9000 Solar Circles is a project organized by Hämeenlinna School of Fine Arts where historiology together with art environmental education provide the camps with a rich source for various activities.

A number of craftsman, artists and teachers study with the children the humankind's relationship with nature and time. The frame for activities is a prehistoric village community, its cultural life, industries, tools and items.

An experience based on participation is the bridge across the layers of time. Ancient techniques and work processes are a concrete tool used by the children for discovering the significance of the cultural heritage and for ideating the development of culture. People of the olden times looked for materials in nature and they lived in accord with the seasonal changes of climate. Imagining their lives and identifying with it helps the modern children to see themselves as a link in the circle of nature, and hence, gives them skills and prepares them for a life and actions of sustainable development where nature is respected and valued.

In the summer camps, held each year since 1990, nearly one thousand children have lived in the village community of 9000 Solar Circles. The village is situated by the Lake Vanaja and includes an Iron Age house, huts made of sods, some other ancient dwellings hidden in the woods, a field, a pasture for sheep, paths, a poultry yard, ovens making pottery and ovens for baking bread and other fireplaces and open hearths. The children have studied the prehistoric hunting culture, they have hunted and fished, they have made bows and nets. The villagers have burn-beaten woodland for cultivation and then sown rye and seeds of turnip in the burnt-land clearings, and harvested the croup in the autumn. They have looked after sheep and felted the wool of domestic animals and made the felt into clothes and blankets. To be able to move on waters they have cut and carved with their axes a boat out of one single trunk of a tree. Life in the village of the Solar Circles is a drama and a game which adults and children play together; it is creating visions of the prehistoric times in Finland. The roles and incidents that take form along with games crate to the village a story of its own.

The affective experiences and sensations typical of artistic activity which are produced in an interactive communication between children and adults deepen the knowledge of the change in humans and in nature during the history. What can a swan painted in the rock tell about its creator's beliefs and conception of the world?

Pekka Lehtimäki

 
 

A girl with a fernhat on her head:
I am a Fern. A girl lost in a wood. The play of the identification to the nature: children are looking their own place in the wood.
  
Large group of children, drums and an adult with a staff in his hand:
The storystaff carries the tale of the community. The tale grows and changes every year. Children are performancing the mythical story.
  
Boys sitting in brown robes:
A group of wanderes, who are searching voices, messages and signs from the nature to direct the community. The boys in brown robes are wanderers and adventurers, who dare to go outside from the inner circle.
  
Children in a Stone-laid labyrinth:
The Stone-laid labyrinth is the place for the members of the community to play and gather. The place is a center for sharing duties and tales.