Created while I attended the Raumars Artist Residency in Rauma, Finland, this series of collages, entitled ‘Ol Niingon Gotonas’, represent personal stories. It is always hard to describe what happens abroad, but I often explain it as trying to navigate through a fog of new customs, language, and norms. Finding a way to connect to your new hosts and surroundings comes in many unexpected and wonderful ways. The collages are built with many local materials including old magazines, acrylic paint, paper mill scraps, and lace. They pull from my own experiences and merge with stories shared by the wonderful people I met during my two month tenure in Rauma. Each has a unique story that inspired it.
The bay near the residency inspired one collage in the collection. Almost every night Mackenzie and I would walk down to the docks at Syvärauma Bay to watch the sunset. One night an unusual sound, like someone trying to start a boat motor, came from the distance. But as it came closer, I realized that it was a swan. Its wings moved the air with such force, that the sound echoed through the bay. Every time I told this story, locals would smile and remind me that Sibelius had the same experience and it was good luck.
A second collage in the collection takes from Finnish architecture. Like almost everyone does when visiting Rauma, I enjoyed taking photographs of the old houses- admiring the beautiful woodworking and craftsmanship that goes into each window casing. Rauma has the largest collection of old traditional wooden houses. One day, back in my neighborhood, I was taking a walk and accidentally caught a glimpse of a local coming out of the sauna through a window. I don’t need to tell you how Finns take a sauna, but it took me by such surprise that for the rest of the time I thought twice about looking in people’s windows.