April 29, 2017

Retrospective for Helle-Mall on Mothers Day – 13th May Sydney

Helle-Mall Risti is the ultimate example of an Estonian mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She has, successfully, brought up five children as Estonian-speaking citizens of Australia. They have given her many grandchildren, with great-grandchildren too many to count. It is, thus, appropriate that we celebrate her life’s achievements on the Saturday 13th May, the day before Mother’s Day at Eesti Maja. Besides, it will be her 86th birthday on the 2nd of May. The Mother’s Day celebrations will commence at 1pm and will include performances by the littlies as well as the grown-up’s choir and folk-dancing.

helle-mall knitting

Helle-Mall is an Estonian stalwart who has achieved success in many aspects of her life. Early in her life she made the support of Estonian society in Australia as one of her main goals. Her interest in the Girl Guides led to her helping to set up and lead that organisation in Sydney. She was an active dancer and an important member of the mixed choir. Her deep interest in all forms of Estonian craft, particularly in Estonian knitting and embroidery led her to help start up the S.E.S. Kunsti- ja Käsitööring in 1979. Twenty-five years later she edited the jubilee magazine describing the activities and successes of the Association. Her deep sense of social justice, particularly in the development of the Estonian community from the status of refugees and displaced persons to full, active, independent citizens made her participate and support all activities of the Eesti Selts. In all of these activities she gave her utmost, but she refused to take a leadership role, always working quietly, providing guidance and support to others. She gave tirelessly of her time for many years editing and putting together the newspaper “Meie Kodu” when it was printed weekly.


It is with the knowledge of Helle-Mall’s achievements that Kunsti- Käsitöö- ja Etnograafiaring wishes to celebrate and demonstrate a small part of Helle-Mall’s creations – her wonderful knitting of Haapsalu shawls and scarves, her embroidery, particularly of Muhu floral blankets and pillows, folk-costume blouses and, then, her culinary skills by recreating some of her recipes from the K&Kring’s cookbook : “Austraalia Eestlaste Lemmiktoite”. Examples of some dishes will be available for tasting e.g.. her famous chicken-liver pasteet.

Come join us at the SES Emadepäeva festivities and admire the retrospective exhibition of Helle-Mall Risti’s knitwear and embroidery.The members of Kunsti- Käsitöö- ja Etnograafiaring will be there to proudly show her work and explain when and how it was made.

Külliki Poole

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Filed Under: Arts & Music, General News

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