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Laura Soisalon-Soininen:
Field Circulation, 2021

The work Field Circulation consists of a walk and traces in ”Kulmala fields”, a branch of the regenerative farm of Kilpiä at Tölli village. The field where I walked from autum to spring was not cultivated in autum 2020, but was left as it was after the treshing of oats. I was introduced to the fields by collecting wild oat from among the oats with the host farmer (Iiris Mattila). Approximately the area that I didn´t collect in early August, was left to stubble (about one third of the 14 ha). Rye was sowed elsewhere apart from one close but distinct part, which was left to straw as well.

I pace around the field. At each cycle I move a wooden branch nearly two feet long (56 cm) towards the middle of the patch of land. The shape of the field is quandilateral with four corners and four sides, close to orthodiagonal quadrilateral or a kite. I circuit the field until the steps of the circumference converge the least, until the steps embed the smallest of an area, or until the measure crosses the line of the adjoining angles.

The wooden branch is relocated from the corner accross the opposite angle with the help of trees at the edges of the  two sides of the field. The branch (from a pine) cultivates the land lightly as I roll it with its lenght at each round, both ends in turn. On the adjacent corners, the distances are measured by wool, ash, roots, a small mattock and the traces in snow. In October I mark the first tens with stones.

In winter the snow falls down reaching the height of nearly 40 cm. The branch stays barely visible. I carry willow from the main farm into the field to mark a certain lap. I walk towards the direction in which the first branch indicates and marks a waypoint with a willow. I continue the walk in the shape of the number eight. Then I return to the circle. When approaching the waypoint (after each cycle) I start crafting. I peel part of the willow collected and bring it into the house. After drying them I place them separately into a manger from the cattle shed not used anymore.

In spring a small hut, a pupa-like house, which I planned for a shed for the transition from the field, is placed between the rye and a dam next to it. The initiation for the hut arose from discussions with Teemu Lehmusruusu, and Santeri Pöytäniemi built the timber structure. The structure is placed on stones picked from the dam.

I nail the shakes to make a ceiling. Some of the boards of the wall have been left without nailing. If the walls with shake-cotters or boards pressed into the structure fails to withstand in the wind, I will get birch bark for the attachment from the fallen trees around the dam. When the rye grows to its heights, I finish the wall next to the field. The sides of the square hole in the ceiling measure  the same length as the distance between my walking cycles.

When the cultivating starts in spring, I return from the field. I remove the marks on the corners at the edges of the forest and bring freshly worked soil upon the ceiling. The field is worked through once again, broken and cultivated at least four times. Thereafter wheat and grass is sown to it.  I follow the changes of the soil, its roots and growth. When treshing begins I will collect a square of 56 cm. Also the roots of the similar width will be researched.

From the willow of the marks In the field I build a shed to make ”Pirtanauha”. I drag the wool once more to the intersection of the sown field and back. A root of a couch grass, Elytrigia repens, sticks to the yarn from the middle of the measured radius.

A half of the oat straws collected into the box of ashes of the wooden owen, I burn in the masonry. I carry the ash into my cabin within a small bucket sewn from a piece of textile found from the rye. I carry the shed/ frame built from the willow and the sack, in which I collect part of the oat, one tenth of the total laps in the allotment.

From the edge of the ceiling I hook a capsule, which holds a log in three. The bag is sewn from a waterproof textile and is made of nearly identical circles with 12 shreds. Like a vasculum, a small vessel for collecting plants, or webbed feet joined together, it can be opened and rearranged as separate parts.

The work is in progress during the growing season.

– Laura Soisalon-Soininen

The work can be seen during the summer 2021, visits by appointment, please contact:


Laura Soisalon-Soininen is a Master of Fine Arts and works mainly with walking, weaving, sewing and crafting. Her work is time consuming and the process of the work contains often long lasting walking performances, in which the artist percieves the spaces through embodied measurements. Soisalon-Soininen is also interested in the spirituality, that is materialized within the work through repetative actions. Her work has been exhibited at the Exhibition Laboratory in Helsinki, Artifex Textiles Galerija in Vilnius, Treignac Projet in Treignac, France and Rehearsing Hospitalities - program of Frame Contenporary Art Finland in Helsinki. From 2020 she has been working at the project of Trophic Verses, which explores life in and around the body of the soil.  

Curator: Saara Karhunen
Farmer-researchers: Iiris and Tuomas Mattila / Kilpiän tila
Carpenter: Santeri Pöytäniemi  
Producer: Teemu Lehmusruusu / Telling Tree art+rsrch
With the generous support of: Kone Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Uusimaa Regional Fund

Copyright Telling Tree art+rsrch 2021.