Tuesday 7/26/16 time 9:01 AM



Background as an artist

 am an artist who Engaged in wide range of subjects and mediums such as Drawing / Performance - Video / Installation - Sculpture and an educator.

graduated in 2013 with hig honors  honors from the Faculty of Art rt HaMidrasha at Beit Berel Academic College in Israel. 

Since then I held a solo exhibition at Beit KanerMunicipal Art Gallery,Rishon Lezion and have been working various art projects in gallery and  museum exhibitionsand as an educator ofart.

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it? 

My artworks are based on multi layered processes of Mediums exploration including painting, sculpture, VideoSound and botany. am interested in the confluences between techniques and mediums in order to explore the interactions. 

Usually I have a vision and then I decide which media will serve it on the best way. It allows me to stay free and to be faithful to the idea that I would like to express.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?  

I believe that words can't always describe or convey everything I want to express as an artist. Therefore the best part of being an artist is having the ability to express your thoughts and feelings through physical or visual mediaFurthermore I love the freedom of the creativity, there are no rules or limits to chain you. To see and to hear how the viewer experience  my artwork is definitely one of the most fascinating things for me in this process. 

One of the hardest thing of being artist is making yourself a framework. I find that the creative process forces you to explore, work and develop constantly.  

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?  

Tget out  from my comfort zone and to be able to concentrate in my artwork. 

The opportunity to live and talk with other international artists or locals.  I’m very much enjoying soaking in their unique presence and learning a bit about their culture, art and food:).

Haihatus is a  special place surrounded by beautiful nature which  allows a relaxed and creative spirit . 


What are your plans after Haihatus? 

Go back and teach art with the inspiration I got from here and to complete a new series of paintings based off the work I’ve done here and submit it for exhibition at a few galleries. 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

So far, all my expectations were met and more

There’s a very relaxed and creative spirit here; the incredible nature is really special and ispiring. I got the chance to meet all of those amazing people and artists, which was so fun to create next to them and to hang out with!

Haihatus gave me the opportunity to deviate from my normal routine back home and get my art practice in order. The house is really amazing and Merja really helped  with whatever I needed.


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Thursday 7/21/16 time 9:48 AM


Background as an artist

I studied at the Limerick School of Art and Design, in Ireland. I graduated in 2012, have been exhibiting regularly both at home and abroad since then, and had a solo show in April at Inspire Gallery, Dublin.

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

My original training was in ceramics, and I was used to approaching an idea with a 3D outcome in mind. However, when I moved to Korea in 2014 I no longer had access to a kiln, and started to experiment with other media. This led to the mixed media format I work in now, using inks, paints, found materials and embroidery on paper.

Overall I enjoy the freedom I have in painting. I had limited formal training as a painter, so I can experiment and use whatever is to hand without overthinking the process; something I struggled with when working in ceramics. It can lead to some surprising results, as I am often discovering the material as I use it. However sometimes this lack of formal training can work against me, as I can struggle to realise a project to the standard I would like.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

I find it much easier to coherently express my thoughts on a page, and enjoy producing something and seeing how an audience responds to it. In my opinion the most difficult part is constantly questioning yourself and your work; wondering if you’ve just finished a really nice piece or if you’ve just wasted the entire day!

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes, this is my first time here. I came to the area without overly researching Joutsa; I wanted to see and learn about the area first hand, especially when I knew I would have the time here to really get to know the place. I find the landscape here fascinating, the relatively flat open spaces hemmed in with seemingly endless trees makes an interesting contrast to the mountainous countryside in Switzerland.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

The time you have, to really focus on your work without distractions. I don’t think it shows in a finished piece how much thought goes into the concept or the making of an artwork, and that the hours spent creating something are a much more involved process than just doodling on a page! Having a month to sort through my ideas has given me a clear idea of what direction I want to follow in my work next, and has allowed me the freedom to experiment with materials also.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

After Haihatus I will go back to Switzerland. I am hoping to exhibit my work more regularly in the coming year, as well as apply for some residency programs in Ireland and Europe.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

This was the first time I completed an artist residency, and already I feel like I would like to stay longer! The peaceful surroundings and relaxed atmosphere make it a very productive place for me to work, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience here.

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Friday 6/24/16 time 7:14 PM - interview and photo by Terhi Dahlgren



Background as an artist:

I graduated the Australian National University, School of Art in 2013 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours. Then in 2014 I completed two artist residencies in Canberra which lead to my debut solo exhibition in Sydney last year. 

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

My artistic practice is conceptually driven. First I choose an idea and then the  appropriate media. The best side to working this way is the freedom to choose any media depending on what my concept is. However, in working this way I have potentially closed the door on “art for art’s sake”. 

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

There is a great venn diagram floating around the internet. At the centre of the venn diagram is the word ART on the left it reads ABSOLUTELY NARCISSISM on the right it reads CRIPPLING SELF DOUBT. I feel these are the best and worst sides to being an artist. It’s a constant balance between self confidence and self doubt.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes it is my first time to Finland. I had heard the forests and lakes are beautiful and indeed they are however I didn't know much else. I spent a lot of time researching and interestingly enough this research became the concept for the work.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

The best sides are you have a chance to make a new body of work in a completely different context. I think it is good as an artist to always be pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and asking fundamental questions . It’s also great way to build overseas connections and experiences. 

What are your plans after Haihatus?

I am entering the work I have made during this residency into a number of European based art competitions. I am also planning to show a sample of this new work in the group residency exhibition at Haihatus in  November.  I expect the ideas and environment of Finland will lead me in new directions. 

-How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

Haihatus has more than met my expectations! It's great to have a team of such supportive and creative people all in one place. I feel very lucky and honoured to have be offered such a great opportunity. 



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Thursday 6/16/16 time 4:11 PM - interview by Terhi Dahlgren, photo by Marie Desoubeaux

-Background as an artist: I studied studio art and art history at Reed College, and kept painting in oil after school. 
-How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it? After a few years of oil painting, I switched to digital art. I think the best side is that it only requires electricity and my computer or iPad, so I can do it anywhere, no need for messy materials and lots of space. The worst side is that the tools I have are so powerful, and I'm basically still just painting and drawing with them. I know the potential is so great, so I always feel I should be pushing myself to do more complicated projects.
-What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist? The best side is doing things like this, since I've been here I've only had to eat, sleep, and make art, and that lifestyle is really working for me. The worst side is I'm going to have to find some way to make money again soon.
-Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa? Yes, first time! I expected Finland to be strange with the long days in May and June, and it has definitely been weird to still see light outside all night. Joutsa is so safe and peaceful and cute, those were all my expectations.  
-How's your average day in Joutsa? I wake up very late, because I've been staying up at night. My schedule is probably very unhealthy, but I'm still productive.
-What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? There's no pressure here at all, except internal pressure to make good art.
-How does Haihatus meet your expectations? The three cats are very nice and international friends all here for the same purpose is so refreshing to be around. Above my expectations: having BBQ for dinner and going to sauna at least once a week are so good!! 
-What are your plans after Haihatus? I'm doing another residency in Berlin, and applying for grad school there.

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Monday 5/30/16 time 1:15 PM - interview and photo by Terhi Dahlgren

-Background as an artist:
I trained as a dancer from the age of 6, in a conservatory in Normandy (France) and move to Paris for my studies after I graduated from high school. I kept on training there and abroad, following my travels and wishes for workshops and projects around Europe and China. Since 2010, I got really interested into the performative field and Instant Composition process. I created and directed a platform dedicated to both those forms between 2012 and 2015, before getting into my own material as a director this year. 
-How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?
I wasn't really much attracted by theater when I was young, it didn't really fit my profile to talk on a stage, and I was already into dance studies back then. 
I recently work in the process of a featured movie, and it made me realize again why dance has also been my media for so long: I guess I just like to have a straight access to my instrument, without depending on an object between me and my way of expressing. Plus, I think I really have a somatic body, which talks to me a lot when any emotional force happens.
I like to put the body in the center of expression. I would say it has been hard to keep the energy and desire of dancing all those years, and I sometime go into phases where I don't have the curiosity to move any more. But it always comes back, and then I need to go extreme with it and dance a lot for a while. I guess I have trouble to stay stable with this, but I guess this is also how I work with it now. 
-What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?
I love being an artist for the freedom of thinking that it offers. I feel it sometime puts me into a very nice position to be a link, a thread, or to go to very different fields of life and interest.
I recently had a big brainstorming with me and myself (!), to wonder if I should stay in the dance and artistic area as my main job. But I'm not sure I could really get away too long from that world, for the diversity if offers (or the diversity I take from it). For the worst side, as I guess many artists would say, is to find the right frame and conditions to be working as you wish for. 
-Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?
It is! My coming to Joutsa was actually so spontaneous and last minute made that I'm not sure I had time to have a lot of expectations from it... I quickly borrow a book on my parents' library about Finland, and just had the time to read its people were shy but welcoming at the end..! 
I have always been very much attracted to Scandinavia and Northern countries, and it that aspect it really fits the atmosphere I was expecting from it. I couldn't really picture Joutsa the way it actually is, but I found the environment to be just perfect to focus and get some air for and from your work.
-How's your average day in Joutsa?
I tried to fix some rituals for a basic daily day in Joutsa but it didn't really work that much! I tried to follow the flow as much as possible, without closing anything.
I have been working a lot, just in many different ways. I usually get up around 8:30am in the morning (after waking up around 4am to answer the sun's greeting...), get a good breakfast and coffee, listen to french news on the radio from time to time, and sit at my desk in the dance studio to work.
I haven't danced much, but I discovered I was actually in a different process this time, that involve more of gathering, making links and thinking through than actual dance experimentations.
Afternoons are usually more dedicated to reading or trying to find some other way to work and getting some fresh air, but it can also be the other way around. I try to get out at least once a day. I go to the lac and the wood paths around the house. I went a couple of times to Myllykoski, which is such a nice place to walk and get into the woods by the lac. Sometime I just go out to buy some food at the supermarket, or knock at the guy's doors to ask them to go out for a beer with me in Kellari's pub at night. 
I stretched, had some very creative naps, went out a lot to see Kari and Tehri working in the garden,...
SAUNA has been also a very nice place to finish the day, and get fresh (hot?) new ideas for the next day!
-What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 
It offers you the frame you need to deeply focus on your work, even when you feel stuck with it! It allowed me to sometime let go of the writing process itself, but still be able to let the seeds grow.
You never get out of your process in a way, even when you're doing something else. It is like having a place where your daily life has been put aside just for a moment, to allow you to work, but also to empty the space around for your work to rise.
-How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 
I feel a lot of freedom here. Haihatus was just what I was looking for: a place to focus on my own work, alone, but surrounding by people.
The spaces here are huge, and you can really get your own private space to work in, but it is also very easy to connect with people in the house, and get friends and company around you when you just go crazy with you and your thoughts! 
-What are your plans after Haihatus?
I was accepted for an other artist residency in Iceland, where my project is also rooted. But meanwhile, I will first go back to Paris, and start to work with my dancer in the studio to keep on going with the project I was working on here. I have a piece that is still touring from next month starting, and I will also be working for a festival in Paris this summer. 

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Monday 5/30/16 time 12:46 PM - interview and photo by Terhi Dahlgren


How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

Music started out as a very constant source of curiosity growing up. I was always encouraged to be curious and the interest always developed and progressed in a very natural way as I got older. I think that desire to expand and learn more while exploring new ground is what really drives the whole creative process to begin with. Once you have the curiosity, the rest of the details seem to choose you. Music was something I was just always drawn to and the guitar became a tool to help discover and experience it.

Having the opportunity to get close to music or musicians that inspires you is a really important thing to experience. I think that’s how I fell in love with the steel and slide guitar later on…just sitting in front of really good players in a really quiet room and thinking “Wow, that’s what I want to do now.” Those are the times that stick with you. Hearing and feeling that raw, acoustic, physical, and emotional side of simple wires and wood is where it all starts for me. All of a sudden good music feels so ancient and mystical and powerful.

The pedal steel guitar is maybe not the most typical instrument but I’ve been lucky to meet and play with many different musicians over the years. I love the invitation to sit-in with a project I’m not too well versed in for a recording project or a festival gig, whatever. You can meet all sorts of great friends and connections that way. That’s one of my favorite parts of what I do…the spontaneous improvisatory aspect. You call tell a lot about a person from playing music together and I’ve made some life-long friends that way.

Hmmm, the worst part is…you have to carry all this heavy gear everywhere! It can feel like a lot of work to get everything ready on a stage somewhere for a gig. The pedal steel weighs about 60 lbs. and then there’s the amplifier, speaker cabinet, sound processors, cabling, power supply, chair, and all the maintenance that those can require! It’s all worth it though. It’s all just part of the process.

-What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side is there are no rules to it! It’s completely detached from the world of mindless tasks and social distractions. I think the challenge becomes not just being driven but staying driven and always chasing.

The world of pop culture doesn’t really nurture the mind of a creative thinker or an innovator. There’s a lot of self-motivation and a strong work ethic required to push the envelope and keep the ball moving.

At the same time, I try not to take myself too seriously and know I won’t feel fulfilled if I put too much pressure on myself. There’s the inevitable crippling-self-doubt from inventing too much expectation. Having patience and working hard seem to be the best combination to staying on track.

-Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

This is my first time in Finland. It’s been wonderful. I think if anything, I was expecting more of a big city feeling in Helsinki once we arrived there. I was shocked the city center isn’t flooded with a mass of neon billboards and bad traffic. For some reason I was expecting more of this “hustle-bustle” vibe but was pleasantly surprised by it’s eclectic nature yet down to earth feeling. Everyone seems so laid-back and patient which we don’t always experience back in America. It’s amazing how clean everything is; no trash anywhere.

I had heard only a few things as far what to expect like…it’s not typical to greet strangers in public and everyone loves milk and fish, haha. I don’t know, maybe there’s some truth to a few stereotypes sometimes, but everything makes sense after you’re here awhile. It’s an easy adjustment to be here and feel comfortable.

-How's your average day in Joutsa?

I’m usually one to wake up a little later than the others (laughing). I definitely take my time being lazy in the mornings. I have to check the baseball scores from back home, make coffee, and respond to e-mails. After breakfast, I’ll go to the Fanstasia house and work on a lesson plan for the day. After a few hours, I’ll come back inside and maybe take a walk with Melanie or ride to the market.

I enjoy breaking up the day of working by moving around and coming back to the guitar throughout the day. We like going to the Kellari pub to watch a hockey game or sitting in the sauna at night. There have been a few BBQ’s with the other artists here too which is a fun time to relax and tell stories over beers and dinner.

-What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

You can do things however you like here! It seems like the easiest place in the world to reinvent your sleep schedule or deviate from your normal routine back home. It’s rare to be an adult and feel such few responsibilities!

Everything is Joutsa is very close on bike and it’s like a little utopia commune here where everyone does their own thing yet still makes time to hang and socialize. It’s a good balance to be in.

-How does Haihatus meet your expectations

Well, it’s funny...I really tried to not have any expectations before arriving! I didn’t want to invent Haihatus or even Joutsa in my mind before I got here and be discouraged if it has somehow different. I knew there would be enough space around to not feel cooped up in a tiny room all day long so I wasn’t too concerned with other details as long as I could get this heavy guitar here in one piece! I am happy to have this experience. It’s been a great place to retreat in.

-What are your plans after Haihatus?

I’m heading back to Asheville, NC where I live with my wife Melanie. There is work at home waiting for me when I get back. I’ve made really good progress here and can’t wait to take what I’ve been woodshedding and apply it this summer and beyond. Time to turn the page! It will feel good to get back into the swing of things after this time here at Haihatus. We hope to finalize on buying our first home together when we return as well! It’s an exciting time.

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Sunday 5/29/16 time 10:25 AM - interviewed by Terhi Dahlgren



photo by Marie Desoubeaux

Gabrielle Vigneault-Gendron, 24, Canadian


Background as an artist:

I started to be seriously interested in visual arts towards the end of High School so when I was about 15 years old. Before that, I played piano and clarinet at my school orchestra and then the Wind Ensemble of Montreal. I was also very interested in creative writing before I really got into visual arts. I finished my B.F.A in Painting and Drawing at Concordia University in Montreal in 2014 with a minor in Film Studies.  I’ve exhibited my work mostly in collective shows in Quebec city and Montreal. I went to an artist residency in Iceland in March and April 2016 where I was able to compose music for my latest film and start my latest drawing series which I completed here in Joutsa. I am currently studying Film Production at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. I should complete this degree in April 2017.

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

I don’t know if I have chosen a media yet. I guess if you look at the tendencies in my portfolio, my main mediums would be both oil painting and filmmaking. Oil painting is definitely my favorite type of painting, I don’t think I will be able to go back to acrylic. Its ability to dry slowly allows you to do and discover so many things about colour. The medium itself feels alive, I really enjoy working with it. Of course this aspect does have its downside. It is a bit tricky to transport because it is never really dry. It is also a very costly material compared to pencil drawing and it is also very toxic. I always have one window at least slightly open when I paint to get air circulation, even when it’s - 30 degree celsius outside. I bring a lot of vests to my studio then!

Film is great because it combines so many art forms. It is also one of the newest art form and so I feel there are so many things to discover about the medium still. But it is also a very costly media  and the business surrounding it is very complex and competitive. It can feel very overwhelming at times.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

I don’t think I would really see myself doing anything else. I find that creating something really gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride. I like being able to communicate in that way and seeing other artist communicate beautiful things in different ways. But it does make you question yourself and your work constantly. The uncertainty can definitely become very tricky to deal with.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes! I knew it would be very peaceful and that there would be a big presence of nature. I was not disappointed in the beautiful forests and landscapes of Finland.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

Meeting new people and new artists from all over the world is definitely one of the best perks. I also enjoy being able to work on my art full time. This change of scenery really allows you to think things through and to get your art practice in order.

So far, all my expectations were met. I have met some terrific people and artists which are not only fun to hang out with, but are also very inspiring. The residency is wonderful in the sense that it gives you a lot of time and space to work on your artistic practice. I wanted to work more on the drawing series I had started in Iceland and thanks to the Haihatus facilities I was able to do that. All the activities I can do here also allowed me to take a step back and get various perspectives on things.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

I will get back to Montreal when my residency ends. When I got to Joutsa, I found myself very inspired by the giant trees and the gorgeous forests. At first it gave me an idea for a video installation, but during my residency, I transformed the idea into a potential painting series. In Haihatus, I worked a lot on digital sketches for this series and when I’ll get back to my studio in Montreal I will be able to start working on the actual oil paintings.

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Monday 4/25/16 time 8:22 AM - interviewed by Hanna Peräkylä


Hila Amar, 29 years old, From Tel-Aviv, Israel/Palestine

I'm a jeweler artist. 

B.a in jewelry design, Shenkar college, Ramat-Gan. 

I love to sculpt in metal and use the goldsmith technique for making objects with small details. 

Lately I've started to draw portraits. 

It is  continuing from my final project in college that  I gave them different noses in different material. So I came to Haihatus to focus on drawing.  

When I start drawing, I'm automatically starting by drawing the nose first. It is the only organ who's come out from the face, and it says a lot about identity..

I recommend Haihatus for artists who need time and space. It is a peaceful and relaxing place to work with no instruction. The nature here is great, and I found the Finnish people very nice and kind. 

I found this residency online, and it was pretty much what I expected.  

After here I'm planning to keep on working hard :)

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Thursday 4/21/16 time 1:20 PM - interviewed by Hanna Peräkylä


James Morley, 24, Canadian


Background as an artist: 

My interest in art began when I was 13 years old. My friends and I were always skateboarding and filming each other with a cheap video camera. I enjoyed editing the footage together, and would spend hours and hours creating short videos with it. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to try shooting still photographs. I wasn't as good at skateboarding as my friends, so I thought that photography would allow me to continue hanging out with them. Through skateboarding I eventually found myself interested in documentary photography and decided that I wanted to study it at a university level. I studied photography at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, and I received my Bachelor degree in Fine Arts in 2015. Throughout my time in school, my practice has evolved to incorporate video and installation work that mainly focuses on the individual experience of urban space.

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

I chose photography and video because of their indexical nature. I am not very well co-ordinated; I don't have the precision and control that are needed for drawing, painting, or sculpture. Cameras are the perfect tool to be able to document something in the world exactly as you see it. The best part of photography is exactly that - being able to transform your own vision into an image that everyone else can see. I also enjoy exploring and seeking out opportunities to find new subject matter, and photography is the best suited medium for capturing things spontaneously.

The worst part about photography is that the subject matter you are looking for just doesn't exist sometimes. Even though it is easier that ever to manipulate images on the computer, you still need to be able to find a subject in the real world that best conveys your idea. I do enjoy that part though, as well as the problem-solving that goes into finding the perfect composition.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best part of being an artist is having the ability to take your ideas and concepts and materialize them into some sort of physical or visual media. I find that the creative process forces you to learn, think about things a bit differently than you normally would, and in the case of photography, it puts you in new places and interesting situations that you might not normally find yourself. I also really enjoy creating things that you can look at again and again.

The worst part about being an artist is definitely the financial side of things. Cameras, computers, film, and other materials are all very expensive, and selling a couple of prints here and there doesn't really help cover the costs very much. It helps that there are a lot of commercial opportunities within photography, but they come with their own issues. Once you start shooting things purely for money, the motivations behind your work tend to change a lot. It is sometimes quite difficult to separate purely creative and commercial work, and it can sometimes be detrimental to a project to start thinking about how you are going to profit from it. Maintaining a balance between the two is definitely the hardest part.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

It is my first time in Finland! I think I expected Joutsa to be a bit smaller, and I thought that I might have a hard time going about my day-to-day activities without speaking Finnish. It wasn't a problem, however, as most of the people I encounter speak very good English.

How's your average day in Joutsa?

I usually start the day with some coffee. Throughout the day I will usually go for a bike ride or two and explore Joutsa, looking for opportunities to shoot photos or video. I also spend a large portion of the day reading, researching, and planning the project I am working on. I also try to spend some time in the common areas of Haihatus so I can talk to the other artists and hang out with the three cats that live here.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

Having this art residency has definitely allowed me a lot of creative freedom that I don't usually have at home. Leaving behind my computer, job, and responsibilities has helped to give me a lot more time to think about work that I would like to make, and I have been able to spend a lot more time shooting and planning projects than I normally would.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 
Haihatus is exactly what I was expecting and hoping for. I needed a relaxed and easygoing environment like this to start thinking creatively and make some new work.

I would recommend Haihatus to anyone who has an artistic background and experience making work, who is also looking for an opportunity to spend time in a unique place while working on a self-directed project. The environment provides the perfect opportunity to work with a clear and unobstructed mindset. I do think participants should be fairly diligent and responsible with their time, as there isn't a strict structure that governs how you should be spending it.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

When I leave Haihatus, I will be returning to Toronto, where I will begin working again. I will be spending a significant amount of my free time over the coming months editing and finishing the film I have been shooting in Finland. When it is finished, I hope to exhibit it as well as a series of photographs in galleries Toronto and elsewhere.

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Thursday 4/21/16 time 12:50 PM - interviewed by Hanna Peräkylä

Manuela Morales, 25, Chilean-Canadian


Background as an artist: 

At a very young age I got into making art through drawing. It wasn't until I was 14 years old that I became interested in photography, when my parents took me to see Robert Frank: Storylines at the Tate Modern in London. There was a room filled with Frank's contact sheets and the sheer number of images was astounding, the idea of being able to capture that many moments in time was incredibly appealing. In retrospect, I think the attraction may have been due to my own terrible memory and what seemed like a device to keep me from forgetting. 

I started taking photography classes in high school, where I learned the basics of the medium. I then went on to receive a Bachelor in Fine Arts with Honours in Photography Studies from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Through my four years at Ryerson, I became immersed in the history and theories of images, which led me to start also working in video. 

Currently, my work is situated within the documentary practice, often originating from my own lived experience. The themes of memory and post-memory have continued to be a central component and I also deal with issues surrounding trauma, womanhood, global politics and their impact on interpersonal relationships.

How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

Probably my favourite thing about photography/video is that it takes me out of the studio. My work usually takes me outside into different environments and often different countries. I tend to go stir crazy quite easily; I'm incredibly impatient and get bored far too quickly. I would not do well making all of my work in one room. I think in this way I also enjoy photography and video because unexpected things can transpire when you're out in the world making work, and sometimes it can change your whole project or just be an exciting moment. Then, when you return to the darkroom or computer, there are often new things you notice each time you look at the work. You have created the overall composition, but what goes on within it can change or appear different overtime. 

The worst part of working with these mediums is that I can be a bit of a perfectionist and you can't necessarily change the composition of the world. This is usually something I can easily get over though. But there are definitely moments I wish I could move wires, or a tree, or a pole and that is impossible. 

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

In my particular practice I often look at my own family trauma. So personally, the best part of being an artist is that it helps me work through difficult things in my life. My work is extremely cathartic for me and in that sense I think I am always drawn to creating things when I have some sort of turmoil in my life. But through the process of making a project I often work through the distressing emotions attached to the subject matter and start moving forward.

I think the worst side of being an artist is fairly obvious. It is incredibly difficult to make a living. As a woman I find it more difficult because we are often the gender that is charged with thinking about family, and the idea of having children on an artist's salary can seem completely unrealistic. I have always been someone who wants to have children and really looks forward to being a parent, however I want my kids to have security and part of that is not worrying about their parents finances. For some this means working jobs they can't stand, however I am currently looking into pursuing the arts as well as a career in law. Law has always fascinated me and influenced my work, as well as being a lucrative career where I can support my art and a family. 

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes! This is my first time in Finland. I had no expectations at all!

How's your average day in Joutsa?

Moving around from Haihatus to different parts of Joutsa. Shooting video, discussing/writing out ideas, editing, researching, hanging out with cats and other artists, eat, sleep, repeat. 

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

The best part of an art residency is that it takes you out of your comfort zone. New spaces really jump start the creative brain, also being able to just have a designated chunk of time for making things, not being distracted by other obligations. My mind is constantly occupied with making. I also enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and see how they go about their artistic practice. 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 
The space and work areas were very much how I imagined, I like the communal areas and I feel like access to bikes, buses and walkable areas made exploring very easy.
I would recommend Haihatus to artists who are at similar places in their career or even further along than I am. I think it is a great opportunity for artists who have finished school and have one or more projects under their belt. I think if you are stuck in a rut this is the perfect place. Joutsa honestly does not have a ton of activities for visitors, but the atmosphere of Haihatus will get your mind working and you'll have nothing to do but make work. 

What are your plans after Haihatus?

I hope to continue working on the piece I have been working on here and submit it for exhibition at a few galleries.

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Thursday 4/21/16 time 8:39 AM - interviewed by Hanna Peräkylä



How did you end up choosing your media? Best/worst sides of it?

I do watercolor portraits; that’s the only media that I’ve stayed interested in pursuing over the years.  Other forms of art I burn out on pretty quickly, but never portraiture.  Faces are infinitely interesting to me; I never see the same thing twice and they’re always relevant.

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side is the worst side: being your own boss.  You get to dictate what you do and how you do it.  There is no one else guiding or directing you; you follow your inner voice and create your own checks and balances.  See how many “you’s” are in this response?  It’s all on you.  It’s excellent and terrifying, but that’s what drives creativity.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes.  I didn’t set up many expectations; I focused more on goals that I wanted to meet while working here.  It’s a great place to work; there are really no distractions, being such a small town. 

How's your average day in Joutsa?

I wake up early, make coffee, listen to NPR and work while the sun still feels early.  This jogs my brain; I find my ideas to be very sensitive to light.  It’s very difficult for me to work at night, so I do as much as I can as early as I can.  Then I walk to the store, make lunch, take a walk around the town or forest, come back for a second studio session and work til early evening.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? 

Getting to live and talk with other international artists.  Even if we don’t talk each day, I’m very much enjoying soaking in their unique presence and learning a bit about their culture.  There’s a very relaxed and creative spirit here; it’s really special.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 

To me, it feels a bit like an artist’s psychological bootcamp.  There’s nothing to hide behind here.  At home, I can get caught up in the busy life and push aside any deep or critical feelings about my work.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting a painting complete; treating it like a job.  Here, there’s nothing to distract me from the series at hand.  I’ve had to finally buckle down and address some big questions and issues in my work that I’ve been avoiding.  It’s a distillation of the creative process and can feel overwhelming at times, but I think will yield great and honest results.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

Complete a new series of paintings based off the work I’ve done here!

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Tuesday 12/1/15 time 12:34 PM - Rijn Collins, Melbourne, Australia

I woke this morning and for a moment, thought I was back in the forest.

There was no music coming from the ground floor studios though, and no purring Finnish kitties curled up on my bed. I would not be mashing up boiled eggs to fold over the top of delicious rye karjalanpiirakoita for breakfast, or pouring black coffee into the soup mug I’d bought my first day at a flea market, covered in the blueberries that were my first Finnish word on my 2011 visit; mustikka.

Melbourne is beautiful on the last day of spring, but my head is still in the forest.

I spent the whole of October at a writing residency in Joutsa, a rural town in the midst of Finland’s Lake District. I arrived after a week of ruby port and decadent pastéis de nata pastries in Portugal with my beloved Lisa. As soon as I hit Helsinki the temperature dropped, the prices doubled, and the hood of my red riding coat was up for the first time since my previous residency in Iceland, this time last year.

Back to the wild northern lands I love, with my whole heart.

Haihatus residency, Finland

Haihatus residency, Finland

Haihatus residency, Finland

Haihatus residency, Finland

No snow for me this time; Finland was in her full autumnal glory, and she’d never been more bewitching. The colours of the forest, people! The colours of the forest. I wandered every evening at dusk, and found myself in tears of awe on more than one occasion. The light was like nothing I’d ever seen before, and the trees looked as though they’d been dipped in gold. For a woman whose feet are utterly at home in stilettos on city footpaths, my writing residencies in remote rural places steal my heart in ways I’m still processing.

Joutsa forest, Finland

Joutsa forest, Finland

Joutsa forest, Finland

Joutsa forest, Finland

The residency was huge, with buildings scattered around the grounds that were a delight to explore; a gallery space here, a lookout on stilts there. On my third night the call went out – to the sculpture garden, quick! I grabbed my red riding hood and raced after the other artists. I didn’t even know we had a sculpture garden (oh, you Finns) but found myself standing with head back, mouth open, as the northern lights danced above our heads. Indescribable. How lucky am I that I saw them last year in Iceland, and now here? Pen in hand, heart in throat, it was a gold star moment of the most wondrous kind.

Sculpture garden, Haihatus, Finland

Sculpture garden, Haihatus, Finland

Cheerful Lobster in the sculpture garden

Cheerful Lobster in the sculpture garden

Protective wolf outside my bedroom forest

Protective wolf outside my bedroom forest

My favourite place was the Pitkospuupolku, a narrow wooden path through the forest that the Joutsa guidebook had described with the line ‘In the Joutsa forest you can walk all alone, feeling like it almost kindly swallows you.’ Bliss of the best kind, breathing in the silence and solitude, watching sunshine sparkle on the water as I wrote, snacking on smoked salmon and rye bread, washed down with cloudberry cider on a full heart.

The Pitkospuupolku through the forest, Joutsa, Finland

The Pitkospuupolku through the forest, Joutsa, Finland

My favourite image of my trip

My favourite image of my trip

And I wrote, Damn, did I write. The joys of a residency, where writing is not an indulgence, or anti-social, but understood, and welcomed! In a studio filled with turpentine and taxidermy, I spilled ink until my fingers ached. Then stretched, scratched one of the house kittes, Purhonen, Korhonen and Räisanen, and wrote some more.

My studio

My studio

My studio in the gorgeous afternoon light

My studio in the gorgeous afternoon light

Korhonen and my taxidermy muse

Korhonen and my taxidermy muse

I took a mid-month jaunt into Helsinki with Amy and Joao, artists from the U.S. and Brazil. I knew Amy was kindred when we turned up for a walk to the local Joutsa pub wearing matching animal print ear muffs, and I wasn’t wrong. I took them to my favourite Helsinki restaurant, Zetor, the setting for a previous ABC story of mine called ‘Every Good Day Deserves Gingham.’ We ate reindeer and lingonberries around Soviet era hot rod tractors, sang to AC/DC in punk bars, and revelled in the exuberant joy that comes with sharing a city you love.

Animal print and cocktails...Amy, let's go to HUUTula!

Animal print and cocktails…Amy, let’s go to HUUTula!

With Joao at Zetor, my favourite rockabilly bar in Helsinki

With Joao at Zetor, my favourite rockabilly bar in Helsinki

And then my suitcase came out again.

The rest doesn’t need to be told: the last reindeer steak, the last walk through the forest, the last time I turned the lights off in my studio. I know I’ll be back, to both Finland and Haihatus, the residency…at least, I have to keep telling myself that, or I never would have left.

A hammock in my final Helsinki apartment..yes, yes, a hammock.

A hammock in my final Helsinki apartment..yes, yes, a hammock.

Loving and leaving Haihatus residency, Joutsa, Finland

Loving and leaving Haihatus residency, Joutsa, Finland

Kiitos, Finland, and all I met there…thank you, for a month full of gold stars, and golden light.

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Wednesday 7/2/14 time 9:01 PM - Viktoria Ikonen

viktoriabear450.jpgviktoria400.jpgMy return to Haihatus is like summing up the result of the past year. It's interesting to explore, to compare how I changed for this year: residencies in Barcelona and Istanbul, exhibitions, colleagues, like-minded persons from all over the world... But it's important to notice that it couldn't happen  without Haihatus: because they were first who believed in me and I highly appreciate it. 

Also, it's important from my side, that discovering Finland: people, nature, culture, is an attempt to explore myself. I have got Finnish sound surname, my grandfather was born in Finland but left it in childhood. Then, during the soviet time, people tried to hid their roots and links with foreign countries (even if they weren't foreign for them) because it was dangerous for political reasons.

But I think it's important to know better your own roots. 

For residency time I choose one theme - landscapes and everything around: it's a research of how the natural and industrial characters are interconnected, how bionic and geometrical forms exist near by each other and in one place. The symbol of this idea is a home, Haihatus home: the superimposition of forms and times. 

In artistic way it`s my own research of new visual language for this reason I painted series 'Little things': studies about research of my identity like a painter and visual artist and experiments with composition and colors; also it's a sketchbook of my ideas for a future works.

Viktoria Ikonen, from Russia, St Petersburg, Haihatus resident June 2013 and June-July 2014

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My internship in Haihatus

Wednesday 5/28/14 time 1:30 PM - Silja



This spring has went very quickly. Weather has been warm, cold, sunny and rainy, just like summer in Finland always. It feels like 7th of May was just yesterday and I started in my internship at Haihatus here in Joutsa. Now its already last days of April and I´m at work for last day. Outside trees are green and its almost summer.

I still remember my first day here and how nervous I were. First day at work is always exciting day for everyone. You don´t know yet, what others expect from you or what you should do. Fortunately, in few days you are on track. Its not easy for student like me to remember, that you can´t do everything perfectly or even right when you don´t have proper education or skills. You are here to learn and you should be open to do different kind of jobs. I choosed my internship at Haihatus, because I wanted to try work in culture house. I study tourism and I have been museum guide, cashier, working in café and hotel, but this was something new for me. I´m interested in all sorts of arts, but I also wanted to do some customer service and become better in that. Haihatus is great combination of them.

In these almost two months, I get acquainted with cultural residence and also helped artists to build their artwork. It was interesting and I noticed, that you don´t build whole art exhibition in one day or even in one week. It takes a lot of work hours and patience. If everything goes wrong, you simply sit down with cup of coffee and plan it again, hopely better. It not easy to relax in this busy, career-oriented world and I noticed it soon. Sometimes you just have to sit down and not worry about everything nonsensical.

This two months gave me new experiences and I meeted new people. I had various tasks, from sitting in office whole day from painting the cashier van. I also created my vocational skills demonstration of commodification and maybe it even will be my thesis in my third and final year in school. Now my school things start to look more brighter than before and

I´m confident about that I will graduate next year as travel councellor. Thought I´m not sure, if I´ll ever be clerk in travel agency or in hotel, I will at least have education. Maybe someday, I do something in wide field of cultural work. Who knows. Its inspring, that here you can use you´re own imagination.

I recommend warmly for every pupil, student or grown up people, who are still wondering their own career choice or are planning to try something new, to try work related to art or cultural in generally. You can come work here Haihatus too in July, Merja and Raimo will be glad. :)

In this summer, at least think about visiting your local art exhibitation. Its not always paintings lined at white wall, you wondering, what this should express. I have learned that, piece of art doesn´t express just one thing and one thing only. Artists have their own ideas about meaning of art work, but you do have your own and its just right as artist´s own idea. If you can´t get that mental image about white wall and paintings strictly at line out of your head, gather your family and go to summer theatre. Or if you like music, go to concert with your friends and if you rather to try something by yourself, take some dance or piano classes. Culture is all around us and its meant for all of us. In summer, you will sense it in the air. Finland, this long country, is full of summer happenings. Something are bigger (and expensive) and some may be small and free, but there´s something for everyone. Just go out free-minded and find right place for you. :)

Silja Ilmonen, second year tourism student from Joutsa

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Thursday 1/23/14 time 10:21 AM - Joutsa photos by Rose Dickson, USA



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Thursday 7/18/13 time 8:41 PM - Merja


Fantasia is one of the three buildings in Haihatus yard. It has been since autumn 2011 under renovation to be some day a house for year round cultular activities.

Renovation has received EU funding and it´s project name is Fantasia. Since the plans tend to mature like good wine as they get older, the name of Fantasia can still change, as the final appearance of the house and the content of the actions will be completed. It is said that the final name can not be selected before the baby is born.

The renovation has progressed rapidly this summer. The interiors are still open, pretty much in the mode where it was left off last summer's international voluntary work camp. The floors are still in their sawdust, which Baris, Canberk, Lin, Bryan, Federico, Anna, Masha, Ksenia, Hugo, Katcka, Kate and Anna them left.

The outer of the house has been built rapidly by the hands of Eikka, our hard working carpenter. The work is now in July intensified even further, because "the youth section of Haihatus" summer worker Iivari has been able to assistant Eikka. Iivari continues his youth work again in August, after the holiday seasons. Now is the time for construction.

On the other side of the yard is the summer exhibition open yet - help! not so long! - over two weeks. So you can still reach it, or can you!



Monday 6/10/13 time 7:00 AM - Anna María Lind Geirsdottír

Ladies and gentlemenpuhe500.jpg

I am pleased to be here today at the Muu maa preview. I am exhibiting here with 20 other artists in and exhibition of great variety. This exhibition is for me and the other two residents, Fay and Brett, almost at the end of a very pleasant stay at Haihatus.

I want to thank Raimo and Merja for all the support they have given during it and I especially want to thank Merja for lending me her skis and Raimo for all the help with the cross stitch.

I myself arrived here at the beginning of April to a lovely winter's weather. The ground was covered with snow and I made my first acquaintance with the surroundings on skis. On my first skiing trip I happened upon the house museum just across the field from Haihatus. What a wonderful surprise that was. Some old grey buildings, very mystical and seemed totally abandoned by people. Then came spring and there were people at the museum that I had come to think of as mine. And summer burst into the scene! In less than two months I have experienced 3 seasons.

I chose to apply for the Haihatus residency because it is in the middle of Finland,, at the core or heart of Finnish culture. I had two personal reasons to come here, one was that I wanted to get away from my home country Iceland for a while and make art and the other was that I wanted to improve my Finnish language skills.

Joutsa is a village, not like Helsinki a city which is big and becoming multicultural, but rather Finnish in its daily life and as a foreigner you get a glimpse of the Finnish ways of ordinary life. How the grannies get around on the push sledges in winter and push bikes in summer, what kind of food you can by in the supermarket or the bakery, how people dress, and how people address you, or don't address you. If you go to the cafes and restaurants you mostly get typical Finnish food like pizza or makaronilaattikko.

My expectation of Haihatus was a room to sleep in and a studio space. What I got apart from that was the big back garden of Haihatus full of inspiring stuff and all the forest and space around the village, the board walk and the various roads and paths you can walk on to enjoy nature and scenery. The walks proved to be very fulfilling and inspiring.

There are great information posts at the marsh boardwalk about the peat, plants and the utility of these. But the information is only in Finnish, and it would of course be wonderful to have it in e.g. English for all the residents that will arrive to Haihatus and enjoy the walk.

For myself the scenery was part of the inspiration of new projects for the future. The possibilities that Haihatus gave me led me to make different kind of art from what I have done before.

Going for a stay in a residency in another country takes one out of the everyday box and brings out new dimensions. At least that is my experience. I came with the intention to spin thread out of goat hair and perhaps make an installation. I ended up with cross stitch and to tear off boards of the Fantasia house for even bigger cross stitch that is now in the meadow of Haihatus.

Apart from being a great place for the residents Haihatus has a lot to give to the community of Joutsa. I saw the children that had art classes in Haihatus make head masks for a parade of head-legs that was on in Joutsa in May. They were great pieces of work and the parade a success.

The people that come and stay at Haihatus are people of great knowledge and diversity in the different fields of art. I think that the county of Joutsa should make use of that because there can be fantastic interaction between the Joutsans and the guests that both parties will benefit from. International art and the Finnish culture. The Joutsans should not shy away from the "strange foreigners" but instead embrace them and get the most out of them.

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Saturday 2/23/13 time 8:45 PM - from Itä-Häme newspaper translated by Merja


Pictures of woman´s most sacred

Brasilian Franco Bubani lives in Haihatus and photographs bedrooms

Franco Bubani staying in artist residence at Art Center Haihatus changed the brazilian heat to finnish frost, but not without reason. He is going to photograph a hundred women in their own bedrooms within his Europe tour.

His portray trip is heading to Germany, Holland, Portugal, France and Spain. Starting the portraying in Finland was a right decission in Franco Bubani´s mind.

I wanted to come to Finland, because this is one of the best places to live. There are good political, ecomic and educational conditions. You finnish people are in priviliged position.

Frost and snow have not made Franco Bubani to regret his coming. - I come from the city of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minais Gerais in the middle ground of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The mean temperature there is 24 degrees and I have never been in the temperature below zero degrees. The frost and snowy sceneries have opened my mind to to see the world in a new way.

Franco Bubani thinks that finding the Haihatus Residency was also a stroke of luck.

- Merja Metsänen and Raimo Auvinen have helped me in many practical issues. With their help I have received many contact to different directions, thanks Franco Bubani.

Contacts he needs in his photograph project of portraying women in their own bedrooms. He is looking for bedrooms where are no signs of men.

- When a person is photographed in her own environment she has no masks. Then she is her own shelf. A bedroom is a human´s most intimate place. It tells a lot of a human herself. When taking photos of women in their bedrooms I have no beauty ideals or other expectations. I take photos of what comes in front of me, sais Franco Bubani.

Voluntaries to be portrayed has Franco Bubani began to receive by Haihatus website and other releases.

- Finnish women are willing to show themselves. They are not ashamed of their bedrooms, but are very proud of them. It is very beautiful and strong, praises Franco Bubani.

He has already portrayed women in their bedrooms in Jyväskylä and Helsinki. Portray targets have found also in closer area for example in Joutsa and Sysmä.

Franco Bubani is going assemble an exhibition of his photos in every country his photographing. Compilation of Finnish images will be exhibited as a part of the Haihatus summer exhibition.

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Monday 12/31/12 time 9:00 AM - Merja


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Thursday 12/27/12 time 6:20 PM - Merja

campfire450.jpgIn summer 2012 there lived in Haihatus at the same time 17 people from nine
countries, Russia, Turkey, Taiwan, USA, Holland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy and Finland. Intercultural encounters can always easily take place, when there are so many people of different ages together and they are previously unknown to each other. Fortunately this time we all survived by talking and laughing.

I have always shamed the finnish habbit to push every foreigner to sauna, so that is one thing we do never do here in Haihatus. Besides foreigners seem to be quite enough interested in sauna even without pushing.

Philippe from United States did not  at first know sauna, but was very much interested in making the acquaintance with it and after a while he was the one who always warmed up the sauna and informed the others when it was warm enough to go.

Nicole from Holland came to Finland because of her own passionate sauna hobby and she was very fond of the ease of our electric sauna. So there is no reason why we finnish people consider a wood-fired sauna by lake as the only true one, when we only could see it like Nicole!

Lively Russian girl Ksenia asked at first the Bath practices, how there is supposed to behave and does she need a towel around her in sauna.  Because she had forgot her towels home, she  was only delighted after hearing that people are all naked in Finnish sauna.

English was the used language but some finnish words were also often heard. ”MOI, HEIPPA, MOIKKA, HYVÄÄ HUOMENTA” -greetings were shouted joyfully to each other and  also ”YKSI KAHVI; KIITOS”,  ”MAKKARAA” or MISS´ON MUN KALJA?" did sound nice when announced with a foreign accent. When Nicole, who arrived after Philippe, wondered our way of saying so often "JOO", we understood better Philippe´s habbit of pattering "JOO, JOO" with a slight grin. Nicole was confused that if Yes means kyllä in finnish, so why do we say always JOO or better still NIIN, which sounded to her Dutch ear more as a negative than a positive expression. Afterwards, when listening our own finnish way of speaking, we found out that they were right, JOO and NIIN are the words we finns do use a lot. 

Besides sauna, our international guests adored in Finland the light, space, lakes, forests, birch trees, pine trees, and so on. They went jogging, swimming, discussed movies, literature and music and did find a lot more common interests than disagreements. There were lots of speaking and laughing and every now and then I could here among english speech someone laughing loudly: JOO, SAUNA!

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