I'm Laura Mirjami
The creator, designer, writer and maker of Bilberry Woods.
I draw a lot of my inspiration from my childhood in Finland and the whole of Scandinavia.
As I was growing up in Finland, I learned to sew with my mum and how to fish with my dad. I rescued injured birds that crashed into our windows and nursed them back to health. The bird nursery was daddy’s black shoe lined with cotton wool and dad might have sworn a bit when he didn’t find the other pair of his shoes, but then again he swore a lot anyway, even my older sister’s first words were swearing, can you imagine my mum’s horror!
I rescued other animals too as well as birds. Well, anything that looked like they could be nursed a bit, healthy or not comes to think about it. Once I even looked after caterpillars. They seemed to enjoy the hospitality as much as caterpillars could.
I also once rescued a red baby squirrel with my sister and my cousin. I've never seen a baby squirrel before or since, but this little fellow had lost his parents and was starving. He came to us while we were playing on Granny’s terrace and we captured him. That doesn’t sound very nice, and he was not happy about it at first, but he was in bad shape, and he soon settled into his cage, slept for two or three days, only getting up to eat and when he finally woke up properly we let him go. He was totally tamed! From then on he would sleep in the trees and come and play with us every day during that summer. He didn’t come back the following summer, but I like to think he lived happily ever after and who knows perhaps he even set up a little hairdressing salon in the woods like Hemingway the Squirrel!
It is not only my childhood that inspires me, but I just love the clean Nordic lines and seemingly simple forms. Like the great Danish designer Kay Bojensen once said: “lines need to smile” as he was creating wooden toys that he wanted to be round, soft and have a good feel to them and that is what I am hoping to achieve with my work. Most of my design don’t even have arms and legs which I like to think invites you to use your imagination more, and that must only be a good thing.
And there are other designers/brands too dear to my heart, some that have been a big part of my childhood and to name a few: Marimekko, Iittala and Alvar Aalto. And then last, but not least there are two remarkable women that I try to live up to every day: Margaret Steiff who’s legacy in teddy bears and other soft toys in this world is beyond belief and Beatrix Potter who must be my biggest hero of all time.
And then there is magic that I just have to mention. I believe that if you let your imagination run free and never accept the world for what you just hear or see, you’ll discover how everything truly comes alive. Lewis Carroll once wrote: “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality” and let's face it, sometimes reality is harsh and I think that we all need a bit of magic and quirky little things in our lives that will inspire us and delight us.