Workshops in Botanic Gardens

Date: 28th March, 2010, 12-17
Location: Kaisaniemi Botanic Gardens, Helsinki.
Participants: Max. 16 persons in Herbal Tintures workshop. Please register to reserve a place.

Two interactive workshops, ‘Herbal Tinctures’ and ‘Fermentation Sermon’, teach artistic and ‘hands-on’/practical skills, and give DIY -tools to prepare and enjoy wild vegetables and local herbs following traditional and contemporary procedures.

The workshops start at 12.00 by Kiasma takaikkuna, where the participants will harvest the plants growing in Windowfarms Finland installation together with Signe Pucena and Ossi Kakko. From Kiasma, we all walk together to Botanical Garden in Kaisaniemi where the workshops take place.

These workshops are free of charge, but have a limited number of spaces (Max. 16 participants in Herbal Tinctures workshop).

Please register your interest to participate, and reserve a place by email
Before March 25th to: herbologies [-at-]
(please write which workshop you are applying to)


Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, Elfving room
13.15 – 14.45

Signe Pucena, Ugis Pucens / The interdisciplinary art group SERDE (LV)
Workshop language: In English

The ‘Herbal Tinctures’ workshop is an artistic interpretation of creating alcoholic extracts of plant materials at home. The first part of the workshop will introduce the traditions of making tinctures for medicinal purposes, while the second part will refer to collecting herbs or other wild foods in Latvia.

Although the tradition of making alcohol is wrapped in secrecy, research has been done for several years to document it’s making in the home. Whether it is called kandža or one of the other names for it— kandža, lerga, dzimtenïte, samogonka, lurcis or brendinš, its production at home is cultural and historical, and belongs to the intangible cultural heritage of the world.

Participants will be involved in making spirits homemade-style, using household dishes and plants grown in Windowfarms -installation. Using pre-prepared materials, participants would then learn how to ferment different food-stuffs, primarily fruit jam, from berries which can be foraged in gardens or fields. Following this process, they will add plants to the mix, which will create a tincture. During this process, Pucena will share Latvian stories and traditional knowledge behind the use of particular plants. She will also bring materials made already in Latvia.

We invite you to consider this tradition from a different point of view, not moralizing about the making of alcohol spirit as a social evil, but as a way to discover the inexhaustible ingenuity of people to meet their needs in circumstances where resources are limited! Every skill which makes it possible to use available resources is of worth in our modern circumstances.


Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, Elfving room
15.00 – 16.30

Ossi Kakko (FI)
Workshop language: In Finnish

Ossi Kakko is organizing a workshop “Fermentation Sermon” during Pixelache Helsinki Festival. Utilizing the plants grown in the Kiasma ‘taka-ikkuna’ Window Farm and in the botanical garden – the participants will gain experience in the artisanal craft of lacto-fermentation, and preserve food for future culinary sessions.

The workshop explores food sovereignty through diversity of edibles available for anyone in the wild, or to grow in their apartments, offices, public spaces, and nearby environments.

Most of the plants Ossi selected for growing in the Window Farm were not willing to be domesticated out of the wild. Therefore the full range of plants to be utilised in this workshop will be finalised just before the event, accordingly to what will be ‘wildly’ available at the time.


Biographies of workshop instructors:

Signe Pucena (LV) is executive director and programme curator of The Centre for Interdisciplinary Arts SERDE in Aizpute, Latvia, founded in 2001. She has gained her higher education at the Latvian Academy of Culture in Folklore and Traditional Culture, aswell as a MA in Cultural Management. Between 2000-2008 Pucena was project manager at RIXC Centre for New Media Culture, Riga, producing various new media events, festivals and workshops.

Since 2005 she has been participating in the expeditions and fieldwork research in the Latvian countryside, learning about the traditional cultural forms still existing in the contemporary age. Her creative and innovative approach to cultural heritage work with SERDE was recognised with the Latvian Folklore Grand Prize in 2007.


Ossi Kakko (s. 1979) on keräilijä-puutarhurin elämäntapaan erikoistunut taiteilija, joka on aktivistina kampanjoinut videotaiteen ja verkostoivan kurssitoiminnan keinoin mm. GMO:ta ja biorosvousta vastaan, sekä luonnonmukaisen metsänhoidon, keräilytalouden, omavaraisviljelyn ja ekorakentamisen puolesta. Hän on myös kieltäytynyt asepalveluksesta, siviilipalveluksesta ja tästä saamastaan vankilatuomiosta. Viime aikoina hän on toiminut yhteistyössä Intian alkuperäiskansojen kanssa.

Ossi Kakko (FI, b. 1979) has been devoted to forager-gardener way of life since 1997. As an artist he has utilized video and networking courses, for example, to campaign against GMOs/biopiracy and for promotion of eco-forestry, minor forest produce, subsistence farming and ecological housing. He refused finnish military conscription and related civil service including the prison sentence of 195 days. Recently he’s been cooperating with tribal adivasis in India.