The Art and Travels of Joyce Koskenmaki
Published on 3/28/2007
There is a decommissioned hospital in Hancock, MI that has been renovated for artist studios and office spaces. This is where we met with Joyce.

Joyce is a native of the Upper Peninsula and has moved back after lecturing art at University of Wisconsin in La Crosse and numerous academic positions elsewhere in the US before that position. She also taught at Finlandia University in Hancock for 4 years until retiring to her painting.

Recently, Joyce has been involved with the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition. They asked to create an exhibition of UP artists to give them a chance to talk about what it is like to live here. She feels strongly about enjoying nature as it is and not as commodified scenery. In the video, she gives us more information behind this subject.

Over a cup of tea, Joyce shared with us her travels to Kenya and her globe trotting experience researching petroglyphs. We get a rare experience to see the artist's sketches of her safari in the video. Joyce's animal paintings are well known. While visiting with her, we learned that the inspiration for these paintings arose partly from the rock art created thousands of years ago.

You can see more of Joyce's work on her website. You can also purchase prints in the UPliving store.

We met with Joyce right after we finished building the ice pyramid. We were exhausted, so I apologize the video is unsteady at times.










  •  Artists
    I heard about the traveling fine art exhibit "Celebration of the Upper Peninsula as Home" around the first of the year. I knew this was going to be a feature on our site. The Upper Peninsula Environment Coalition (UPEC) teamed up with 11 fine U.P. artists to bring awareness to the environmental issues that are affecting our region.

  •  Storytellers
    William Jamerson knows a good story. He knows how to tell one and he knows when he hears one. Many years ago he saw a film about the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) and, as a historian, he knew he had stumbled upon a golden slice of American history. The CCC was a work program for troubled and underprivileged young men in the 1930s.

    For a few families in the U.P., springtime is known as maple season. Between the months of March and April, thousands of gallons of maple syrup are harvested from our woods.

    An interview of the author. Although the novel is not linear, there is a story that starts to develop as you turn the pages. The reader follows the narrator as she lives through her youth in a small town named Cripplecreek. You learn of her many experiences in this small town.

    Every year before the holiday season there is a high demand for evergreen boughs from tree farms and other businesses that sell holiday and winter decorations locally and to bigger markets in Wisconsin, Illinois and lower Michigan. This page describes how this brush is harvested.


  •  Adventures
    I knew when we started this website that ice fishing would have to be featured. Although I was reluctant because I also knew that the ice fishing experience would not transfer well to video. I suppose that goes for any fishing experience. Unless you are in a tournament, the main point is to let life slow down for a couple of hours. The point isn't catching a fish.

    In regards to paintball, I probably should have started at a beginner's level. Some would argue that combating against teenagers is a beginner's level...however the average person would agree with me in saying that age is no factor in paintball.

    I know some people don't like seeing animals in cages. My own statistic is that 99% of animals in zoos are so well taken care of to the point that they're pampered, and yes, perhaps even loved. Which is the case at the DeYoung Family Zoo.

    Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech is one of the biggest festivals in the Upper Peninsula. Up until recently, snow sculpting in Houghton was a student activity. For the past few years, there has been interest in the community to partake in the icy construction. This page includes a 16 minute video and 75 photos of the construction process.

    Known as Big Springs, Kitch-iti-kipi is Michigan's largest spring. Over 16,000 gallons a minute erupt from the limestone bottom 40 feet beneath the surface where giant trout rest. This spring is constant all year and keeps the surrounding water at 45 degrees. This page has a few nice photos and a 5 minute video.