I am Henriikka Leppänen, ceramics designer, maker and artist from North Karelia, Finland. I make sculptures of self gathered natural clay and air out my mind to my sketchbook.

I spent my childhood in Tohmajärvi, in the middle of the forest, right on the eastern border. I have always liked to be in nature, grub in the mud and explore my surroundings. I have learned to make handicrafts since I was little. Now I live and work in Joensuu.

Making art is a way of existing for me. Through art I strive to accept myself as I am. Strict rules and striving for perfection are constricting. We have lumps, cracks, and dents that tell a story of the life we have lived. Perfection is rarely interesting, and I see beauty in the unpolished

I get very inspired by all sorts of small strange-looking plants. In forests I observe the textures of tree trunks, moss, lichen, and small mushrooms. The miniature world in the undergrowth truly fascinates me. The sense of great wonder takes over my mind; oh, what sorts of peculiar plants and creatures there are!

I would like to encourage people to think about nature connectedness and their attitude towards themselves. Is there a way to be kinder to yourself and let go of expectations, demands, and critical attitude? I would like to increase the understanding of a sensitive person's emotional world that often goes unnoticed. I want to encourage empathy towards other people, even those who are difficult to understand.

Clay is a very expressive material and handling it is very therapeutic. I have a strong connection to nature; in my childhood I often played with clay and liked to grub in the mud. Clay is a grounding element that balances a sensitive person's rich inner world and keeps them from having their head in the clouds too much. Clay material is above all a tool with which I make my inner world visible. I feel better when I can experiment, explore, create, work with my own hands, and learn through trial and error.