A one week residency in Varjakka, Finland. The residency was an opportunity to develop my artwork and in exchange I contributed to the community with a public workshop and exhibition. The island Varjakansaari, just off the coast of the Varjakka marina, used to be the centre of the lumber industry in the Oulu area in the 19th and early 20th century. Some of the old buildings remain and have been refurbished for public use. A local guide showed me the island and told me its history.

During the residency I lived and worked in a small traditional Finnish fishing hut at the marina overlooking Varjakansaari.

Throughout the residency I investigated the history of the logging industry in the Varjakka area and its relationship to the people. I gathered pigments from the island of Varjakansaari and the area surrounding the heritage sights. Plants, soil, abandoned machinery, and debris from razed buildings were used to create paints and inks.

The Workshop

After one week of producing photographs, audio recordings, and drawings, a community workshop was held on the island in the old manager’s estate house. The 20 participants accessed the island by a human powered cable ferry. In the workshop I gave a talk about the importance of place and material. The participants were then invited to make drawings with the paints and inks I made from the local materials. An article was published in the local paper about the event.