The village of Fiskars alters your perspective.
THE road bends and turns and winds along through the country until you get to the tunnel. Emerging from it, your gasp of delight is audible. It’s as if you’ve left reality behind and entered a land far removed from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.
In this idyllic village, the river snakes through the centre and the water rushing from the disused mills is left untouched. The ironworks was founded in 1649, survived many different owners and two world wars, became the property of the Fiskars Corporation and is firmly established as one of the major centres of art and design in Finland. It houses more than 100 artists whose work encompasses fine art, cabinet making, ceramics and industrial design. It hosts an exhibition every summer, which draws around 25,000 visitors.
• Is a village in the municipality of the city of Raasepori, founded in 1649 as an iron factory.
• Has about 600 permanent residents, but hosts an art community during the summer.
• The village and its shops are open for visitors all year long, but is especially popular among tourists during the summer and Christmas seasons.
• In the summertime, approximately 25,000 tourists visit Fiskars and its many attractions, such as the art galleries and workshops.
• Situated about 90 km west from Helsinki, the village is easiest to visit with a car.
• There are no direct route of public transportation between Helsinki and Fiskars, but it is possible to take the train or bus to Karjaa – about 15km from Fiskars- and then change to a bus line over there.
Taste and Form
This year combines the current craze for food and designer utensils that help create it. The Granary is the home of this exhibition: a huge, old structure, oozing character, which has not been tampered with too much. You have to watch your step, since the floor is uneven, and beams that have swollen and shrunk through the years can trip you up.
Inside these pleasantly musty-smelling walls, you will find a myriad espresso cups, all in white, each one different in detail. Colour comes alive in an installation on the floor, made out of Santa Maria spices in a glass box by Taina Pailos.
Mediterranean Kitchen Chandelier, made out of dried chillies by Soili Arha, hangs from the ceiling. Kitchen utensils such as whisks, brushes, spatulas and rolling pins use wood as a medium for creativity. It looks so real you want to pick it up and use it!
Then there’s Puu Deli, a play on the word poodle, with ‘wooden’ sandwiches, pastries, cakes and whatever else you might find in a café vitrine, so real that you could take a bite. This is an exhibition for everyone, grannies, husbands, kiddies, teenagers, mums, what’s not to like about it? It’s joyful, playful, fun and full of imagination. It runs until 30 September 2012.
Oasis and floating gardens
At the Copper Smithy, across the bridge with the rushing water of the sluice below, you enter a world of peace and notice that you’re surrounded by design in the environment. Where the river is calmer, there’s a pontoon with seats where you can take a little break. The violets grow profusely in large bags of all shapes and sizes dotted along the path. Giant chanterelle mushrooms greet you from a glass-walled tank, and stone and moss gardens lure you inside with some innovative water features that soothe the soul. This exhibition runs concurrently with Taste and Form and ends at the same time.
After your solid dose of art, architecture and perhaps a spot of paddling, you might need something to eat. While there are lots of picturesque cafés, the one place for really good dining is Wärdeshus. It also doubles as the only hotel in town. The menu is small but everything is made with heart and truly delicious. Try the nettle soup, followed by whitefish with an exquisite morel mushroom sauce. The wine list is impressive too.
Finland would surely be a poorer place without the rich architecture and input of the artists of Fiskars. You simply must pay a visit to a village that will take your breath away.
Photos: OLLI PEKKA RÖNN