• AREFS taide ja kultuuri ry is located in Haukivuori in rural Finland and organizes and supports art and culture projects

AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry
AREFS art and culture association

  • Savon Radan ryhmä organizes activities along the historical Savo line




3rd class

3rd class

7th class

8th class

touch nature
on location



During summer 2011 different artists are involved in small activities on different locations in the village.
Pamela Whitaker (Ireland) invited children to make own books, cards and banners. Her activities have taken place in the local library, art centre Saksala ArtRadius and the harbor. Each location is interesting as a place where children (and their parent) can participate in art activities.

The knitter Mariëtte Cordes has started yarn bombing events with the intention to decorate the own environment or a central place. One plan is to create a memorial for Mattias who has contribute very much to the local environment by taking care of the flowers, street garbage and was showing a peaceful attitude.

Marijke Bongers (the Netherlands) inspires children and adults in felting and crocheting decorative elements for use in the own environment.

The artist Marja de Jong invites children to rock painting, kite making and coloring on fabric banners.








touch nature by Pamela Whitaker

felting by Marijke Bongers
rock painting, banners by Marja de Jong

knitting and crocheting by Mariëtte Cordes

assistance by Johanna Kantanen

















THIS IS OUR NATURE is about landscape and nature in a rural environment. It is a developing program for the schools as well as the community. Growing up and living in the countryside is developing a specific attitude in a person. Children grown up in a rural environment have another view on landscape, nature, space and live than children in urban regions. The personal nature is strongly related to the landscape in which one has grown up. A naturally way of exploring the individual relation with this landscape and nature is a great experience to develop the awareness of the own roots.

The participation of artists in this program is an important contribution to widen the horizon of both, as can be read in comments of different artists:


2011, July - Silvia Casilli - Italy:
I found myself at ease in this place, immediately at home. As an artist my reference point is nature and here I found inspiration and I was surprised that the elements on which to focus my attention appeared immediately clear to me.

It is a peaceful place this one and a perfect place to work. Even if in the period of my permanence not so many artists where here, I could taste how lively and inspiring it is. The familiar atmosphere favors the exchange of experiences, also sustained by the very large library in which it is easy to find something interesting to go in deep.

It is surprising that this place which is situated in a rural area near a very little village in Finland is chosen by so many artists from different parts of the world who come here to work, but now I well understand why.

2011, July - Pamela Whitaker - Ireland:
I created a simple studio for children which contains a cotton muslin tent, felted nests, a garland of dried flowers, a large seed, nature prints and folded books. The purpose of the studio is to offer children a place to connect with both themselves and their feeling for nature.

This studio reflects my time at Saksala working with water, sheep's wool, wild flowers, and sculpted paper. Collecting materials and arranging a quiet space for children to touch nature in their art, are important themes in my work. Creating an indoor environment for children to dwell within while they paint, draw, and sketch their own reflections is my offering to Saksala.

I have learned the importance of sitting quietly with children as they work through their own ideas. The process of making the studio has involved floating fabric in the village lake, picking flowers to dry, sewing with sheep's hair, sculpting paper, and working with the lines and surfaces of wild plants.

I will take away from Saksala the significance of careful observation, drawing clear ideas from the landscape and translating these impressions into making habitats for children's art.


2011 March - Melanie Fitzmaurice - Australia:

Upon arriving in Finland I was intrigued to discover the contrast between Haukivuori’s intimate, intense and entirely white landscape, compared to the distant horizon of the dry and familiar surroundings of my home in rural Victoria, Australia.

Having rarely seen snow settle on the ground in Australia, let alone accumulate, I was overwhelmed by the density of the white-coated surfaces. I am captivated by the way snow creates a ‘visual padding’ for the landscape, disguising forms and reflecting light, often creating a brilliant glare that can distort the way that the immediate environment is perceived.
During my time at SAKSALA ArtRadius I have investigated new felting processes and produced crocheted, machine-felted sculptures. I am fascinated by the potential of this process when applied to these more complex, three-dimensional forms.




This project is funded by:




©2009 AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry, Finland. All rights reserved.
No reproduction by any means or in any language without prior permission of the author.