Tiina Kukkonen is a local artist, researcher, and educator. She balances her time creating art and teaching at Queen’s Faculty of Education, the Kingston School of Art, and the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning.
“I love sharing my passion for art,” Kukkonen said in an interview with The Journal.
“I love seeing that spark occur in my students as well, particularly when they haven’t had a lot of exposure to art, and they create something that they’re really proud of.”
Kukkonen finds joy in teaching, where her passions for art and education intersect.
“[I’m] constantly learning things from my own students, as they’re creating art as well, particularly in the classes that I teach at Queen’s,” she said.
“Teaching is an art form in itself as well—a lot of my creative energy goes into planning lessons and workshops.”
In Kingston, Kukkonen is best known for her felt work, but she enjoys working with other art forms such as drawing, painting, printmaking, and mixed media.
“I’ve never been an artist that just says, ‘This is what I do, and nothing else,’” she explained.
Kukkonen is excited to share her love for working with felt and wool in her forthcoming felted landscapes workshop, happening on Nov. 10 at the Tett Centre. The workshop has already sold out.
Also sold out is her Dec. 8 workshop through the Kingston School of Art, where participants will make holiday ornaments using felt and cookie cutters.
Despite her passion for leading workshops, Kukkonen actually fell in love with felt long after her years spent in art school.
“I kind of forgot about it. And then, a few years ago, I was like, ‘Oh, that was fun. Maybe I should try that again,’” she explained.
“I just started doing it more and more, and it suddenly became [the] primary thing that I do now as an artist.”
Northern landscapes are often seen in Kukkonen’s work. Her Finnish background and her time spent in northern and rural Finland and Quebec are often sources of inspiration.
“I’ve just always loved that type of landscape, and I find I’m always going back to that in my artworks and finding a lot of inspiration through that,” she said.
Kukkonen is also featured in Art Noise’s ‘Show of Smalls,’ an art show featuring work from a variety of artists whose pieces have dimensions under eight-by-eight inches. The show will run from Nov. 5 to Dec. 24, with pieces available for purchase.
Looking ahead to 2022, Kukkonen plans to continue teaching at Queen’s and hopes to develop more workshops for the Kingston School of Art and the Tett Centre.
She’s also devoting time to a future art exhibition for the Tett Centre in Nov. 2022.
“[I’m] trying to juggle all these things, but I definitely am hoping to continue teaching the community and continue creating art,” she said.
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