During my stay in Finland I worked on two different bodies of work: a series of very large drawings, which were exhibited at Teema Gallery in Vaasa, and Living of the Land, a project started a year earlier in Alberta, Canada. With this project I respond – as an artist - to discussions around finding alternative lifestyles that are closer to nature and less abusive of the environment. This is an ongoing project, where I examine the idea to replace store-bought food for edible plants that grow wild. I plan to explore different botanical habitats – and the project started in a semi-rural area in Western Canada and continued in high-alpine Utah (USA), and then in Finland. I filmed all my processes – collecting plants and fruits as well as preparing food from them. My residency in Finland started in August; and while in the beginning I was preparing green dishes from stinging nettles, dandelion greens, sorrel, oxalis and other greens, fall consisted of BERRIES. The freezer in the residency apartment was jam-packed with berries – not even a mouse could have squeezed in between the containers and freezer bags. During the last 2 weeks of the residency I was cooking, baking and otherwise processing these berries into all kinds of dishes, and then invited the local community for a Living of the Land get-together, where they could taste my dishes and take them home for their families.
You are welcome to explore my Finland Blog to find out more about my trip and about the Western Finnish environment around Vaasa, Soderfjarden Meteor Crater and Kvarken Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Blog also contains the recipes of the dishes I prepared from the berries I had collected.
For earlier Living of the Land projects, please check my installation Yes, you can eat them at Red Deer College, Alberta, Canada in fall 2011, and a video sample that documents the preparation of rosehip jam.