Maija Järviniemi

Sensible Creatures: Researching Meditative Personality Traits in Materials

Sensible Creatures is Maija Järviniemi’s master thesis work for Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. In her work, she investigates meditative personality traits in materials through an original method of mixing a traditional artistic approach with contemporary user-involvement in textile design--which, conventionally has been viewed as a personal artistic discipline.

The thesis’ basis is the notion that people often use human-like personality traits to describe materials (van Rompay, 2005). These expressive traits, also known as ’meanings of materials’, explain how we experience and value materials (Karana et al, 2010).

By collecting data from users in a material workshop in the early phase of her textile design process, Järviniemi has researched what kind of material properties, emotions, interaction and context are linked to personality traits (e.g. enchanting, serene, rooted, wise, conscious…) which portray meditative experience.

The workshop findings have been interlaced into inspirational phrases, which form the conceptual foundation for designing experiential and nurturing textiles for both the mind and the body.

Phrases, such as ”humming hyper-nature hues”, ”soft-sinking curves” and ”blurred motion”, are crafted into raw but poetic textile sketches named Sensible Creatures. The sketches made with weaving and casting are Maija’s preliminary step towards working with her collected unique data. 

Maija Järviniemi is a Finnish, Helsinki-based designer and an enthusiast of materials and storytelling. She specializes in woven surfaces and conceptual work, both of which are often inspired by the oddity of human life.


Mira Järvinen