Almost December! + cut-off dates for ordering Christmas presents

Taking a group photo of the advent calendar collages was a bit of a challenge! The first downside of doing big boxes instead of tiny matchboxes like before…

Come back on Monday morning to see the first box revealed!

EDIT: Almost forgot to inform you of the cut-off dates for ordering items in time for Christmas!

Please place your order by

Dec 16th – Finland & Scandinavia
Dec 15th – Europe
Dec 11th – USA & Canada
Dec 7th – rest of the world

and I’ll have it on its way the very next day with a good chance of getting it to you in time for Christmas! Unexpected delays can always happen, but these dates are based on the official cut-off dates the Finnish Post gives out. If you want to avoid stress over shipping times, please do your shopping a bit earlier than the given dates! <3

Colourless Kaija

 

If you detected a small earthquake in the early hours of Sunday originating a bit north of Helsinki, I suppose it was caused by me, lying awake in my childhood bedroom having just finished Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage, thinking so hard I could hear my brain buzz.

 

The novel tells the story of Tsukuru Tazaki, who, a long time ago, was cast out without explanation from a tight-knit group of five friends. The other four friends all had a color in their name (red, blue, white and black), while Tsukuru alone was colourless. As Tsukuru reflects upon his past and thinks of his role in this group he comes to consider himself as boring and empty, and he can’t figure out what it was that he brought to the group’s dynamics. Pondering Tsukuru’s life past midnight unsurprisingly lead to hours of freakish analysis of both my own colourlessness of sorts and my social roles. I’ve never been one to make many friends or to enjoy groups, and there are zero friends from my primary school days I keep in touch with. The only times I’ve felt truly needed by a friend have been with people who just can’t handle reality, and coincidentally, I can’t handle people who can’t handle reality or myself not handling things, so those friendships dissipated soon after the realization of the severity of the situation (…if only I were a better, more patient person, etc). Presently I’m surrounded by some truly wonderful people in my life, and they’ve even made me feel I have a purpose as a member of our own little scene. My girlfriends founded a (still) fictitious DJ collective and said I had to be a part of it or it wouldn’t work. My role at the gigs would be to look so cool and authorative no one in the audience dares to question the absolute coolness of the somewhat dubious song choices my friends make behind the stand. So glad someone finally found use for my unwavering judgemental side! Maybe there really is a purpose for all sides of my personality, regardless of its/my faults.

My colourlessness is a more concrete matter, in a way. I’ve clearly been a very colour conscious person from quite early on because my mom tells the story of how, as a child, all my clothes had to be changed if I wet my pants since I demanded the top and bottom had to match in colour. Later, at an age where bladder control was no longer an issue, I went through an extremely blue period (I even requested my room to be painted sky blue), but since that time I’ve mostly worn black and grey (and never white), with some, mostly failed, attempts to add colour to my wardrobe (colourful tights are as wild as I can go). Finally, around the time I was getting my Asperger diagnosis and was forced to thoroughly analyze my perspective on everything, I realized one reason for my limited pallette was my aversion to clashing colours. If I wore black, I could avoid clashing with the colours of my surroundings even if I visited supermarkets or other places of horrifying colours. Now I’m thinking if there’s a similar reason behind the muted colours I use in my art (sometimes I make brightly coloured books, but they’re never my favourites, and I have to consciously decide I’m now going to make something that has Colour). I’m beginning to think having a fugly green cutting mat as a background while working is affecting my colour choices (I seriously can’t remember ever making anything red, and I have no problem with red per se). I decided I need to use my art store sale coupon on a new, translucent, uncoloured cutting mat. I look forward to seeing whether my take on colours changes with it.

 

The above photo is a snapshot of materials I used for one of the advent calendar collages, and that box stands out from the lot of 24 as a colourful one; it looks so, so blue among the taupes, sepias, blacks and whites. I often feel almost jealous of the bold colours other collage artist use; while I’m capable of creating pleasing compositions with any type of colour, it still seems it’s somehow inherently ruled out for me. Just like drawing and painting! I always did all right in the art classes at school, but I’ve never felt comfortable working on anything that flat. I’m a maker and a builder (coincidentally Tsukuru, the main character’s name in the novel, is a homophone for ‘to make or build’), I know what I’m doing with tools and concrete materials whereas pencils scare me (oh, I love pencils as objects and as tools for writing, but creating an image with one – not gonna happen). At the moment I’m quite intrigued by encaustics. Maybe that would be building enough for me, at least if you compare it to the more conventional painting techniques? I’m still a bit wary of going ahead and purchasing all the necessary equipment and materials, though. More reading up on the subject needed before I dare to make such investments (okay, actually, I know I’d love encaustics, I’m just not in love with the cost yet – making art with mostly found/recycled materials can do that to you).

 

Tomorrow, if daylight permits, will be my calendar photography day. I just arranged the boxes in the order I want them to be posted in, and I’m quite pleased absolutely thrilled with how they turned out. Honestly, I can’t wait for December to come! As an attempt to suppress my need to share all the boxes with you right this minute I took a photo of the backsides of a lot I piled together. See, such colourful things coming this way!

Working on the calendar boxes

Some sneak peeks from different pieces under construction. As you can see, I’m not a neat crafter – my desk is fairly big but the available surface keeps getting smaller and smaller as tools and material remnants gain ground – I’m so glad I’m working on these tiny things at the moment! I try to tidy up between pieces but it’s unbelievable how much stuff one small collage can generate around itself. (I’ve given up on the floor for the time being, since it feels pointless to move my piles of paper into drawers only to take them out some hours later.)

The last photo reveals my secret weapon: I use pages from old photo albums (the type with sticky pages and clear protective films, in which I used to keep my massive Victorian scraps collection when I was a child) to store my text snippets. I’ve taken the album apart, not only because the covers featured most likely some cheezy kitten photo, but because it’s easy to spread the loose pages about and see all available snippets (I use the reverse sides to store finished cut-up poems and snippets already reserved for some project or another). I have separate pages for Finnish and English texts, and some pages I’ve cut in half, so I have tiny portable projects that I can work on on the go, so to speak. At some stage I tried using tweezers in organizing the texts, but I’ve found my fingers nimble enough to do the job quicker without. The most important thing is not to breathe in the general direction of workdesk while creating a text from multiple snippets on a non-stick surface (the second most important thing is not to show unstuck text to spouse, who will surely send them flying with his untrained breath).

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