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Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. The book Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

ontto harmaa – in the end it all worked out for the best

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

In the end it all worked out for the best. My wrists healed, I had a few days to spare creating an entirely new binding to enter in the Nordic bookbinding exhibition (one that was much more wrist friendly design-wise), and I find I like the end result more and more as each day passes.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. The book Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

One of my starting points for designing a binding for Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä (of which I bound another copy last year) was that I wanted to avoid using the colour grey. The name can be translated as “hollow grey”, and as I didn’t want the book design to illustrate what exact kind of shade of grey the book was talking about – it felt the definition should be left up in the air. But in the end I couldn’t find a more fitting colour linen for the covers (really, really loved the yellow leather I used the first time around, tho) and decided to go with the grey that simply looked the best out of all the options. I haven’t regretted the choice: the typewritten binary code looks perfect on it – just the right contrast, texture, variety.

The numbers 1 and 0 are a recurring element in Ontto harmaa, so the idea of using binary code in the design was the one that I built on right from the start. But since Ontto harmaa is a book full of warmth too, the use of a natural material with an organic feel on the covers balanced things off beautifully.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. The book Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

One of my favourite parts of the sewn boards binding structure is the point where I get to pick the colour and material for lining the spine and the visible board edges. I usually use either paper or linen, but this time I went with this fantastic pink goat skin and I love it.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. The book Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Now the book is out of my hands. It will be touring the Nordic countries in 2018-2019 and it will be a while before I get to hold it again. It really is a lovely thing to hold. Light and somehow so very compact at the same time.

Finishing this project means the start of my bookbinding hiatus. For the most part of the summer my studio is four hours away and so are my supplies – I hope it will be enough to keep me focused on writing my poetry book. Despite being away from the studio, I will be posting some cut-up poetry pieces here (and tons of other stuff on Instagram) as well as some new posts with bookbinding tips and info about the next Instagram Office Hours session (sorry, thought I could squeeze one in before the end of May, but it’s going to take a while longer still!). So, don’t go anywhere even though my blog updates are more irregular than usual <3

xxx,

K

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

stocking up on journals

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

My Easter plans of making myself a couple small handmade journals turned into me making myself six new journals. I had every intention of adding a couple of them to the shop, but in the end I couldn’t decide which ones to keep. So, I’m keeping them all! (I’ve actually got some for you, too, if you read all the way to the end… and I promise I’ll make some books using that beautiful shimmery gold linen – seen on two book spines above – really, really soon!)

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

When binding books for myself I get to use materials that don’t pass the quality requirements for the books I’m happy to sell my customers. That translates into endpapers made of fancy metallic paper that sheds shimmery bits everywhere and covers made of unevenly dyed linen or book cloth that ends up looking quite distressed within days of use. I don’t mind the imperfections – in fact they can be inspiring – so all kinds of bits and pieces ended up in these books! You wouldn’t believe how scrappy they are by looking at these photos…

Since one of my favourite things is picking out the perfect linen / book cloth / paper combinations, and another favourite thing is taking photos like this of the books I make, let’s all take a peek what happens between the covers of the six books:

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

The shimmer-shedding woodland notebook became my first pick for a new journal. By now it’s got plenty more pages filled with scribbles.

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

And, as promised, new notebooks for you, too! These aren’t actually new new, since I made them several months ago, but sort of kind of forgot to add them to the shop at the time… Oh well – they’re available now! They all have wonderful 90 gsm drawing paper with a slightly rough grain for pages, and the sewn boards binding structure means the covers are nice and flexible without being flimsy at all. Check out the Paperiaarre Etsy shop to see more photos and to pick your favourite!

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

a million hearts – an artists’ book

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

Sombre days that are still somehow lit from within are the perfect breeding ground for artists’ books like this.

Image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper. Black and white + black on black. The silk has its special sheen and the black blotter paper could hardly be any more matte. Each material responds to light differently, and each mark made is best viewed at a certain angle.

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

11×4,5cm / 11×25,8cm  /  4.3″x1.8″ / 4.3″x10.2″

one of a kind / not for sale

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

beware of yourself:
we have a million hearts, each
each most longingly sore

each beyond despair
with desire echoing all day long;

aroused by the utterly lost
I ask let me come closer, my love,
let us for a moment flicker faintly

whilst a darkness hangs against the night,
unflowering the almost death.

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

Typing on the indigo hemp paper a few weeks ago led me to discover just how much mark-making with a typewriter in a way that doesn’t result in text, or in text that isn’t legible with ease, intrigues me. Creating texture instead of meaning, or meaning that requires a bit more work from the reader than is usually considered appropriate, sits well with my general desire to make simple things a bit too complicated.

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

This year has brought me face to face with more personal mixed media projects than ever before. I’ve taken a step towards text as my main focus, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that I’m also a poet. While I’m endlessly fascinated by the mysterious vintage photos I usually work with, words feel always more intimate to me. And so I find myself creating work just for myself, unique pieces for my personal collection, mementos of this time of change and self-exploration (and most longingly sore hearts – if not by the millions, then by handfuls, at least). Not the smartest move financially, but the heart wants what it wants. To balance things out I do have plans for pieces for sale, as well, so it won’t take forever before I add new mixed media work in the shop! I have new watch case necklaces all planned out, as well as a few small collage boxes. Have patience with me….

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