Marja de Jong

  • home

2014 in review

Karel with paper hat Hiirola railway station in winter 2014
Karel the cat is already prepared for my birthday in January.
Winter 2013/14 did not give so much snow.


To make this review no too long I made some links in the text. It is possible to get more information about some subjects through these links. Your curser will show you when there is a link and the text is white.

At the end of the year it is interesting to have a flashback on nice, exiting, glorious, joyful and sometimes sad moments of the year.
In general 2014 was a year with great moments. It was the second year of living in the railway station of Hiirola. The station is a wonderful building with an interesting history and it is a challenge to develop a new content in and with it. The authentic historical building offers space, ambiance and environment for all kinds of art, culture and community experiences. In 2014 the first events have taken place during the preparation and execution of the SAVON-RATA 125 years celebration in autumn.

This year different Dutch friends were visiting my home. With my best friend I had a great time in September. During the 125 years railway celebration another old friend stayed for 2 weeks at the station and my cousin came with Christmas for one week. They all did not see the place after I started to live in it and they were all impressed by the way this old building has got its new content.

Clazien Immink - study in blue - 2014

The first pages from the book Clazien Immink made after her visit in September. The content shows her impressions in a personal way and is touching me.

Living in this building gives good feelings to me and even all the facilities are not on a high level, it is a warm and cozy place. After the renovation in 2013 of the kitchen and the shower area in the building, in 2014 it was the atelier which has to be reconstructed. The room was originally the office area, but I selected it to make an atelier out of it. It took 6 weeks to fix it. Now it is an inviting place to work.

The winter of 2013/14 was exceptional, too less snow, too high temperatures and too short in length. During ski holidays at the end of February there was even no snow in this region. For heating this winter was perfect, but for nature it was dramatic. I like to see the white world around me, it makes the light brighter and the reflections on the snow makes everything beautiful. The snow covers all the mess under its blanket and makes everything soft and clear.
In summer we had a long period of hot weather with weeks of 30º. Just in that time I was working in the atelier, but it has given me lots of power.
During the 125 years celebration in autumn the weather was lovely and it has invited many peoples to join the event.

It was sad that the local school in Hiirola was closed by the council of Mikkeli. The school has been an important center of the small village and it was much more than only a place for education. From the point of view of "big" cities (Mikkeli has about 50 000 inhabitants) small is too expensive. Living in rural Finland starts to be very difficult for families with young children.

Already during several years AREFS art and culture association organized art lessons at the school in Hiirola, as well as at the schools in Rämälä and Haukivuori. In 2014 we finished the art program THIS IS MY BACKYARD. The results of this initiative can be seen on the website of AREFS. This art program was possible through the support by different art and culture organizations.
It is the intention to continue with an art education program at the school in Rämälä. I hope AREFS is able to get the funding for it.

Pine tree cut in April

Trees are nice, but sometimes they start to be dangerous when they have lost their strength. In April Bas and Frits have sawed a huge over 20 meter high pine tree which was almost empty inside. It is work for specialists and Bas is an expert. Laying down the tree was sawed in smaller pieces and later on they will be even smaller and after drying the will be used for heating.

an old train wagon was placed in the yard of Hiirola station

It was a wish to have an old wagon at the station. It would be possible to create a location for visitors and artists to stay, work and enjoy nature and local environment. At the end of the winter the half of an old train wagon was placed in the yard. This wooden wagon is original from 1927 and cut into two pieces. For years it was in use as a summer cottage and sauna and in 2015 the renovation will take place to transfer the neglected wagon into an inspiring place to stay.

cleaning up the yard of Hiirola

This year was also the year of cleaning up the yard. During the years the yard next to the station was covered with all kinds of bushes and trees. It has become a wall which closed the view on the whole area. It was great that village people started to cut trees and bushes and took all the branches from the yard. Children from the school have been active in participating in this cleaning-program. The left-overs, big piles of branches were transported to somewhere else and at the end there was the feeling that the original garden plan opens itself.

the yard around the station in Hiirola

In spring the yard started to be lovely, it was so nice to look around and to be able to walk everywhere.

In spring the yard was lovely

In spring, just when nature starts to be alive, it looks wonderful. Nature on this latitude is very exuberant, it grows without any limit and as fast as possible. Gras cutting and tree and bushes pruning rigorous is the only way to keep the yard open.

the atelier before renovation

An atelier is the place an artist collects all the stuff which can be used in the artistic process. Most artists can use everything and to store this 'everything' is a huge job.
To store the stuff in a place which has no facilities at all is 'not easy' (left image) with some arrangements it was possible to organize something (image middle). During the process in other rooms the chaos was complete (image right)

Renovation of the atelier

In the hottest period of the year I started with the final renovation. Everything is replaced, walls are painted white and finally an open area in the middle of the room was the result. Now there is a place to work. (images show the atelier from the north wall over east - with window, to south - with doors and oven)

The last train in Haukivuori

In August the last train stopped and departed from Haukivuori. In the policy of the railway company it is important to save 3 minutes on a trip of 3-4 hours and to stop the possibility for people in rural regions to travel by train. Demonstrations, petitions and even politicians were not able to change the decision.
At the last day the Finnish flag was half-mast raised and a group took the last train to Mikkeli and return with the last train from Mikkeli.
More about the protest in Haukivuori is published on the website of AREFS.

children are painting a huge train

At work with children at different schools was lovely. The art program THIS IS MY BACKYARD has finished in spring.
The art and community program SAVON-RADAN 125 years has covered different events for children in Hiirola. Different classes have painted a long train on fabric. Other classes have created the installation GOODBYE - NÄKEMIIN.
The train as subject has been part of many other art workshops and the results are printed on postcards and on banners.

art at Hiirola station

The Hiirola village community was very active to prepare the environment of the station for the SAVON-RATA 125 year event. The huge train painted by children of the school was placed at the opposite of the railway and the installation GOODBYE - NÄKEMIIN has been installed at the front side of the building. In the yard different art works were arranged.
It was nice to see that some trains were going a bit slower after the child art works were installed.

Savon-rata event 2014

Living in an old railway station is directing your interests to what belongs to the railway and to stations. Together with others we started a group around the railway track in this region. Savo is the name of the region and SAVON-RATA means railway track in Savo. The name of the group is SAVON-RADAN ryhmä. Together we initiated the celebration SAVON-RATA 125 years in the beginning of October. At Hiirola station over 200 persons visited the place. Together with the local village association we organized a small fair, an old-timer presentation, the stop of an old-timer train and music. The local wool factory has been open that day too.

painting about the train by children

 At the end of the year an impression of the child art painting of the long train projected on the bushes at the opposite of the railway station.

Winter 2014-2015 art in the yard

and different art works around the building in a winter atmosphere.

Looking forward to a continuation in 2015.

The activities at Hiirola railway station are in cooperation with AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry and SAVON-RADAN ryhmä.
The 2014-in-review of AREFS can be found by this link.

Marja de Jong
mobile 00358 (0)50 4625 675

| marja de jong | atelier (at) marjadejong (dot) com | +358 (0)50 4625 675 |
©2009-2019 Marja de Jong, Finland. All rights reserved.
No reproduction by any means or in any language without prior permission of the author.