Jewellery artist Elo Uibokand gathered inspiration at Mardu for her jewellery series "Soft Is The Night"

Jewellery artist Elo Uibokand worked for four days at Mardu developing her jewellery series "Soft Is The Night". She wrote down her thoughts and emotions, took pictures of her stay.

Although Mardu residence is not officially open yet we are very glad of the first pioneers who despite of discomfort enjoy themselves here and are able to poor the experience into their work.
Monday 8.9.

Working at Mardu for four days with my jewellery series. Thank you very much Anu and Rait for hosting me here! The aim of my stay here is to clean my mind from all that noise in the city, let myself be inspired by Mardu’s place, Nature and simple being and just concentrate on my series of jewellery. I expect to experiment, find something new, abandon something old and get something done. I want to visit the bogs around, pick some mushrooms and see some animals if I’m lucky.

Mardu is a wild place, the closest shop a. 20 km, so you better be prepared. The connectivity to the mobile devices is, ahem, limited. As Anu put it during the first day: “You better send a message. The call may not work out. You better text.“ I did think about it during the first night when I couldn’t really sleep, alone in the house, in the middle of the forests and bogs. But as I said to my mother: „No, no, mom, of course I’m not afraid! There’s nothing to worry whatsoever.“ Later I did hear Rait’s story meeting a bear just next to the house across the road. Great.

I’m so grateful I can be here. It’s so silent! The wind blows quietly in the trees and a car passes by occasionally, in some days rarely, but otherwise it’s all quiet.

The cat is sleeping on my working table. She must feel a bit lonely sometimes, so she starts to follow me like a dog. It’s such a warm and sunny day, so I set up working table outside instead. „You’re really lucky with the weather“ says Anu who very kindly picks me up from the Tori railway station. You better have a car here. You do. The next day I’m gonna ride a bicycle for 3 hours in the rain and realize this is NOT a solution.

The great thing about Fall is the lack of mosquitoes. I can still remember being eaten alive while being here during summer. Rait said that while living here for a while you start to feel connection a deep bond with everything around you here; you start to understand the circle of nature. So you’re part of the nature and part of mosquitoes. Well, I guess reaching that state of mind does require some time.

What I really enjoy is the space. The possibility to be and work outside in fresh air, and there’s SO much space around you! You may spread your wings and files and saws and there’s still space. Amazing.

The time here is so different from the Town. There’s rush, here’s time. And the funny thing is – the hours – 24/day – is the same. But here it seems the days are endless, and there the time is always running out.

Tuesday, 9.9.

Went to look for the Öördi bog lake. On the map it looked so easy, and not so far at all. Well… Soon after I left Mardu, it started to rain. So when I had bicycled for about an hour and half one way, and I had gotten quite wet and had still about 3 km to go, I honestly decided to give up and just go back. While coming back I counted the km posts as the rain got heavier and heavier… What an experience.  Oh, dear, the last 2 km were SOOO long! It was about 30 km altogether. But I saw a little deer!

After I made the fire to the kiln and got dried and warmed up finally, I worked till the evening with my jewellery. What I realized here, is that I REALLY enjoy carving! Carving wood, carving horn, carving mother-of pearl.... There’s something truly seductive in the way the indefinite piece of material starts to reveal itself to you, to reveal its own nature… Though I do have sketches and plans, I also know the plans will change on the way and I do let things happen. It’s an amazing feeling to create something I didn’t even know how to name it before.

Anu came by and we had some nice chit-chat and wine with the best-ever home made dark bread she had just done! It was dark and rich and a bit sweet and with plenty of cumins. It was perfect. With some simple butter it was even more perfect. I must follow next time HOW she’s actually doing it!

Wednesday, 10.9.

Carving earrings all day – from juniper tree which smells so good, from ebony, which is dark as the nights here. In the evening the house was suddenly full of people – besides Anu also Rait and a German girl Franzi came back from Osmussaare, where they had been part of the Estonian Fund for Nature's conservation holiday cutting down junipers in order to maintain and protect the natural meadows. Rait was coordinating the project on the spot and Franzi worked as a volunteer. She had chosen Estonia because of our nature, silence and wild animals.

I will definitely remember this late evening outside, drinking one the best Cabernet Sauvignon I have had. It was dark and so quiet, mist around everywhere and the sky was full of stars. Oh, and by the way, have you heard the stories about 3-men-with-bat-detectors-but-nothing-in-common, getting the feeling of being sunk in the milk jar and ...?

Thursday, 11.9.

Getting up really early (05:15!) and taking Rait’s orange Wolkswagen off we went with Franzi to see the sunrise in the Kuresoo bog. Well, that was the intention. It was a thick mist all over the Soomaa world as it seemed, our destination included. „ Now you know what it feels like to be in the milk jar! “said Franzi. So true. Now I get it. In the bog everything was wrapped in the mist as well, but I didn’t mind really. It was just so beautiful! We walked through the forest of Fall, picked up some mushrooms for the later lunch and climbed the stairs to this awkwardly-blue watch-tower. Kuresoo bog slope is about 6 m high and the bog itself covers ca 11 000 ha, so it’s massive and you’re actually able to see really far from the tower. We drank some hot coffee in the tower and enjoyed the silence and Japanese ink drawing –like landscape. While walking the wooden trail forward I had to go swimming to the bog pool! It was, well, refreshing. I have heard old Estonians believed if you go swimming into the bog pool, you’ll get a new soul...

We continued driving and although it got lighter, the mist continued to surround us. Franzi had made a wish list for all the animals she would like to see here. And boom! There it was! An elk running slowly accross our way and along the meadow. This animal is HUGE! Out of the 3 times I have been here in Soomaa, I’ve seen an elk for 2 times. I think it does say a word about Soomaa… We also did go to see another bog – Riisa raba. There were more trees and all the shades of colours of nature were amazing. So subtle, so tender, so rich and deep. I wish I had a woolen cardigan exactly with the print of the bog, so I would just disappear into it, like an animal.

The experience of living and working here in Soomaa National Park, in Mardu old house has been great! It has been everything – end even more – what I hoped and expected for. The silence, feeling the Nature, getting some glimpse of the Wild. Feeling small and unimportant in the Nature. Realizing how little do I know about it - I don’t even know the names of the birds and animals and plants… Concentrating on my creative work and finding some clearness in my mind. And many other things you’ll find out for yourself when you’ll find your way here! I’m very grateful I could be here. Thank you Rait and Anu for your care and hospitality!

Elo Uibokand

Mardu, September 8-11, 2014

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