I am Kirsi Manninen jewellery designer and tai chi teacher from Finland. I come from a small place called Otava, which is the Finnish word for the constellation of Big Dipper. Tai chi is my lifestyle and it is part of my design which has happy and relaxed touch. Products are simple with a little twist, like the ring Otava where the constellation goes around finger. All products are made in Finland with grate care for the environment. The name Little Big Woman was given me by the recycle artist Matti Mattsson in year 2008 when we got to know each other.


Little Big Woman is a way of thinking where the most difficult tasks are always solved. As motto in my life I use the Audrey Hepburn’s quote

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’

Challenges are part of the development. Tai chi has thought me to think like this. Most important thing in learning tai chi and to progress in the path is to challenge yourself. This is also important in my creative design work. Without tai chi my design wouldn’t be so interesting.

Teaching tai chi is honour and I do it from my heart. Making jewellery is my way of express myself and tell stories.

My goal is to share my valuable knowledge forward. My vision is to make tai chi part of the heath care in my area and emphasize important subjects for me and environment.


With my design every product has an individual starting point. Sometimes the idea hits me like a lightning when I least expect it, sometimes the base is the material and the origin of it. Talking with important people and tai chi are the keys to open my deeper subconscious where the ideas live. My most important works are good examples and next I tell you about them.


Lake Järvi jewellery is a study of my first ever made jewellery before I had any idea that in future I’ll be a jewellery designer. Base for the design is a brooch I made in primary school to my grandmother in year 1995, witch is painted porcelain.

Uoma / Riverbed / brooch / glazed porcelain, gold leaf / 35x48x9 (mm)

I admire the spontaneous shape and brave colours in my childhood work and I explored the form afresh to porcelain. The form started to remind me of the surface of lake and the bottom of the lake and by working the material told me to use the colours of the water for the glaze.

My favourite Finnish late author Tommy Tabermann has one poem I chose to represent my Lake pieces, it subscribes well the power of water and the image of this design. It’s called “Small song about freedom”. The poem is about how the water is miraculous and natural as water. It has the great power to go through the smallest slit and it lives in us humans too.

Pieni laulu vapaudesta

Vapaus on käsittämätöntä ja luonnollista kuin vesi.
Vapaudella on veden voima tunkeutua pienimmästä raosta.
Pakkovaltojen purret hukkuvat matkalla näiden silmien poikki.
Vapaus asuu ihmisissä, ihmisissä puron kyky ja putouksen voima.

– T.Tabermann

The original brooch to my grandmother in year 1995

Otava (Big Dipper ring)

If you ask me to take you home now, I’ll take you to the stars.

Otava ring symbolizes the cosy feeling I have where ever I move.  The ring Otava ( big dipper) was in important part in the PULA exhibition where I was researching my roots in Otava. The idea for the ring came to me suddenly; I wanted to wrap a home around my finger, it was in year 2011.

The Big Dipper ring is like a first child of mine. If you have one piece you have piece of my heart.

The ring leads me and it symbolizes the universal connection. It is grate to hear customers stories how the constellation is important to them. The earth we share is our home and we should take care of it.

Riemukupla (Joy bubble) / Bronze Otava ring and hand blown glass by Paula Pääkkönen / PULA exhibition work from 2012


Mikaeli backpack’s baseline of the design is the material and the origin of it. The leather comes from the concert hall Mikaeli in Mikkeli. It is build in 1988 and the architecture is beautiful, designed by the professor Arto Sipinen. The couches where upholstered by local Vermiina Miina Montonen-Fehrmann from who I got the leather from. The building, environment and classical music inspires me and the design for the bag is born for the love to this place and the architecture.


Mikaeli backpack in Mikaeli’s upholstered couches.

All my products are made with happiness from my heart, thoughtfully and with respect of the nature. Castings are done by Kultataide Kari Laukka and the metals come from reliable K.A. Rasmussen. My workshop is in Otava near the road number 5 in Mikkeli, you are welcome to visit me!

My values and ideology


I’m happy from my heart and I’m pleased to spread it further with teaching tai chi and making sustainable jewellery. I teach and make jewellery by heart.


The most valuable thing in goblet or house is the empty space we benefit. Space, universe and emptiness are everyday wonder for me. Without the emptiness would be nothing. Immaterial fascinates me and I like to explore it. Emptiness represents also sustainability, I think carefully what jewelry I make and how I make it meaningful.


When you honour emptiness, existing material, environment and difference you can understand the inner beauty. I love to remake customers old jewellery and the material can be also other than silver, gold or other precious metals. I have turn old wedding rings in to necklaces for two daughters so that in closer look you can see the necklaces are made of rings.


To appreciate the environment, other people and opportunities I get good feeling. Being thankful and to show the appreciation to the material, I give my jewelry pieces a soul.


I’m open with my production and where my materials come from. All my jewelry are made in Finland, castings come from Kultataide and the rest of the work is done by me in Otava. Precious metals comes from Rasmussen. Leather is recycled, Mikaeli backpacks first edition leather is from concert hall Mikaeli couches that were upholstered by Vermiina.


When I vision something new to produce I think it through before I do it, but I always leave some space for the fortune. Fortune represents release witch as great value for health and it has special role in tai chi. Big vision and releasing are the keys to my happiness. I trust my intuition.

Broad mindedness

I jump in the unknown every now and then. Life is adventure and I can write the script and live how I write. Sometimes I get lost from the main path, but usually it has a good effect on me. Like when painting in some point little distance helps to see the big picture better. Everything is possible!