Time for acclimatising and exploring Mänttä and it’s environs by foot and/or bike.
Weather conditions: 12degrees, grey and cloudy.
I write this journal from my studio at Alekanterin Linna, which is located about 2km from Einola [the residency house]. I have a large room that overlooks a lake. To the front of me I can see small boats moored, and to the right I can see the Metsa Tissue paper mill. As I write I hear ambient electronic music floating into my room. Other than that the building is quiet.
I traveled to Mänttä by bus from Tampere on Monday, July 3rd. It was a pleasant journey that took just over an hour. Onboard I met a Finish lady called Serrka who was also heading to Serlachius Gösta Museum. This was fortuitous as she helped me communicate some instructions to the driver. On my arrival Kati [the residency manager] was there to greet me. She took me to Einola, the residency house, which is to be my home for the next 3months. I was given a tour of the house, museum, town centre and Alekanterin Linna where my studio is located. Additionally I was taken to the shops where I was able to buy groceries. Kati’s tour ensured that I had a rudimental understanding of where crucial things were located. I have to say this first day was extraordinary. It closed with the two current residential artists Fabien Blotin and Aino Kannisto inviting me to join them for dinner. Aino made a scrumptious vegetable bake.
Tuesday was fatiguing. I could have easily called it a day at 4pm, however sleep had to be delayed if I was going to function in a reasonable manner. To stave off the inevitable I invigilated Fabian's exhibition for a couple of hours so he could help Aino with a photographic shoot. I could feel myself dozing so I fired up the computer and watched Youtube, which kept me alert until his return. We then returned to Einola and there I fluffed around for an hour or so - it was still too early to go to bed but I was too fatigued to do anything that required thought. To pass time I decided to have a sauna. Einola has a dry sauna. I covered myself from top to toe with coconut oil, poured water on the sauna stones, I climbed to the top tier were I stayed for over an hour enjoying the heat and the scent of the room. The sauna was great, it was big enough for me to stretch comfortably out to a reclined position. At the end of the sauna I felt completely drained so I passed on dinner and went to bed. I think I fell to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. After a long undisturbed sleep I woke feeling fresh. I slept from 9pm and to 7.30am. Perhaps this deep sleep will elevate any jet lag I have experienced.
To welcome the new residents, myself and Ignacio Acosta [Chilean born London based] bid farewell to the outgoing residents Fabien Blotin [Finland] and Aino Kannisto [Finland]. Kati [the residency manager] took us out to the grand Mänttä Klubi for lunch. The atmosphere of the meal was convivial with plenty of lively conversation and tasty food. I could think of no better way to kick start the residency. Mänttä Klubi has a history dating back to 1920 - built by industrialist Gosta Serlachius as a private club to entertain and accommodate influential guests. Lunch consisted of a buffet where we could help ourselves to beetroot and coconut milk soup, an array of beautifully prepared salads, cold meats and delicious homemade bread. For the main meal we could choose between a beef casserole or rainbow trout. Everyone chose the rainbow trout. To complete the meal there was pannacotta topped with fresh blue berries. Everyone left with a smile on their face feeling very satisfied. The feasting wasn’t over as in the evening we had a group dinner at Einola, which was followed by a show and tell where we learnt about each others art practice.