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Arts and Crafts

Galina Koddo’s painting of a windmill in a country setting. In the late 19th and early 20th century, artists of Estonian descent developed and perfected their trade by studying abroad, grasping all of Europe's eclectic artistic styles. In 1914, the Tallinn Arts and Crafts School was established, and it actively promoted modern art and artwork infused with nationalist sentiment. Colourful, romantic, and symbolic paintings were very popular during this time. Johan Koler and Amandus Adamson are credited with creating the Estonian national art movement. Some of the most popular artwork depicts the Estonian mythological character Kalevipoeg demonstrating various feats of strength. One such example, Kalevipoeg lauakoormaga (Kalevipoeg with Load of Boards), depicts the hero crossing Lake Peipsi, carrying a load of boards on his back in order to build a city.

 Decorative wooden plate of Tartu University in Estonia    by Calgary artist Galina Koddo. She used woodburning to create the scene. Members of Alberta's Estonian communities have drawn upon their Estonian roots and heritage, incorporating various themes into their own artwork. Estonian descendant Lea Ruus has knitted numerous garments based on Estonian knitting designs. The Koddo family has demonstrated its passion for art through portraits of various family members, picturesque scenes of Alberta's landscape. Of particular interest, Galina Koddo has recollected memories of Estonia through paintings and wood burning techniques of windmills in Saarema, sunsets in Tallinn, and colourful displays of Tallinn's Old Town.

A large traditional Estonian beer tankard. The annual harvest festival celebrates the successful completion of yet another farming season, but the harvest celebration was not complete without consuming litres and litres of homebrewed beer, served and consumed in wooden beer tankards displaying wonderful art and skillful hand-craftsmanship. Incorporating traditional symbols or figures into their carefully crafted artwork, highly skilled artisans began designing beer tankards as early as the 17th century. The tankard is structurally solid, built from diamond-shaped pieces of wood; the exterior of the tankard relays pleasing images, often of a natural landscape or mythological symbols. In short, the tankard incorporates functional woodcraft and an imaginative use of art into a single object. Hand-carved tankards are frequently referred to as the as king of Estonian woodcrafts.

Alberta's Estonian Heritage
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