Ahti grew up in a very small village in rural Southern Estonia, surrounded by forests and meadows as far as the eye can reach. In a country where winters are unusually long, extremely cold and full of snow, flowers and the blossoming of nature traditionally have a strong meaning to all Estonians – any visitor to Estonia will quickly observe the particular love that Estonians have for flowers.
Ahti himself has been fascinated by flowers since he was a little child. At age five, he had his own cactus collection and his own section in the parents’ garden where he grew his own flowers. A childhood favourite pastime was to pick wild flowers in the woods and creatively decorate his parents’ house with them – and despite the Northern climate, Estonian nature is rich in rare and colourful flowers.
Ahti has more than 20 years of experience as a florist and participated in many competitions and contributed to numerous international publications. Still, the childhood days and his early experiences with the seasons and the nature of his country very much account for Ahti’s modern day work philosophy – on the one hand, the symbolism of cold, North, winter, ice and snow are fundamental attributes of his work, while on the other hand the richness and diversity of a Northern summer, where the sun almost does not set, and the beauty of detail that this kind of summer brings about, continue to inspire him.
I am determined to show that even though we are a small country, we still do bring about great creativity and design. And that despite our cold weather, as a people we are also quite fun to compete with.
In Ahti’s work though, it is more than the North, the twilight and the winter months which are the dominant theme. “Winter is an incredibly artistic time in Estonia generally”, Ahti stresses. “Personally, snow and ice stimulate my creativity, the cold brings about my emotions and helps me to focus on the essence of things. Apart from my work, I also do ice swimming in my free time, which strengthens your body and overall health. As you get out, you feel fresh and ten years younger!”