October 22, 2021

Tuomo Rantanen, Veistoksia ja muuta rautaa / Sculptures and other creations from iron

pictures courtesy of Sophie Lepetit,
from her weblog
The house pictured above, with some iron sculptures in close proximity, is located in Punkalaidun, a small municipality of around 2800 inhabitants, south-west of the city of Tampere, in Central and Western Finland's lake area. 

The creator of the sculptures, non-professional artist Tuomo Rantanen, lives here with his wife Laila.

Life and works

Tuomo Rantanen, nicknamed "Tumppi", born in 1963, had to quit his job in 1995 because he was afflicted with a rare cervical dystonia, a disease in which the muscles in the neck and shoulder are excessively tense and the head usually turns to one side. It is a disease for which there is no curative treatment and Rantanen is currently still suffering from it.

A man with an open and warm attitude towards all people, Rantanen decided not to give up and,  encouraged by his wife Laila, he focused on making iron sculptures.

Having been doing this for more than 25 years now, Rantanen has meanwhile made a dizzying number of creations, many hundreds of small-scale sculptures, a creative production of which the images in this text give a limited impression. 

By being active in a creative way Rantanen constantly renews himself, both physically and mentally, and as a result of his activity he comes into contact with a variety of people.

In the workshop at his home in Punkalaidum, Rantanen processes all kinds of scrap iron, such as old car parts, pieces of sheet metal and disused iron cans and barrels. To process these materials and transform them into artworks, in terms of equipment little more is needed than hand tools, a welding machine and a vice. Because of his handicap, Rantanen prefers to work seated on his knees.

He creates works of art to amuse people with the elaboration of his ideas in which he is inexhaustible. His creations usually radiate something beautiful, something hilarious or something good-natured, and on top of that they are also weatherproof ..... 

Rantanen easily contacts with all kinds of people and organizations.

For example, it has been mentioned that he is happy to coach a group of children when they meet at the local library to make Christmas decorations.

He also has contacts with regard to participating in exhibitions, especially in Pirkanmaa, the area where he lives. In recent years, for example, his work has been shown at an exhibition in Porttikallio, a municipality neighboring his hometown Punkulaidum. 

In 2018 his creations were exposed in the Finnish Workers' Museum Werstas in Tampere, about 65 km north-west of Punkulaidum as the crow flies.

At a summer 2017 exhibition in Aaka, about 50 km east of Rantanen's hometown, it happened that a sculpture called Sammak (pictured above right) was molested. He was able to repair the damage, as he tells and shows in the first video in the documentation below.

* Article (2018) on website Aarteet ja Löydot
* Weblog of Sophie Lepetit with pictures and informative texts  
An interview (June 2018) of Hanna-Mari Kamppikoski with Rantanen on the Facebook account of the municipality of Punkalaidum

Video about the Sammak sculpture by Maaseudun Sivistysliitto (January 2018, YouTube, 2'43")

* Another video by Maaseudun Sivistysliitto (2017, YouTube, 4'13") showing Rantanen at work in his workshop

Tuomo Rantanen
Sculpture garden
Punkalaidun,  Pirkanmaa, Central and Western Finland
visitors welcome on appointment

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