Joensuun Taitokortteli is home to the Taito Shop of Taito North Karelia, 18 enterprises in the crafts sector and Café Kauppaneuvos, which offer their services to approximately 250 000 visitors yearly. This agile cultural operator also serves tourists at Joensuu Airport, and has stores in Tohmajärvi, Lieksa and Ilomantsi. Next summer, looms will be in action where people are – and most certainly at the top of Koli Hill.

– The idea is to promote and preserve crafts skills, and to shape them to the needs of today’s people. It is lovely to see how many young people we have managed to attract to crafts, says Executive Director of Taito North Karelia (link in Finnish) Tuija Tekin – one of the first women in Finland to digitise crafts. A computer was in charge of the loom, and the warp yarns were lifted at the push of a button.

We create new places and ways for crafts enthusiasts and people enjoying the atmosphere to meet up

Cooperation with educational institutions and theses

The crafts club attracts both young persons and adults. The idea is to meet up in a group of like-minded people interested in crafts. Tuija Tekin is pleased about the fact that young international students have found their way to the get-together spiced up with music and snacks.

– It is nice to watch young men knitting woolly caps for themselves. Taitokortteli is a marvellous place – we create new places and ways for crafts enthusiasts and people enjoying the atmosphere to meet up.

Taito North Karelia is also an important partner of the educational institutions in the region. Now that the craft teacher education in Joensuu is even stronger than before, the crafts people are busier than ever.

– Joensuun Taitokeskus is a well-equipped supplier of crafts materials serving the University of Joensuu, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Riveria. We also offer guidance and internship opportunities for students.

Experiences for tourists

Joensuu Airport is a gateway to the world. Taito North Karelia also serves the arriving and departing customers at the gate.

– We fund crafts instruction on a business basis. For that reason, Taito Shop and the restaurants in Taitokortteli and at the airport are important.

The business perspective is strongly rooted in Tekin’s thinking: in addition to being educated as a teacher of crafts and design, as well as a textile designer, she has also gained years of entrepreneurial experience. Next, this business woman of crafts will combine crafts with tourism in a new way.

– We will go where the tourists are and take our looms with us. Tekin has ordered 22 portable looms to provide tourists a climax of their trip at the top of Koli Hill. Tourism entrepreneurs from the inspiring Karelian atmosphere of Ilomantsi are the first cooperative partners in experience tourism.

The national and 110-year-old Taito Group has selected weaving as the technique of the year 2019. This is fine for the North Karelians, who have 65 traditional looms in addition to the portable ones.