The first time I came to Finland was in 2012, an invitation from an architecture friend. It was an unforgettable peaceful and rural experience. The pure nature and the strong tradition create an inspiring poetic environment, which is dramatically different from my life in Shanghai.
During this trip, I was strongly surprised to see that my three-year-old son felt extremely nervous and uncomfortable on the island. He was frightened by this unfamiliar natural world. He stuck on me all the time, and asked again and again, “Mum, where are we?” Living in the city only three years, facing artificial gardening and plastic floor, a child already lost the sense to enjoy and join in nature! As a mother, I have to stop and really think about the meaning of nature and the roots of life.
In 2016, I moved to Finland and in the same year, I created Forestworkshop to organize the adventure learning activities for children related to the forests and nature subject. We choose "forest" because, on the one hand, it is one of the significant geographical characteristics and cultural traditions in Finland. On the other hand, it is also a global phenomenon, fertilize the future and hope.
Jie Zhao is the founder of Forest workshop, art teacher and independent researcher. Her interest is to promote and improve the relationships between people and environment, both nature and society, in order to better understanding about diversity and sustainability.
She had the master degree in visual communication from China Academy of Fine Art in 2006, and Nordic Visual Study and Art Education from Aalto University in 2018.
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