I came to Finland with no intention of swimming, an entire month to concentrate on something else. Be swim free. Swimming absorbs me and has in fact taken over everything I do, it is my time, my space, to think, to breathe, to be alone, to be with friends, time to explore, freedom, frustration, indulgence, comfort.
I spent one content day after I arrived in Mustarinda, happy to be amongst the trees before I was fascinated with a nearby 'swamp' visiting it several times and visualising how and what lay underneath the metre deep snow before I turned to thinking about how I could submerge myself. The longing was overwhelming and the quest for water began. First by further exploring the swamp, taking a bathe in a nearby creek and finally with the help of both staff and fellow artists from Mustarinda creating the 'Avanto'.
A chainsaw, an ice saw, a pick, three shovels, and four hours of sustained effort and the Avanto was created. It feels like a sacred spot. Somewhere special, treasured, soft, silky and sublime. Yet I also find it deeply sinister, dark and full of the unknown. It needs effort and care and hours of work to submerge yourself each day you visit, for as beautiful as this white landscape it, it is harsh and never lets you forget it is in charge.
Ongoing throughout April 2017