As most children, while growing up Pia Blomström was changing her mind about what she wanted to become many times.
But every time one thing was for sure – whatever it was, it had to do something with fur.
‘’My father was a fur farmer, and after high school I decided that I want to work with fur, but I have no idea how to do it,’’ says Pia.
The search for the right career takes her across the entire value chain of fur.
‘’I even applied to work in a dressing and dyeing company because I was coming from an art school and I could work with colours, but they didn’t accept me. I would have loved it. After that, I started at Pietarsaari with a practical course and became a furrier.’’
Even after the shift from farming to the fur craft, Pia’s search for the dream job was not over.
‘‘After the furrier education I was asked to start teaching, and then I began studying again to become a vocational teacher. This is where I felt most comfortable and I simply fit in better.’’
Now Pia is the leader of the one of the world’s most renowned education programmes specialised in fur at Centria University in Finland.
‘’We started a long time ago. In the 1990s we had big plans for the fur institute at Pietarsaari. We had furrier education and when we were thinking how to come up with something new and different, we decided to go for design and marketing.’’
Almost thirty years on, the curriculum teaches students not only to design fur fashion but also to create and advertise their products.
‘’It is important to remember the manufacturing, and the skills, not only the design. They are closely linked together – if you don’t know anything about the skills, you cannot design using your full potential. Fur skills and design go hand in hand especially if you want to be a successful furrier.’’
Despite many young designers attending the course every year, Pia admits that companies still worry about lack of enough skilful workforce in the future.
‘’The designers need to be qualified and to know the entire process – from designing to manufacturing and to marketing of the product. This is what we try to get with our course.’’
Bringing to life different projects every time, Pia and her students decided to have different take on fur with their latest collection. Called ‘’Home, Sweet Home’’, it explores the versatility of the material and shows how it fits into interior design. To develop the collection, students also worked together with the tutors Basil Kardasis and Lis-Marri Jansson.
‘’It was challenging to channel the creative energy of these individual minds into one direction. You have to inspire them, and they need to have their own ideas but you also have to drive them to the process, so it all work together as a collection,’’ explains Pia.
The collection includes armchairs, curtains, blankets, and cushions, and incorporates Blue Fox fur as a main fabrics that embodies the feeling of home comfort and warmth.
Now Centria University has opened the next call for applications until the middle of May. The course ‘’Fur – The Miracle Fabric’’ consist of two modules ‘’What Is Fur – The Basics’’’ and ‘’Advanced Skills’’. Find more information about the content of the modules and the application form at https://web.centria.fi/fur.