Eesti Elu
Holiday practicality in Tallinn Eesti Elu
Inimesed 11 Jan 2015  Eesti Elu
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Mihkel Männik (on the left) and Martin Saar, two of the three men behind the Tallinna Naha/töö/koda or leather workshop set up shop in Solarise keskus (centre) in midtown Tallinn for the entire month of detsember, showing off handmade items previously only seen and sold online. The mood was reminiscent of a päkapiku (elf’s) workshop and also quite familiar to anyone who has spent time at Jõekääru suvekodu camp north of Toronto decorating leather items with Endel Ruberg or Jaan Veenpere. People were invited to make their own võtme/hoidja (key chain) or badge bearing their name tasuta (for free; without paying a tasu, a fee) and with every purchase nime/tähed (initials) were also stamped on free of charge. The business's official English name is Tallinn Craftory and their website is They also have a facebook page and proudly advertise their wares as being 100% kohalik saadus, a 100% local product.

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A natural, local, handmade alternative to the silver heat-reflecting sise/tallad (insoles) we have all slipped in our winter footware, turba/tallad are made of turvas (peat) and vill (wool). The insoles resemble vilt (felt), in fact they have been made in the viltimise (felting) technique. Their package reads: Villa ja turba/kiu/segu vilt (felt made of a mixture of wool and peat fibres). Kiud = fibres. Turba/kiud soojendab, imab niiskust, on antiseptiline – Peat fibre retains heat, absorbs moisture (imama = to absorb) and is antiseptic. These beauties, designed and made by Liisa Kallam, can be purchased at the Emma Leppermann stuudio & pood in Tallinn's old town. Emma Leppermann ( and on Facebook) got its name from a famous variety of plum grown in Estonia for over a century. P.S. Vilt/saapad (felt boots) known as VILDID ("felts") are a type of age-old Russian (and most likely Finno-Ugric) winter footware made of moulded felt. To see modern examples go to (felt boots are valenki in Russian) and the Sorel boot company also makes felt liners.
Text and photos: Riina Kindlam, Tallinn
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