The Finnish raanu is a minimalistic woven textile, where both sides look the same. Mostly comprised of woolen fibres, textiles have clear rhythmic areas of color. The first raanus were made around the 8th century and were used as throws in sleds, boats and beds, and later on as tapestries. Today, new raanus are no longer made, but the hundreds of forgotten ones have found their way from the attics and cellars to upcycled interior design items.
Arctic Horizon, Sunset, Red Berries of the Rowan, Field Landscape, Midsummer Sun, Blue Winter Moment — most raanus have names inspired by nature, just like their color schemes.
The first raanus were naturally dyed, using mushrooms, tree bark and other dyes derived from nature, resulting in beautiful, earthy tones. At the peak of their revived popularity in the 70s, interior design did not hold back on colour, and brown and green walls were decorated with imaginative and bright raanus. At the time they were a popular wedding gift and heirloom with lots of sentimental value.
The raanu craze faded toward the end of 1980s and by 1990 nobody was making raanus anymore. Towards the end of 1980 the raanus created were often of an increasingly pastel colour palette — for me, it would be so interesting to see how the colour schemes and patterns would have evolved along taste lines into the 21st century. All things 70s and 80s seem to be having a resurgence at the moment. Perhaps this means the imminent return of the raanu?
Written by Minna Stubina, Selvedge Orders Coordinator
Members of our lovely Selvedge Magazine team have taken the time to write a blog post for us this festive season. It's thanks to all their hard work that we're able to do what we do. Cheers to them!