It takes one creative visionary man to reinvent the village
Professional cooperative, community of artists and craftsmen, neighbours, friends - how is it possible to combine them in just one place? Only if all of them are the same people. Welcome to the first artists village just 1 hour away from Helsinki. It doesn’t require a good eye for detail to feel how this place naturally breathes out its history on every visitor passing by. The village was originally built to cover the needs of a big production company of tools and ironware that has shared its brand name with it. By 1990 the company had moved its manufacturing out to the nearby cities and abroad, prompting villagers to move. Ingmar Lindberg, the vice president of Fiskars company, offered artists from all over the country to inhabit empty buildings and adopt them for their needs. But before that it was a selection of a professional committee to pass. Until recently coming to Fiskars to live and work was a challenge - you had to be a renowned artist or practitioner with a strong portfolio and clientele to be able to make a living from your work.
To describe the feel of the place in one word - it would be quietness. It's when you get out of the house at any time of the day and not meeting anyone, at least it's very true for the winter season. The house of an artist in residency stands right on top of the hill offering a view unfamiliar to a regular city resident. From the surface nothing seems to be moving, but to dig up a little deeper and hidden from outsiders, cultural and social life would shine through. It's surprising how busy can be the daily routine of a small village - tonight it's a loud home party, and the morning after collective fishing on the crisp frozen lake with painters, ceramicists, blacksmiths, architects, glass-blowers and jewellers all together (to name just a few). The process of getting to know each other in Finland takes a long time but when trust is granted, it's as strong as family bonds. In fact, the attitude "trust - the Nordic gold" is noticeable in every aspect of life here.
The facilities of the studio which is located right below the porch are simple and adoptable for various creative practices. For those who like to travel light there is a whole shelf filled with art supplies of every colour and taste left after previous artists in residency. The rough cement floor and few sockets with portable electric stove were all I needed to complete my art goal for the month. Running back and forth from freezer to stove with leaking frozen prints, the last thing I wanted to worry about was the cleanliness of the floor. Creatives just need to get dirty sometimes and it's great that there are places where they are highly encouraged to do so.
Fiskars is all about work and life balance, there is no one here who doesn’t work hard but every single minute of that work is a bliss followed by joy of living in nature. It gives you hope that art and life can get along really well.
Deadline for next year AIR is due to 20th October