Have you ever come across himmeli? I am so intrigued by the art of himmeli. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s is a Finnish art form consisting of elaborate symmetrical straw mobiles. Historically, Finnish and Swedish folks made himmeli out of dried rye straws from the final harvest of the year as a home for the crop spirit. Himmeli was originally displayed in homes from the winter solstice to the summer solstice (otherwise known as Midsummer). These structures would traditionally be blessed on the winter solstice and then burned at Midsummer. I made mine out of brass tubes not only for the obvious beauty but also because I wanted it to be durable so it could hold an air plant.
I grew up in a very Finnish part of Minnesota so it is no surprise that I found a treasure trove of information about himmeli from the Nordic Center in my hometown. The beauty of this art form is that it moves with the environment, shaping and re-shaping as life happens around it. I am in love with how it creates gorgeous shifts in light over the course of a day, casting ever-changing shadows.
My own aesthetic sense is definitely influenced by the spare, clean artistry of both the natural world and artist interpretations of my childhood. So, I finally decided to try my hand at himmeli. For a more modern twist, I use brass tubes and thought I would share my DIY so you can embrace your own bit of winter contemplation.
How To Create Himmeli:
+ Thin but sturdy cording thread cut into one piece 2 yards long and one piece 1 yard long (I used organic linen weaving yarn available here)
+ 4 brass tubes, 2mm wide and 130 mm long
+ 8 brass tubes, 2 mm wide and 30mm long (all sizes are widely available on Etsy, I got mine here)
This basic himmeli is very simple and meditative. It’s the perfect palette cleanser if you’ve recently finished working on a more complex project.
Start by threading one long brass tube, one short brass tube and another long one onto the 2 yard length of cord. Place them in the middle of the cord.
Tie the cord together tightly at the top to form an elongated triangle.
Using one end of the cord, thread on one long tube and one short tube.
Wrap the cord you just used around the bottom corner of the original triangle until it is relatively secure and holds the brass tubes tightly. Repeat for the other side of the cord.
Once again, wrap the cord around the bottom of the original triangle until it is secure. The result is three connected triangles with two dangling cords at the base.
Grab the one yard length of cord and thread a small brass tube through it. Tie each end to each side of the three triangle structure.
The result is a pyramid with four cords dangling from each corner base.
Lay it flat and from one of the base cords, thread on two small brass tubes and tie it to the nearest opposing corner as pictured below.
On the opposite side of the pyramid base, repeat this process to create a mirror image triangle.
Finally, clip all stray cords and use an excess length of cord to tie the two bottom triangles together.
You are done!
Mine is an incredibly simple structure. I strongly suggest looking into the amazing, elaborate versions out there. Eija Koski, a well known Himmeli artist, is pure inspiration and her approach is sure to inspire anyone.