Archive for March, 2010

Finland update

As Finland comes out of its long dark winter towards spring, the sunshine has put everyone in a good mood and I’ve had no problem in finding people willing to be photographed doing their chosen activity on the frozen lakes.

I’m steadily working my way around the ice swimming holes in and around Jyväskylä and with uncannily good luck have found people swimming at all of them and willing to be photographed.  I’ve been shooting on film so photos will have to follow later as nowhere here processes 120 film – I haven’t met a single photographer here who uses film either.  Luckily my digital back has highlighted another technical lesson learnt: don’t try to wedge your tripod leg in a pile of snow as it very slowly slips and all the pictures are shaky – in fact I’ve gone back to hand holding because every surface is either snow or ice.  However, the tripod makes a handy snow depth gauge!  Also don’t trust a bus driver to tell you when to get off either…

Despite the generally sunny weather there has been a few inches of snow and it soon cools off in the evening – on my way back from Vuorilammen sauna and ice swimming spot at 6pm it was already minus 10!  Heading back there this weekend to do some more portraits in this stunning location.

Spending all this time on the lakes, I’ve been fascinated how the division between the land and water has disappeared.

The sauna and swimming opens at 3pm today so I had a short time this morning to make a visit to Köhniönjärvi where there is an ice swimming place but this year it is not in use, the old ladies in the area liked to use it but it has been closed due to vandalism.  About 12cm of snow fell last night and early this morning and then it started to rain so it wasn’t the easiest trip by bus and the lake was deserted.

Vuorilammen sauna ice swimming hole

Vuorilammen sauna ice swimming hole


March 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm 1 comment

The first few days

Thursday 11 March

I’m in the flat. There’s no television on.  There’s no happy 4 year old child. There’s no internet.  I can hear traffic and its raining.  I’ve started knitting some socks but I’m thinking about the residency at the same time.

It’s taken us almost two days to get here with an overnight in Helsinki. It’s cold but not as cold as I expected and its started to rain.  There are big piles of dirty snow everywhere.

I wanted to get off the train all the time to take pictures.

I’m here with Debby who is also part of the Connections North project but she goes back next week and I’ll be here alone.  We both want to get started and it seems its taken an age to get here.

Sunday 14th March

The frozen lakes have not disappointed.  I spent yesterday at Jyväsjärvi which is the nearest lake to the printmaking centre, just over the railway line.  I suppose you could describe it as an urban park as its surrounded by housing. It has a specially made ice skating track and the rest of the lake is used by ski-ers, dog walkers and as a shortcut from the houses on the otherside into town.

Today, I spent the morning at Tuomiojärvi, a much quieter lake north of the town in a residential area.  The main draw was to check out the ice swimming spot, there were a few people braving the water but I couldn’t get close enough to talk to them as it had a private entrance.  I then spotted a few ice fishermen on the otherside of the lake, I think its going to take a while to get used to walking across the lakes – there’s probably around 10 inches of snow on top of the ice so every now and then your leg disappears and you think that’s it! Its also proving a bit technically tricky with all that white stuff in the frame.

On Friday, I had visited the ice swimming office in town and they had told me that there was a special sauna and swimming spot open this afternoon at Tikkakosken, about 20 km north of Jyväskylä in a military zone.  Debby and I only had one swimming costume between us so I very graciously (!) forwent the experience in favour of taking photos.  It was a beautiful spot and the three older women who didn’t speak a word of English were happy to be photographed, thank goodness for the letter Anna-Leena had written for me…  It’s got a lot colder and is snowing again today.

March 14, 2010 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment


Between 10 and 24 March, I will be undertaking the first part of Connections North, International Residency Exchange Project in Jyväskylä, Central Finland organised by Art Connections and funded by Arts Council England.

Situated in Finland’s lake district, I will be based at the Jyväskylä Printmaking Centre and working on a project exploring the landscape and leisure activities of the frozen lakes. Although this could all change once I am there! I will then return to Jyväskylä to complete the residency in late May.

The other artists taking part in the project are Debby Moxon (jeweller), Sally Greaves-Lord (textile artist) and Paul Clifford (printmaker).

March 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm Leave a comment

Welcome to my blog where you can find news about my latest projects, exhibitions and publications. If you would like to see an archive of past work please go to my website

Home Work will be published by Dewi Lewis in July 2010

Cover of Home Work by Tessa Bunney