Thursday, 7 July 2011

Oslo, Drammen and Larvik

Our train arrived in Norway in the later afternoon; we did a quick food shop and headed straight to the hostel for an early night.

The next morning the weather wasn’t so great, so we decided to use a spare day we had on the Interrail card to explore a little further out of the city. First we took a 30min train ride to Drammen - a city on the riverbanks with a nice shopping area and market square. Luckily the weather was much nicer here! After walking round for a little while we took another train to Larvik, 2 hours south, on the coast above Denmark.  The train ride there passed through mountains, fjords, rivers and forests; it was amazing! We spent another couple of hours walking round this town before getting the train back to Oslo.  

On our second full day in the city we visited the National Gallery, the Museum of Architecture, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Decorative Art and Design. These are all part of the ‘National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design’, but placed in different buildings across the city centre. This meant we got to view a lot of the city on the walk between sites, which was good!

Our final full day in Oslo was very rainy, we walked to the other side of the city to visit the Sculpture Park and City museum, and spent a little longer in the town centre, before getting an early night for our train the next day!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


On Saturday we took the train from Copenhagen over the sea into Sweden and up to Gothenburg.  We got to see a lot of Swedish landscape on the 4-hour train journey, which was really nice. After arriving, we spent the evening in a nearby park having a picnic-tea before heading for an early night.

The next morning we headed over the city museum for a few hours, before taking a ride on the Gothenburg Ferris wheel, overlooking the entire city and harbour.  After dinner we visited the maritime museum, the best bit being their aquarium! The weather was so hot this day we tried to spend most of our time indoors! Although despite this, we both ended up pretty sunburnt in various unfortunate places…

The next day we got a tram to the coastal town of Saltholmen. From here we took a ferry out to Asperö, the closest island on the Southern Gothenburg Archipelago. This island was so surreal; tiny wooden houses built on top of each other on narrow winding streets! We walked around almost the entire island in just under an hour, until the next ferry arrived taking us to the island of Värgo, the most westernly island in the archipelago. This island was entirely a nature reserve, with very minimal housing. We took a walk through a trail, which came out at a secluded cove beach. Here we spent a couple hours swimming and relaxing in the sun.Finally we took a ferry to the larger island of Styrsö. Although this was supposedly a tourist island, we barely encountered any other people bar locals as we walked through the tiny quaint streets. Here we found a different beachy area to have another swim for a couple hours.

Our final morning we visited the Natural History Museum, which hosted a real preserved blue whale, although it was a young whale and nowhere near as large as I was hoping! There were also various other stuffed animals, including an elephant (in a tutu)! This filled our morning out nicely until we caught our train to Norway just after noon.

Definitely the highlight of this part of the trip was the day on the archipelago islands, we had an amazing day and the weather was perfect! It was something totally different to anything we’d done before and was a nice relaxing change to museum and gallery visits.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


So, it finally happened, on the 31st June Leigh & I left our Kuopas apartment for the last ever time and took a bus to the train station. From there we traveled to Helsinki airport, catching a flight to Copenhagen, Denmark.

We arrived late to wet and windy weather, checked in to our hostel, and went straight to bed. The next morning we got up bright and early to find something for breakfast. Obviously this was Danish cinnamon swirls (my absolute favourite pastry item EVER), which were amazing! The rain from the night before had cleared and the weather was glorious. We had a good walk around the city centre,  and stopped by the Danish Museum of Art & Design for a look around.

We then had a walk up to the Little Mermaid and sat by the water for a good while, taking in the sun and sea, before enjoying a long walk back around the outskirts of the city.

The second morning consisted of visiting the Rosenborg Castle and the surrounding park area. Afterwards we decided to check out the botanical gardens, as they were nearby. The large conservatory was really impressive both inside and out, and we spent a long time walking around the outdoor grounds. It was really quiet despite being in the centre of the city, and a nice unexpected addition to our day.

In the evening we had a walk around Frederiksberg Park, which was huge! Unfortunately we couldn't see all of the park before it's closing time (10pm). We then headed back to the hostel for an early night.

The next day we visited the City museum, which was fairly small. Afterwards we had a look around the Amalienborg Palace, and some more of the city centre, before heading over the the Harbour Pool. This was basically an anchored wooden platform which floated in the channel between the islands, which served as a safe place to swim! The water was freezing but we still went in then dried off on the decking,  spending a good couple of hours sunbathing and enjoying the atmosphere.


In the later afternoon we ventured into Christiania which is some 'free-town' hippy commune, then explored a little more of the Amager island before heading back for another early night.

I really loved the city of Copenhagen, the architecture was beautiful and the people were really relaxed, much like Finland. I'd definitely like to come back some day and maybe visit more of Denmark too!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Moi Moi Kuopio

I'll miss you!

Monday, 16 May 2011

School Update

Having worked individually last semester, it's really nice to be back around other people again this term. (Apart from the downside of the kilns ALWAYS being booked out!). Our class was asked to put on an exhibition displaying work intended to be larger-scale public art, displayed within Kuopio. The open evening was held on Wednesday and everyone's work looked really nice. We had to present a CAD based poster next to our work, showing the art piece in it's chosen location.

I created forms based on deer antlers which, when viewed at the intended large scale, would also represent trees. I chose to display them in a park scene, both on land and in the lake, blending into the landscape without seeming too obnoxious or offensive to the existing horizon. I found this work quite satisfying as we were given the chance to exhibit work yet again, this time without any of the organisational responsibilities!

Alongside the work for the exhibition, we have been exploring different methods of glass moulding. This has involved making ceramic and plaster casts, and using woodwork techniques to form a glass blowing mould. I have really enjoyed these lessons as I have been able to learn new skills and utilise materials which I have never used before.

Also, the weather has been amazing recently! All the ice has melted from the lake and it's been getting up to 20 degrees some days! It's really weird and sad to think that we'll be leaving in 2 weeks!

Saturday, 7 May 2011


On Monday we headed over to Stockholm for a few nights.  Although Sweden borders Finland, the 2 countries are noticeably different! We arrived at the city in the early evening and walked around for a few hours to get to know the area around our hostel. The first impressions were good but we were a little let down by the miserable weather!

The next morning we got up bright and early and had a proper look around the new part of the city centre. This was mainly shopping areas (a lot of H&M's), food places and bars. We visited the Nordic Museum which hosted exhibitions displaying Swedish culture and design. Later that evening we saw Sufjan Stevens at Cirkus, which was the main reason we made the trip to Stockholm.

The show was amazing, as I've been wanting to see Sufjan live for years, and I'm really glad I got the chance to experience it in a new country! We spent the next day exploring the old town and visiting the city museum. We happened to stop by the palace just at the changing of the guard, which was played out in tune to ABBA from the royal marching band. Amazing! I had a really good time and I'm excited to come back to Sweden later next month!

Monday, 18 April 2011


So yesterday was my 21st birthday. I'm an adult now?
Although I didn't do much to celebrate... ate an amazing banana cake and went for a bike ride with leigh.
We visited a part of the lake which I hadn't been to since the week before it started snowing, around 7 months ago, and it looked so much different this time around! We often swam there last summer so it was weird to see it covered in an icey crust.

Over the past week and a half the snow has been melting at an incredible rate, although it's still dropping below minus degrees at night time it's been getting noticeably warmer during the day time, and yesterday it was fair enough to go out without a coat on for the first time in months, which was a complete luxury!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Submitted Work

Some more detailed photos of the work I submitted to the exhibition;

Ceramic and textile pieces based on elements of Finnish winter -  Himmeli, snowflakes and reindeer, contrasted with typical English design - lace doilies, intricate patterns, and blue & white ceramic ware.

In other news, although the calendar may state it's official spring time it certainly doesn't feel like it! The skies have been glorious shades of blue recently though :)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Preview Evening.

On Monday morning everyone submitting work (Kim, Steph, Miguel, Candela, Leigh and Myself), met at the cellar to put the show together. It was a long day of moving equipment and putting all the work up, followed by a lot of cleaning and tidying, but everyone was really dedicated and helped out which we appreciated a lot.



Our work: 1)Leigh, 2)Kim, 3)Myself, 4)Candela, 5)Steph, 6)Miguel

Tuesday we had some time to add any finishing touches and make sure everything was perfect, before a reporter from Savon Sanomat, the local newspaper, came to interview us and take some photos of our work. This was really exciting and some great exposure for us.

The following day the article was published, which included an invitation to our preview evening that night. We used the budget from the textiles department to purchase some snacks, and the school kitchen made an excessive amount of punch (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for refreshments. The head of the design school agreed to say some words to open the show, and then many of our tutors presented us with flowers which was very unexpected. Well over 50 people showed up and everyone was really impressed by the work on display.

I think we were all very overwhelmed by the reception, it was much greater than any of us could have expected. The show definitely would not have been such a great success if it weren't for all those who submitted work, Merja our ceramic tutor, Kaisa the head of textiles, and Marjut - who put a lot of effort in behind-the-scenes to help us out. We're all really grateful for the opportunity we've had and the support we've been given to curate our first ever exhibition!

Friday, 25 March 2011


As Leigh & I have worked independently from tutors this term, Merja suggested it would be nice to display our work for assessment in a more public manner, to show that we haven't spent a term lazing around. We briefly discussed areas where we could present work; the ceramic department's social area, the common room at the Turo building, and wall space within the classrooms were all suggested. After talking about it more thoroughly we decided it would be nice to display our work in a more formal environment, so we asked Merja how to go about booking a gallery space to host a full exhibition.

The school has several galleries within it's buildings, and they are almost always in use. We browsed the spaces that were to offer and came to the conclusion that the the cellar gallery underneath the main building was the most appealing to us. The only issue we noted was it's size -  as a fairly large space we wondered if we were capable of producing enough work to fill it's capacity. This was when we introduced the idea of inviting other international students to submit work to the exhibition; the gallery space could be used to it's full potential and other students would have the opportunity to display their work too... win win!

After asking around, a fair amount of the Erasmus students seemed interested, so we went ahead and booked the cellar gallery. The weeks since then have been full of meetings with tutors and peers to determine what works would be submitted, and other small details such as artist statements and floor plans.

We've designed a series of posters which have been displayed throughout school, and sent invitations to students and staff informing them of the preview evening which will take place on Wednesday. Kaisa has been kind enough to offer us a 100€ budget on behalf of the textiles department to cover costs of refreshments for the evening! The most important part now is making sure we can get our work finished on time!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Kuopion Luonnontieteellinen Museo

Another weekend activity for us has been checking out the local galleries and museums. So far we've visited the natural history museum and the art museum.


This involved meeting a life size model of a wooly mammoth! The art museum is holding an exhibition displaying ceramic works which has given me a lot of inspiration for our upcoming deadline, and the exhibition in school which we are currently working on!