I always feel it so important to mark the end of a journey. Either by an event, a gathering of people or just some self reflection. Here at AARK we decided to host an Open Studio, to share our work, experiences and thoughts on the residency. Titled ‘One of the most essential things one needs to walk on the archipelago islands is a reflector’ this was a chance for us to think back on work and residency life.
For me it was my end point, for my residency mate Sif it was her midway point, and for Renja (who runs AARK along with her husband Benkku) it was part of her ongoing reflection. We welcomed many visitors throughout the afternoon to discuss art and life on Korpo and it gave everyone a chance to have a good look around the residency space.

Having an end goal (albeit a relaxed one) helped me to pull together some last pieces and think about how this new body of work sits together. It is definitely daunting to show work that is still very much a work in progress but the feedback I received was fantastic and it gave me some real confidence to keep pushing the pieces forward.

'Tools' 2016. Acrylic and gloss medium on board. 22x16cm
‘Tools’ 2016. Acrylic and gloss medium on board. 22x16cm
Colour Studies
Works in progress

I’ve been doing a lot of painting whilst here in the archipelago which I’ve really enjoyed focussing on again. I may have studied painting at art school but my practice has mostly been considered with materiality. Being away from my usual studio I haven’t had my big stash of materials to play with, this has really pushed me to think in another way and start considering my work from a fresh perspective.

Hand stitched archipelago map – naturally dyed with forest flora and fauna


For our Open Studio AARK founder Renja exhibited part of her new work ‘Islands’ and a video titled ‘Feeding Tree’
See more of her work here –

If you’d like to read more about AARK and the space take a look at the website – I definitely recommend coming here if you’d like some time to think, experiment, and learn from a beautiful island and landscape.

Sif (who’s work you can see here – was exhibiting some smaller works in progress that she will continue to develop over the next month at AARK.

I’m thankful I chose to come here for two months and particularly September and October, the first month was very sunny and fuelled by exploring and taking in the landscape. The month of October was a lot more focussed on making work and trying to translate all my experiences into pieces. I watched as Autumn took hold and turned all the colours of the archipelago into a wonderful palette of rich yellows and deep browns. Just last week there was the first frost here in the archipelago – this seemed like a momentous day in my mind.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Over 2trips I have spent 8months in total living in Finland and managed to experience part of every season here. This country has once again taken a huge piece of my heart.
My art practice takes me all over the world and allows me to experience different cultures and landscapes as part of my making process. Since I live and make work in a remote location anyway, having the time to go on residencies and meet other artists with a similar mindset is so valuable. On that note, if any of you lovely readers have residencies in mind (particularly on islands/remote locations) that you would like to share I would love to hear from you. If you’ve had a valuable residency experience yourself, know an artist who has been to one or even have just heard about an interesting space, please do drop me an email and let me know –

For now though I am trying to take in and memorise my surroundings as I reluctantly start the process of packing my studio and preparing to head back to Shetland. Bitter sweet. It will be exciting to return to ‘my island’ as everyone calls it here, I am starting a new job (eek), will be very busy preparing for two exhibitions, one solo and one group, and I will also be starting a series of arts workshops in Shetland care settings.
Its all go – wish me luck!

One thought on “ Finland Reflections ”

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