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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….

Everything Fades - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 / www.paperiaarre.com

everything fades – an artists’ book

Everything Fades - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 / www.paperiaarre.com
Everything Fades is a tiny scroll of barely visible typewritten text on handmade indigo sunn hemp paper housed in a vintage pocket watch case, housed in a metal leaf decorated wrapper tied with navy silk ribbon, housed in a slipcase that also features those barely visible lines that repeat on the scroll: “everything fades. so soon. not soon enough.” – The scroll actually has more text between those repeating lines, but let’s let those beautiful things fade away in peace.

This artists’ book is my entry for the #AreYouBookEnough Instagram bookbinding challenge. The challenge has a changing monthly theme, and the March theme was ‘time’. This month the theme is ‘nature walk’, and the challenge is open to bookbinders of all levels – more details here. I have a busy, busy, busy month ahead of me, so I’ll probably have to skip the challenge this time. Do check out the hashtag to see what everyone else made for the March challenge, and there’ll soon be progress photos of the new work other people are creating around the April theme, too!

What I found interesting browsing through the books made for this theme ‘time’ was that there was so much blue and/or round books (also some wonderfully nerdy time travel books!). Perhaps it’s the blue of a night sky that reminds us of the things that are eternal from the human point of view, and while doing so reminds us of the brevity of our time on Earth. And there are no corners in time, no place to stay put just for a moment before moving on with your life. The hands of a watch go round and round, and even when we do something like turn the clocks for daylight savings, it’s just a minor hiccup – the watch hands never stray from their track. And of course, time keeps passing, no matter what happens to the fragile instruments we use to tell time. Repeatedly I find myself thinking of a human life as an arc of a circle, or a spiral, so large we can never find ourselves where we began. What else could it be?

Everything Fades - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 / www.paperiaarre.com

If you want to take a closer look at the night sky blue and the repeating round shapes of my artists’ book: more photos and details below.

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