ideals often find their way into her work. The heyday of crafts, a primitive life on a deserted tropical isle, plant and animal life, general happiness and comfort of people, and inviting spaces to be in, are all sources of inspiration.

Originally from Finland (born 1981), with an upbringing in Minnesota, and several years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Selja Ojanne now works and resides in Austin, TX. She received her BFA in Studio Art, with Departmental Honors, from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2004, followed by an MFA in Applied Craft & Design granted jointly through Pacific Northwest College of Art and Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2011.

Please send a message via the contact page if interested in purchase, commission, or other creative projects. Selja would love to hear from you!

Exhibitions/ Public Works/ Recognition

  • East Austin Studio Tour Bolm Studios, Austin, TX. November 14-15 & 21-22, 2015
  • DUE EAST Big Medium at 1501 E. 4th St., Austin, TX. November 5, 2015
  • Here: The 2014 BAC Artists Annual Part I Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA. November 15- December 14, 2014
  • Collect! Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA. October 18-25, 2014
  • 360 Magazine article featuring Games You Live With (Via Untitled Magazine) October 2013 article
  • Bedford Gallery Craft Fest Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA. November 3, 2013
  • Tina Produce Opening Swarm Studios, Oakland, CA. May 2013
  • SFMOMA Staff Craft Sale SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA. December 2012
  • WIX Holiday Pop Up Wix Lounge, San Francisco, CA. December 10, 2011
  • Games You Live With Woonwinkel, Portland, OR. August 1- September 30, 2011 article
  • Portland Monthly Trophy Case Featured artist. September 2011 article
  • WIX art opening Wix Lounge, San Francisco, CA. August 4, 2011
  • Make Way MFA Applied Craft & Design Practicum Exhibition. Galleria, Portland, OR. May-June 2011
  • Games You Live With Solo show. Allied Works, Portland, OR. May 2011
  • MFA ACAD Show Bison Building, Portland, OR. December, 2010
  • Crafty Wonderland Pop-up Shop Window Design Portland, OR. November-December 2010
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art Fundraising Gala Event Left Bank Annex, Portland, OR. May 2010
  • MFA ACAD Show Bison Building, Portland, OR. May, 2010
  • NAAEE Conference Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR. October 7-10, 2009
  • Seasonal Sellout Show Garbageman Astronaut Gallery, Portland, OR. December 2009
  • MFA ACAD Show Bison Building, Portland, OR. December 15, 2009
  • SFMOMA Annual Staff Art Show San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA. 2007
  • SFMOMA Annual Staff Craft Sale San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA. 2007
  • Selected Works from UMD Italian American Festival Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN. 2004
  • FIRED BFA Final Exhibiton. Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN. December 2003