Marja de Jong

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new year and 2013 in review


New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


My best wishes for a creative and colorful 2014.

2013 is the first whole year I lived in the railway station in Hiirola. It was a very good year and happily my spirit and ideas returned during this year.
It made me sad that Tapani Manner passed away last spring. He was such a good friend and remarkable personality, all who knew him will miss him. In August there was a memorial with his family and many friends.

This year it was possible to transfer the railway station in a more comfortable home with warm water, a shower and an installed kitchen.
In spring AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry has received a grant for the art education project THIS IS MY BACKYARD and the art activities at the schools are very inspiring. Hopefully it will be possible to document this all in a new book which is planned to be edited in 2014-2015. The first edition THIS IS OUR NATURE is still available and people are still interested in it.
In August my cat Josefine died after being ill for two months. She was only just 9 years old. Only 2 cats (Karel and Mattilde) are left. Maybe in autumn 2014 I will take a new kitten to the two older ones.
In October I visited Boston to attend the Artist-in-Residence conference of TransCultural Exchange. It was great and I met many colleagues and I presented the ideas  for the new AiR program THE NEXT STATION which will be executed by AREFS.

I look forward to 2014 to continue with the art program THIS IS MY BACKYARD and to start with new projects, like the new AiR program, an art travel to Australia (when my application for a travel grant is awarded).
In 2014 it is 125 years ago the railway from Kouvola to Kuopio has been in use. On the first of October the first train was going from Kouvola to the north. With some other railway station we are planning to celebrate this 125 years in 2014.
I am planning to renovate the atelier this winter and I hope it will be possible to install a second heat pump this year. If possible I will start with painting the outside walls of the railway station.
In summer I have planned an exhibition in Kangasniemi. Lounas ja Leipa has invited me for the month July.


Below 2013 in review with impressions of this year.


in review

bed- and living room in the railway station

One room in the old railway station is my private area. It has a beautiful stove, which keeps the room warm. Since there is a heat pump in the kitchen it is possible to remove the curtain between this room and the kitchen. Last winter I painted the chimney which gives more attention to the stove.


  the room with the shower and wasmachine

In spring I got finally a shower. The corridor next to the bed- and living room is used for it. In the beginning of the summer a geyser was installed and warm water makes a shower very comfortable. The shower is made of old materials from the kitchen and waterproof plywood.


  overview of the kitchen

In spring I started with pulling down the cabins which were built in the kitchen. On the first half of 2013 review this process is showed in details. Now the kitchen is in use and with the heat pump the landlord has installed this autumn it is a very pleasant place to be and to work.
The wall in the middle is left from the former cabins. 


  the building

During spring and summer I have tried to cut many bushes around the house. Everywhere they grow and make the yard like a wilderness. It was great that one neighbor has assist me during this work and next year I will continue with trying to organize the yard around the building.

I started with painting some doors. The whole building has to be painted and I hope it will be possible to start this year with a part of it.

Even there is a heat pump I have to heat the ovens in the house. This takes about 1 m³ per two weeks, which is less than without heat pump.



The library is a work space too and it is very comfortable to work in it. The AllaprimA library is a source for collecting information for the projects.

It is the intention to install a heat pump in this room too. If possible the old (hidden) door to the atelier will be opened to reconstruct the authentic situation of the building.


  open doors and an old train at Hiirola

The first Saturday in October it is 'Kalvitsa' day. On that day an old train stops on different stations, which are usually closed. At Hiirola the train also stops. This year I combined it with open doors and there were many persons to have a look inside and to take the train. In 2012 only 2 persons took the train and in 2013 around 30-40 persons were waiting.

Next year the track will celebrate it 125 anniversary and we are planning activities to give attention to this historical moment.


  visitors in the railway station

It was nice to have visitors. In summer Dutch people were visiting the station. Among them an former pupil from the period I was a kindergarten teacher in the Netherlands. They all are related to my former neighbor in Zwijndrecht.

At the end of the summer Russian artists were spending a nice afternoon at the station.

Hopefully 2014 will bring more (international) visitors to this place.


  with pupils from Hiirola and Ramala visiting the exhibition 'animals' in Mikkeli Musem

The art education program THIS IS MY BACKYARD is very divers. There are series of art lessons in different schools, art activities with children and parents and also museum visits. We try to register and document the meaning of the 'backyard'  for children and to make a program to give attention to their environment.

In November we visited with 6-8 years old children the exhibition 'animals' in the art museum of Mikkeli.
(Do not worry the children were not touching the paintings, they were listening what the animals are telling)

  Artist-in-residence conference in Boston USA

In October I travelled to Boston MA-USA to attend the artist-in-residence conference of TransCultural Exchange. I presented the AiR program THE NEXT STATION of AREFS taide a kulttuuri ry and discussed with many artists and colleagues about the content of this new program. When possible we will start with some artists in spring and summer 2014.


  Christmas 2013  in Hiirola Station

This year I collected some decoration material to create a Christmas atmosphere in the different rooms of the station. The result is very colorful and it has given me the feeling to be like a child in arranging the little objects and lights around me.


  maps of the railway station

In summer the Finnish archive in Helsinki has sent me the available maps of the building. The station is renovated several times, now it is possible to what is done in 1889, 1934, 1952, 1980 and 1987.
The drawings are not really correct, because details are different, maybe changed during the work.
Today the addition of 1987 is taken away (kitchen).


  christmas 2013













Marja de Jong
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