The physical land of Finland takes the shape of a woman with one arm held high. She is wearing a long, fluttering dress, and the nationals of Finland fondly call her ”The Maiden of Finland”. This year, Finland celebrates 100 years of independence. Finland is a beautiful land with a thousand lakes, long winters and mysterious Lapland with its northern lights. I wanted to create a special project as my personal centenary tribute to my home country.

Months ago, I had a vision of a dress made of ice. ”Impossible!” I thought at first. And, yes, it was almost impossible. But, after six months of planning and preparing, I made it happen by freezing 170 litres of water in milk cartons and creating an icy wall in the shape of a dress. The dress also includes the borderlines of Finland quite nicely, I must say. Nevertheless, creating a dress out of ice was not an easy task.

It took five months to collect all the empty milk cartons I needed. During the four days I boiled all the water to make the ice transparent and not cloudy. After that, I started to build. Building a dress out of ice was made layer by layer. After five days of building, creating and matching different kinds of ice cubes together, I saw an icy wall in front of me that actually looked like a dress. You should have seen my smile!

We shot the Ice Dress with my beautiful model Belinda and the crew on the 13th of February 2017. After one week of cold days, the weather turned around. The sun was shining brightly in the sky, and the temperatures outside were +5 degree celsius. The ice dress started to melt quickly! We had no time to waste. The ice cubes were falling down, but we lifted them up many times and continued to shoot. And we did it. We got the shots!

The dress did collapse entirely after two hours into the photoshoot. I stared at the pile of collapsed ice cubes and realized how close it was to failing. But it didn’t. We brought the ice dress to life. And it was made possible after so many phases of planning. This picture of our Maiden is dedicated to my beautiful country, my home, Finland.

More info:

ICE DRESS – The Maiden of Finland. Final picture

Borderlines of Finland

Behind the scenes

Concept, story, photos, editing and video: Suvi Sievilä
Model: Belinda Nieminen (@belinda_sofia)
Muah: Satu Sirelius
Music: Leena Julin
Aurora Borealis picture from Kuusamo: Mikko Halvari
Photoshoot assistant: Iina Maria Hirvonen

ICE DRESS – The Maiden of Finland. Behind the scenes story