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Sielulintu – Soul Bird 2

Jennifer Cooper


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Sielulintu – Soul Bird 2

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In the heart of the Finnish tradition lies the enigmatic Sielulintu - the Soul Bird. Within its terra cotta confines, this ancient symbol transcends mere representation, embodying the very essence of Finnish folklore and heritage. Adorned with intricate geometric folk art motifs, each stroke of the brush whispers tales of ancestral wisdom and cultural identity, weaving a tapestry of meaning that resonates deeply with the soul of its beholder. The significance of Finnish Folk Art permeates every facet of the Sielulintu, serving as a conduit between past and present, tradition and innovation. Rooted in centuries-old practices, these geometric designs speak a universal language, transcending borders and boundaries to evoke a sense of belonging and connection to the rich tapestry of human experience. Through the lens of Finnish folklore, the Soul Bird becomes a vessel for storytelling, carrying with it the echoes of ancient myths and legends that continue to shape the collective consciousness. As the artist behind each Sielulintu creation, my intention is to breathe new life into age-old traditions, infusing them with a contemporary sensibility that speaks to the complexities of modern existence. In honoring the legacy of Finnish Folk Art, I pay homage to those who came before me, while also forging a path forward, where tradition and innovation coalesce in a harmonious dance of creativity and expression. In the presence of the Sielulintu, one cannot help but feel the weight of history and the promise of possibility. It is a reminder that we are all part of a larger narrative, bound together by the threads of time and culture. With each Soul Bird that takes flight, a piece of Finnish folklore is preserved, ensuring that its timeless wisdom continues to inspire and enrich generations to come.

5.5"H × 5.5"W × 5"D
Folk Art
Terra Cotta, Black underglaze and black cone 6 glaze


There is something uniquely human about making art out of clay. As one of the oldest art materials in human history, I have been drawn to the material and absolutely obsessed with it since my first pottery class at the age of 10. The feeling of fresh clay between my fingers and the endless possibilities have my brain in a constant state of wonder. I enjoy moving through all of the stages of the process like a dance that is similar but ever changing in the result. For me, the process of making is as important as the product because of the therapeutic calm that it serves my being. I am always thinking about touch. As my work is created to be used daily and serves a specific purpose to bring joy and comfort to the task that it has been created for. How does the piece feel when held, how will the work entertain, comfort or please the user; are constant questions that spiral through my thoughts through the entire process of making. These questions, paired with the never ending possibilities of surface, keep my work in a consistent evolution that responds to motifs of social justice, objects of comfort, and culturally diverse repeated patterns. As part of my continued exploration of the material, I use several different clay bodies that span in color from deep brown to bright white. The way that patterns and surface techniques respond to these different canvases is strikingly different and creates a different experience depending on the clay body chosen. A porcelain mug yields a delicate bright white canvas that backlights whatever glaze or color is applied onto its surface, while the deep brown clay is usually left partially unglazed for the user to interact with its naturally rich texture. As I waiver between clay bodies and surface decoration, my work is cohesive within the themes of texture, imagery and form which provides a diverse body of work that is cohesive while each piece is individual. Each piece is thought through from foot to lip and edge to curve making sure that the experience of the user is enjoyable and specific, keeping them coming back for more.

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